How to Choose the Best Starting Hand in Five Card Stud Poker
Five Card Stud Poker is one of the most unpredictable, adventurous, and action packed poker variants, which is why it still has a following although poker variants such as Hold’em and Omaha are more popular. As in case of all other variants of poker, choosing the correct starting hand is of great importance in Five Card Stud Poker. The worst mistake beginners can make is play mediocre or poor hands as it turns out to be too expensive in the long run. If players want to contribute to the pot, they must make sure that their hand is definitely worth playing for.
Here are some good starting hands for 5 Card Stud Poker:
- Pairs – A pair in one’s Five Card Stud Poker starting hand is always good news, and players can consider themselves lucky if the pair is very high. While an Ace pair can really push players closer to the pot, low pairs have a tendency to get defeated by an opponent’s higher pair, which is why players need to be careful while playing low pairs.
- High-value cards – Players should first check their starting hands for a pair, and if they do not find a pair, they must check if they have two high-value cards. A suited Ace and King is a very good combination to have in one’s starting hands because it gives players the chance to create a strong pair or a flush or a straight.
- Better than opponents’ cards – If players find neither pairs nor high-value cards in their hands, they must check if their opponents’ face-up cards are higher or lower than the cards in their hand. Even if players get dealt a poor hand, they still have a chance if their cards are better than their opponent’s face-up cards.
- High-value hole card – If the card in the hole is better than the best face-up card on the board, players can continue playing the hand. Many players prefer an Ace in the hole, although a King in the hole can also help players beat their opponent’s hands.
- Suited cards – If your hand contains two cards of the same suit, you have a very good chance of making a flush. If players play only high-value suits, they can even get a high pair if they miss making a flush.
- Connectors – These are not as valuable as they are in Texas Hold’em, but players can still play them as long as they are high-value connectors, which could help them create a high pair later in the game if they are unable to make a straight.
Watch the follow video to get tip on how to play 5 Card Stud Poker
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Tips to Play Starting Hands
- Slow playing – The strategy of slow playing in a bid to build the pot should be used with care in case of Five Card Stud because it is very risky. In fact, Stud experts say that slow playing should be done only if players have exceptionally strong hands. The best Five Card Stud strategy is to raise on pairs and thin the player field as much as possible.
- Betting and raising – If players get two high-value cards in their starting hand, they should starting betting on them as early as possible. This will scare off players with mediocre hands and thin the player field. Simultaneously, players should avoid getting too attached to their high-value cards. If these cards do not help them make the desired pair or if they feel that their opponents are getting the better of them, it is time to fold.
- Position – The player who bets first in case of Five Card Stud Poker is the player with the lowest or highest face-up card, depending on the round. Therefore, the player who makes the first move varies from one betting round to the other. During the first betting round, the player who has the lowest face-up card places the first bet, and for each betting round that follows, the player who has the highest exposed card places the first bet. The player who is the last to make a move naturally has an advantage over the other players.
While choosing the best starting hand, players should understand that flushes and straights are very rare in Five Card Stud Poker. Most of the winning hands are either threes of a kind or pairs.