There are now a number of versions of Poker regularly played at home, on-line or in casinos, some of which are effectively different gambling games, but others are just variations designed to increase the excitement of gambling.
This is probably the most played version of Poker after Texas Hold’em, and can be played at most casinos and online. Stud Poker is played in two forms, namely 7-card stud or 5-card stud. The main difference between Stud Poker and Texas Hold’em or Omaha, is that there are no community cards, and each player therefore holds their own hand.
This is the most popular version of Stud Poker, and as the name suggests, the object of the game is to make the best 5 card poker hand from 7 cards dealt to each player.
As with other online poker games, the dealer will shuffle the cards, sometimes cut, and burn the top card before dealing. Each player is dealt the first 2 cards face-down. These are the Hole Cards. The third card (Third Street) is then dealt face-up. Players are sometimes expected to place an ‘ Ante ‘ into the pot, or there may be fixed table limits with a minimum on the first betting round, and a maximum which increases as the game progresses. Players should check the house betting rules before starting to play. After the Third Street, it is normal for the player with highest face-up card to bet first, but again there are variations to this rule and in some cases the player with the lowest visible card will be asked to place the first bet.
If two players have the same value card, it is generally the one nearest to the dealer’s left who will place the first bet. Again there are House variations to this rule, with some using suits to determine the order of betting.
All betting rounds follow the same general gambling rules as other forms of poker, with each player having the choice of whether to Call, Raise of Fold. Some games allow the first player to stake a ‘Bring in ‘bet, similar to a Small Blind, although this only ever applies to the first round of betting.
When the first round of betting is complete, in other words when all the remaining players have staked the same amount, the dealer will deal a fourth card ( Fourth Street ) face-up to each player. This time it is always the player with the highest visible card or combination who starts the betting. The size of the bet at this stage often depends on the House Rules, but can be up to the table limit. If the highest visible hand is a pair, the House will often insist that the bet is up to the table limit, and this then becomes the minimum bet for the rest of the game. The game proceeds with the same cycle of betting after the Fifth Street (face-up ) and the Sixth Street ( also face-up ), although in most cases these two betting rounds must use the table maximum bet. The last or seventh card (the River) is then dealt face-up, and the final betting round is completed. The player with the best 5 card poker hand at the showdown wins the pot.
This version of the poker gambling game is identical to 7-card stud, except that each player has only 5 cards dealt, with only one card face-down or in the hole. Clearly there are less betting rounds in this version of the game, but up to ten players can sit at the table.
This is without doubt the most famous version of Poker, and the game always depicted in the gambling saloons of the Wild West. It is rarely played in modern casinos, or on-line, but is available on a few sites. The attraction of the game lies in the decisions a player must make during the betting rounds, because there are no community cards on view and all the hands are closed. The only clues to an opponent’s hand are the strength of his gambling. Each player must also decide what risk he is prepared to take to create a better hand. Does he discard an Ace to go for a pair, does he go for a run, or a flush, or does he fold.
Each player is dealt 5 cards face-down, one at a time. The first betting round starts with the first two players to the left of the dealer posting blind bets, small and big blinds as in Texas Hold’em , and the remaining players must Call, Raise or Fold. When the first round of betting is complete and each active player has gambled the same stake, the dealer will offer each player in turn the opportunity to change any or all of their cards. They can discard any number of cards, which are placed face-down on the table. The replacement cards are then dealt, again face-down and all at once. The final round of betting then starts with the first active player to the left of the dealer, but in this round a player can ‘Check ‘, or stay in the game without placing a bet, until a bet is placed after which no Checks are allowed. When the final betting round is complete and all bets are equal, the players will reveal their hands in the showdown, normally starting with the last player to raise the bet in the final round. If there were no positive bets in the final round of betting, the first player to show would be the first active player to the left of the dealer.
Omaha and 7-Card Stud are often available for gambling as a Hi Lo version. In this form of Poker the Pot is split 50:50, with half the pot going to the highest hand and the other half to the lowest hand. Players are there presented with the opportunity to play for either pot, or in some cases both. A qualifying Low hand must normally consist of all 5 cards with a value of 8 or less. If this is not achieved, the whole pot is allocated to the highest hand. Obviously, if the 5 community cards do not include at least 3 cards with a value of 8 or less, then a qualifying Low hand is not possible. If the Low hand is tied, the half pot is split or ‘Quartered’. In these versions of Poker gambling the Ace can count high or low, so that a run from Ace to 5 can win both Hi and Lo pots.