Five-Card Stud Variations
Five-Card Stud poker is simple enough that even a player new to the rules of the game can quickly learn to read the possible strengths of another player’s hand. This also means that the levels of uncertainty and risk are much lower than in other poker games such as Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Seven-Card Stud.
As a result, players have added spice to the game by introducing a range of variations on the basic Five-Card Stud rules.
Five-Card Stud High-Low
In Five-Card Stud High-Low, the player who has the best low hand – instead of the best high hand – showing starts each betting round. The player with the highest-ranking initial card is responsible for paying a bring-in, if a bring-in is used.
When all the betting rounds are over, the total pot is split between the player with the highest hand and the player with the lowest-ranked hand, provided a player has a low hand that qualifies. In High-Low Five-Card Stud variations, a low hand must generally include only cards between ace and five or, in the UK, between ace and six.
Sökö / Canadian Stud / Scandinavian Stud
Sökö, also known as Canadian Stud or Scandinavian Stud, is nearly identical to traditional Five-Card Stud. The major difference in this Five-Card Stud variation is the introduction of two new hands into the hand ranking. Flushes and straights do not come up often in Five-Card Stud and because of this Sökö counts four-card straights and four-card flushes as poker hands. The rankings go as follows – a four-card straight is higher than a pair; a four-card flush is higher than a four-card straight; and a two-pair is higher than a four-card flush.
Five-Card Stud Variations on Down and Up Cards
In Two Down, Three Up, each player is dealt two hole cards instead of one, and three face-up cards instead of four.
In Three Down, Two Up (3-2), as the name suggests, players are dealt three face-down cards, followed by two face-up cards. There are only three rounds of betting in this Five-Card Stud variation because of the high number of cards initially dealt to players. The game is ideally played with a pot limit or no limit betting structure.
In One Down, Three Up, One Down (1-3-1), cards are dealt as the name suggests. It only differs from the traditional five-card stud in the way the final card is dealt – face down or as a hole card.
Mexican Stud / Stud Loco / Mexican Poker
In Mexican Stud, each player is initially dealt two face-down cards. After a count of three, the players each decide which of the two cards they’ve been dealt to expose. Another face-down card is dealt, and each player again decides which of their two hidden cards to expose. This carries on until the players each have four exposed cards and one face-down card, as they would in a regular Five-Card Stud game. Sometimes, a stripped deck is used in Mexican Stud.
Shifting Sands is very much like Mexican Stud. The difference is that a player’s hole card and all matching cards are treated as wild cards in that player’s hand. This game is also sometimes called “Rickey de Laet”.
Telesina / Teresina
Telesina (or Teresina) originated in Sanremo, on the Mediterranean coast of Italy. Telesina is almost always described as one of the Five-Card Stud variations, although it actually combines stud poker and community card poker. The first four rounds are the same as in Five-Card Stud, with the players being dealt two cards, one face down and the other up, followed by three more cards and with betting on each round. In a final round, however, a single community card is placed face-up on the table. Any player can choose to include this card in their final hand.
In Telesina, a stripped deck from which cards ranking 2 to 7 have been removed is often used. Telesina flushes are ranked higher than full houses.
In Crocodile Stud, each player is dealt two hole cards and one face-up card before betting starts. Only when the final hand value is calculated can the player use one of the hole cards.
Asian Five-Card Stud
Asian Five-Card Stud is one of the Five-Card Stud variations in which a stripped deck is used. All cards ranking 2 to 6 inclusive are removed. This game is especially popular in California, where it sometimes even features in tournaments.