The origins of 5 Card Stud Poker date back to the American Civil War, emerging as the first lasting variant of the stud poker form. Though interest in playing 5 Card Stud has waned with the development of 7 Card Stud Poker
variations - as well as the introduction of Texas Hold'em
to the poker rooms of Las Vegas - many poker players
continue to enjoy playing 5 Card Stud Poker. Both lingering and renewed interest in Five Card Stud Poker has prompted several online poker sites
to provide the game to their patrons.
Like most poker forms, the goal of each 5 Card Stud Poker player is to attain the best 5-card hand ranking at the table, over the course of four rounds of game play. Though several variations have been developed, a hand of Five Card Stud Poker generally begins with a small ante from each player before the first round is dealt - one face-down hole card, and one face-up exposed card to every player - followed by a betting cycle.
Three more rounds follow in which each remaining player receives one card face up, and betting ensues clockwise beginning with the player who has the best hand showing. Once players have received all five of their cards, and the final betting round is complete, all players who haven't folded turn over their hole card to reveal who holds the winning hand.
Believed to have made its first appearance in the early 1860s, 5 Card Stud Poker rapidly gained popularity among both Union and Confederate soldiers as an preferred way to occupy their time in camp. Derived from 3-card stud poker variants played as early as the American Revolutionary War, 5 Card Stud Poker provided soldiers with a much-needed distraction from the harsh realities of battle.
Over the years, Five Card Stud Poker was played primarily in home games, but saw a steady decline in interest as more complex and fashionable poker variants were introduced into the mainstream. A preliminary event in the 1971 to 1974 World Series of Poker - all four of which were won by Bill Boyd, earning Boyd every WSOP bracelet the poker legend ever won - 5 Card Stud Poker was dropped from the WSOP in 1975 due to diminishing popularity of the variant.
In popular culture, 5 Card Stud Poker was the heads-up game played in the classic 1965 poker flick, The Cincinnati Kid; directed by Norman Jewison. Recently re-released on DVD, the film starred Steve McQueen as Eric Stoner, "The Cincinnati Kid", and Edward G. Robinson as Lancey Howard, "The Man." 5 Card Stud Poker has also made its way into the television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, occasionally seen being played by the officers or other members of the crew.
With the rise of internet poker, a handful of online poker rooms
have chosen to include 5 Card Stud Poker among their selection of ring games, and fewer still draw enough traffic to keep the game interesting. However, Five Card Stud does maintain a devoted following of online poker
players that keeps the game alive on the web.