In this game the dealer gives all the players one card face down and one face up. Each player looks at his own face-down card, usually called the’hole card’, but of course does not know the value of any other player’s hole card. Then there is a round of betting after which the players remaining in contention receive a third card face up. Those players folding their hand should do so by turning their face-up card or cards face down. They should be careful not to reveal their hole cards to any other player. This is followed by another betting round and the remaining players receive another card face up (often called an ‘up card’). Another round of betting follows. Finally, those surviving the first three betting rounds will receive a last up card. At this point the remaining players will all have one down card (Le. face down) and four up cards. There is a final round of betting after which each player remaining turns over his hole card and the best hand wins. Of course, if one player bets and all others fold, that player wins the pot without having to show his hole card.
Note that at the beginning of each betting round, the player with the highest up card or cards is the first to act. So, in the first round, if the highest card is, for instance, a king, the person holding the king would be first to bet. (If there is a tie for the high card, the first player on the dealer’s left holding the high card would be first to bet because this is the order of play.) On the first betting round only, the high card must make a bet for at least the minimum agreed stake, as a way of getting the game started. On the second and subsequent rounds of betting, the player showing the best hand would be first to speak. For example:
Player: A B C D
Up cards: 3 J A 8
9 J 10 8
Player C acts first on the initial betting round and he must bet at least the minimum bet. On the second round, player B has a pair of jacks showing which is the highest hand and therefore he acts first. He may check or bet. The action then proceeds in the normal clockwise direction.
Notice that in five-card stud there are four betting rounds compared with only two in draw poker. This is worth bearing in mind when organising a game as the pots are likely to be much bigger for stud at the same betting limits.