Five card stud is truly a test of will. It is a test of reading your opponents, it is a test of knowing the cards, and it is a test in which you need to know your odds of winning. No flair, no pizzazz, no saves… its just you, five cards, a pile of money, and four or five anxious faces staring right at you, watching your every move. A game for the serious poker player? I think it is.
And one of the things you are going to have to learn about five card stud is the opening strategy. What you need to understand about the opening is that, first of all, it CAN give you an advantage if used correctly. You are the one to send the first message about your hand, and you set the precedent for how the rest of the hand will flow. If you have a hand that you could win with, you need to open strong, but not too strong. But, if you open too weak, you might do yourself some damage as well.
You need to read your opponents, take in all of the emotions, and calculate your chances of winning. Does the player to your left have a good hand? Did he take a drink of his iced tea? What does it mean? Or, does it really mean anything? Should you open stronger this time, or should you lay a little low? These are all questions that you need to answer before you know how to properly open as the first in line to bet. One thing is for certain…every time you bet, you are sending a message to the other players, and that method will impact how much stock they put in their hand. Whether they believe that they can win or lose depends upon how much stock they put in their hand, and so use that to make them believe what YOU want them to believe.