What is Upcard?

Upcard → 1.  Upcard is used to describe a card which is dealt face-up in stud and hence visible to all other players at the table. (As opposed to downcards which are only visible by the player).

Example usage → “Stud players are dealt two downcards and one upcard on third street.”


Stud games do not make use of community cards (with one specific exception – see glossary entry community cards) but this does not mean that there are no cards which are visible to the entire table. Through the seven streets in a stud hand players are dealt a combination of upcards and downcards. Although upcards belong exclusively to the player they are dealt (other players can’t use them), they are visible to the entire table.

On third street (the first betting round), players are dealt two downcards and one upcard. On each of fourth, fifth, and sixth street, players are dealt one up-card. The final card is dealt on seventh street (aka “the river”) and is a down card. Stud players are hence dealt a total of seven cards throughout the hand (provided they don’t fold), and that hand is comprised of 3 downcards and 4 upcards.

Stud hands are often represented as follows where the downcards are shown in brackets. (xx)xxxx(x).

For example “On third street I was dealt the (Kc2s)3h

Strategy Application 

The upcards are an integral part of a good Stud players strategy. Here are three important reasons we should pay attention to all of the upcards on the table.

1. They help us make estimates regarding the strength of our opponent’s holding. (We can see four of his seven cards since they are upcards).

2. They are the key to understanding how our opponent perceives us on a given hand. (If our upcards give the impression of strength our opponent will be more likely to give us credit).

3. They give us additional information regarding which cards are still left in the deck and how many outs we are likely to have. (If several players with clubs folded on earlier streets then we know our club-draw is less likely to hit).

See Also 

Stud, Downcards, Bring-in, Ante

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