Other Variants

– Five-card stud played high-low split with an added twist round is called Option alley or five-card option. The game Scandinavian stud or Sökö is five-card stud with two new hand values added: a four-card straight beats one pair, a four-card flush beats a four-card straight, and two pair beats both of the above.

– The term English stud is used ambiguously to refer to several games, including six-card stud played 1-4-1 with a twist (also called six-card option), London lowball, and a seven-card stud game where both sixth street and seventh street are twist rounds.

– In the game of seven-card flip, each player is dealt four cards face down, and chooses two of them to turn up. All cards are turned up simultaneously after everyone has chosen. As this point, the game proceeds as if it were standard seven-card stud starting on fourth street.

Kentrel, or “48“, is a seven-card stud variation which starts with each player being dealt four downcards. Each player must then discard one, choose one of the remaining three to turn face up (leaving two down and one up as normal), and then proceed as with eight-or-better high-low stud.

– The game of Show Hand, which is not commonly played but made famous by Hong Kong gambling films, is a twist in 5 card stud. Players with the highest face up cards decide whether to check the round or raise; or, if the player with the highest face up card or hand checks, it will proceed to the next street. However, the last round of betting after the river is dealt is unlimited. In Show hand poker the last card is dealt face down. Players now choose from 1 of the 2 face down cards to reveal to other players. This variant is usually played with a set time-limit and bet limit to prevent players from taking advantage of checks and not betting to prolong the game.

– The game of Chicago is seven-card stud in which the high hand splits the pot with the player who has the highest-ranking spade “in the hole” (among his downcards). There is also Little Chicago (also called Southside), in which the lowest ranking spade in the hole splits the pot; players who play Little Chicago call the high spade variant Big Chicago. This also known as Chicago high by night and Chicago low by night. In Chicago by night the Deuces and One-eyed jacks are usually called as wild cards.

The Bitch is a variant on Chicago above, played with a combination of up and down cards, usually two down, four up, and one down. The twist is that the Queen of Spades is designated as the highest ranking Spade, followed by the Ace, King, Jack, and so on. Also, if the Queen of Spades is ever dealt as an upcard to any player, all players turn in their cards, re-ante, and replay the game. This can lead to quickly increasing pots, especially if the re-ante amount is increased on each iteration. The high hand splits the pot with the high spade.

– Several different games played only in low-stakes home games are called Baseball, and generally involve many wild cards (often 3s and 9s), paying the pot for wild cards, being dealt an extra upcard upon receiving a 4, and many other ad-hoc rules (for example, the appearance of the queen of spades is called a “rainout” and ends the hand, or that either red 7 dealt face-up is a rainout, but if one player has both red 7s in the hole, that outranks everything, even a 5 of a kind). These same rules can be applied to no peek, in which case the game is called “night baseball”.

Cowpie poker is played as seven-card stud until after the seventh-street bet. All remaining players then split their hands into a five-card hand and a two-card hand. The five-card hand must outrank the two-card hand, and the latter must contain at least one downcard. After the split there is one more betting round and showdown. Upon showdown, the highest five-card hand and the highest two-card hand split the pot. The name of the game is a pun on Pai Gow.

Number Nine is a variant of seven-card stud in which 9s are wild, and any two number cards that add up to 9 may make one wild card, at the player’s option. Aces count as 1 for wild card purposes. The player is not obliged to make any wild cards, and can play cards that could make 9s at face value or as wild cards, at his option. Cards used to make wild cards may not figure in the resulting hand twice. The player cannot add three or more cards. Sometimes, 9s themselves are not wild, and wild cards can be made only by addition.

Dr Pepper is a stud variant where 10’s, 2’s, and 4’s are wild (the name comes from one of the original Dr Pepper advertisements of the 1920s: “Drink a Bite to Eat at 10, 2, and 4 o’clock”).

Draft (or “socialist poker“) is usually a variant of seven-card stud in which the second and subsequent upcard rounds are dealt this way: for each player remaining, one upcard is dealt to the center of the table (not to any specific player). The player with the worst showing hand gets to choose which of them he will take for his next upcard, then the player with the second-worst showing hand chooses his upcard from those left, and so on, until the player who previously had the best showing hand takes the remaining card. Then betting occurs as normal. In seven-card stud, this makes for three “draft” rounds (the first three cards are dealt normally, as is the final downcard).

Auction is a similar variation in which each upcard round (or possibly just those after the first) begins with an “auction” phase. Instead of dealing each player one upcard, the first card is dealt to the center and all players bid on it; the player who bids the highest amount places that amount into the pot, and then has the right to either keep the auction card as his own upcard, or designate another player who is required to take it as his. After the first card is auctioned off and placed, the remaining players are dealt a random upcard as usual, and betting proceeds as usual. This variation is commonly played as high-low split, so it is common for a player to “purchase” a high card to force it upon an opponent seeking low, for example.

Telesina is a stud variant which is played with a stripped “French” deck. The play follows most five card stud games except that after the fourth betting round a 6th community card called the vela card is placed in the center of the table. The vela card may be used by all players to improve their hand after which another round of betting occurs. The standard hand ranking applies with the slight difference in that a flush beats a full house because it is easier to get a full house than a flush. This is because instead of 13 cards per suit there are only 8 having the cards from 2-6 removed.

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