- You'll need: Antes from each player.
- Soko can be played pot limit or no limit, but fixed limit is the most common structure online.
- Deal each player 1 card face down and 1 card face up. This is 2nd street action.
- Play begins with a forced "bring-in" bet where the lowest up card must bet. In the event of a tie, the lowest suit acts first - suits are ranked alphabetically, clubs (lowest), diamonds, hearts then spades (highest).
- Action goes clockwise beginning with the player left of the bring-in. Raises are capped on each street at either 4 or 5 bets.
- There are 5 betting rounds: 2nd street, 3rd street, 4th street, and 5th street.
- On 3rd street all remaining players are dealt another up card. Action starts with the best high hand showing.
- Action on 4th and 5th streets occurs the same as 3rd street, except the bet is doubled.
Determining a Winner
- Players who complete the last round of betting without folding show cards.
- The player with the best 5-card hand wins.
- The player who took the last aggressive action should flip up their down card first, revealing it to the table.
New players should focus on playing high suited connectors e.g. Ah-Kh and big pairs to start. Play tight-aggressive.
Position is not as important in Stud games. Since the highest hand showing acts first, the order of play can change on any street.
Take note of other players' door cards to see if your outs are live or dead. If you're drawing live, bet and raise with confidence.
In Soko, play even more aggressively with pairs on 3rd than in 5 Card Stud, charging 3 card straights to draw.
Make a plan on 3rd to continue or fold - bet sizes double on 4th street. Get out if you brick, e.g. with 9d-Td-2s and the Jd dead.
Deduce what villain is trying to represent by their betting action - if their outs are in other players' up cards, it may be a bluff.
A half pot bet on 4th is a good sizing to entice players to call with 4 card straight or flush draws, without proper odds.
It's not possible to be up against a full house if villain doesn't have two pairs or three of a kind showing on their up cards.
Bet strongly on 5th in Soko as players will often over-value 4 card straights and flushes, losing to your 2 pairs or better.
Good Starting Hands
Play these hands:
- Any big pair, the best of course being A-A.
- Low pairs where your two outs are not on other players' boards.
- High suited cards where most of your outs are live.
Poor Starting Hands
Never play these hands:
- Low, unconnected unsuited cards e.g. 3h-8c. It's impossible to improve to a 5 card straight.
- Hands where most of your outs are dead, e.g. 4d-4s with both other fours showing.
Marginal Starting Hands
Play these hands sparingly:
- Mid suited and/or connected hands, e.g. 4s-6s and 8-9 offsuit.
- Mid pairs when several players yet to act have higher door cards, or facing an early raise.
Raise in late position first to act:
- A live mid card and an Ace in the hole.
- Complete with hands where all door cards after you are lower than yours.
- Represent a big pair to steal the antes and thin the field, then stay aggressive if villains brick.
Do's and Don'ts for Better Soko Stud Play
Don't Slowplay Anything But The Nuts
The addition of 4 card straights and flushes in Soko means it's easier for your big pairs to get outdrawn, so bet early and extract value. Only consider slowplaying e.g. K-K-K on a street or two.
Don't Overplay 4 Card Hands
Hands like As-Ks-Qs-Js look pretty, but remember you still lose to 2c-2d-3h-3s! Proceed carefully versus resistance and be prepared to make a laydown if you don't improve to a 5 card hand.
Check The River!
With the best up cards showing, you'll only be called (or punished with a raise) if you're beat. It makes more sense to check and induce a bluff, check-raising when your hole card improves you to a lock on the hand.
Shuffle Up & Deal: Live Dealer Tutorial
A London cardroom dealer introduces the game and deals the cards.
This Video Contains:
- Setting up the game for 3 players.
- Flipping up hole cards on 5th.
- General tips & tricks.
On the Silver Screen: Steve McQueen
All-in on a cooler hand in 1965 classic 'The Cincinnati Kid'.
This Video Contains:
- A possible straight flush given the up cards.
- No-limit action and a 5th street showdown.
- 'Making the wrong move at the right time.'