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Learn how to play 5 card stud poker online!

FIVE-CARD STUD - Class play wins better money

• Five-card stud often rewards skill with free play since smart players carefully watch what other players have and assess the chances of improving their hands. Also, try and remember what poker cards have been folded. (For more about assessing your chances for improving your hand, see page 91 on “outs.”)

• A key thing to remember about five-card stud plays (and poker in general): Don’t be afraid to fold early, even after the first round, if you have mediocre poker cards. While it’s true that occasionally you will catch some good cards and improve your weak opening play cards, in the long run, it’s better to play the percentages and fold early.

• There is a variety of opinions about what poker players should stay in the game after being dealt their first two cards. Conventionally, players will fold after the first two cards if they do not play a high pair, two high cards, or an Ace or King high. If you have less than this, only stay in if the other up poker cards can’t beat you or the betting is light and it is worth staying in to get another card.

• If you are dealt a low pair with the first two cards, be wary of staying in the game too long, particularly if you do not get a three of a kind with the third play card. Also, if another player has a high card show- ing and is betting aggressively, he might have a poker pair If you are dealt two suited cards and are thinking about chasing a flush, proceed with play caution. Going for a flush in five-card stud is risky even after having three or four suited cards. It is poker's particularly dangerous way of showing you if your suited cards are low. (If one of the cards is high, you still have a chance of at least getting a high pair.) If you try to play the flush, you must pay attention to whether any of the up cards in your opponents’ hands are of the same suit, which would reduce your chance of completing the flush.

• If the cards you need to improve your poker hand are visible in your opponents’ hands, they are ‘dead” to you. When you are trying to complete a straight, look around the table to see if another poker player is holding cards you could use; if they are, your chances are greatly reduced. For instance, if after the first three cards you have J-1O-9, and you notice that two play free opponents are showing 8s and another has a Queen, your chances of filling that straight are in jeopardy. In five-card stud, it is crucial to continually assess and reassess your chances of improving your hand.

• You can also get a sense of whether your opponents’ hands can be improved by looking at Their poker up cards. For instance, if you have three 2s (free play - two showing and one in the hole) and an opponent is showing two Aces, look around the table and see if any other Aces are exposed. If other Aces are exposed, your probability of winning is greater.

Their up cards. For instance, if you have three 2s (two showing and one in the poker hole) and an opponent is showing two Aces, look around the play table and see if any other Aces are exposed. If other Aces are exposed, your probability of winning is greater.

• Don’t be self-centered. Free play, instead. While you might stay in the hopes of trying to improve your poker hand, remember your opponents are doing the same thing. For instance, let’s say an opponent’s up card is a King and you have a 7 as your up card and a 10 in the hole. If you stay in with the hopes of getting a pair, keep in mind that your opponent has the same odds of pairing his King. If your opponent begins raising or stepping up his betting in later rounds, he might have gotten that pair, so proceed cautiously. In stud games, always keep an eye on the other cards on the table. Knowing what is on the table allows you to reassess the odds. Using our example from above, if two other players are also dealt a King, the chances of anyone getting a pair of Kings are dramatically reduced.

• Don’t play a hand that you know is lower than your opponents’ poker hand. If the up cards in an opponent’s hand are better than yours, fold, even if you are holding a pair or better. You might get lucky and improve your hand enough to win, but as the expression goes, don’t bet on it.

• In most stud games, the betting gets stiffer as you get into the later rounds. If you are still in by the third round, you must consider whether the amount of the pot is large play enough to warrant staying in with an uncertain hand. One way to think about this is that by placing a bet you are essentially ‘buying” another card. So, if your opponent makes a bet, you must assess whether it is worth calling his poker bet to get another card in the hopes of improving your hand. Again, this should only be done after weighing the various factors, such as what your opponents are showing and whether the cards you need are still “live.”

• Use your hole card to your advantage. In general having a “split” pair is better than having an exposed poker pair. For instance, if you have an Ace in play (now you know where the expression comes from) and one showing, you are at a distinct advantage compared to having both Aces showing. Your opponents will be left to guess whether your high betting means you’ve got an Ace hidden or you’re bluffing.

•One last poker tip is in general, if you’ve got a “cinch” poker hand by the final round (though remember nothing is 100 percent certain), play and bet aggressively.

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