Horses Before Hold’em: Stud Poker
We’re back with another poker ponderance. This time it’s a Stud Poker deep-dive, talking rules, strategies and all the basics you need to start playing successfully.
You might see the name and immediately think it’s horse related right? It’s not….
BUT WAIT *gasp*
Does it involve racehorses? Just maybe! During my research I stumbled upon a presumably dubious article concerning the game’s origins, which nonetheless I thought prescient and amusing to share, finding oftentimes anecdotal evidence offers a more colourful etymology than the grey truth.
As the story goes, three drunken soldiers were further mastering the game which had kept their campaign nights relatively free of boredom, then simply dubbed ‘draw’. One, with three kings in hand, realized he was broke. The soldier stood and rudely left, returning moments later leading a horse by its bridle through the swinging doors, which he then tied to a chair as additional collateral — not quite Black Beauty.
Quickly, the wily soldier realized that his untrustworthy feltmates had almost certainly peaked at his cards during his brief absence, demanding each turn his three cards face-up, discard two and draw two others face-down, laying the foundations for what later became stud poker.
We don’t know who won the horse, but we hope he’s prancing satisfied now in that pearly paddock upstairs knowing a hint of his horsey legacy lives on.
Stud Poker rules
The number of rounds influences which betting structure suits the variant. Games with five or fewer play well under any circumstance, especially no-limit, but games with more betting rounds — seven card stud — suit a fixed limit, or higher betting rounds as the game develops, commonly advertised as things like ‘Stud Poker $5/$10’.
The first bettor changes as the rounds go on. Betting rounds are named based on the amount of cards each player has — third street, fifth street and so on. Cards dealt face down to each individual are hole cards, thus ‘Ace in the Hole’ and other common phraseologies.
Let’s take 7-card stud for example:
Four to eight players are required, along with a standard fifty two deck; above mentioned cigar-ends and a face more wrinkled that a tesco plastic bag caught in a hurricane optional. Each player puts an ante into the pot before the cards are dealt, with two dealt face down and a third face up to start. Antes vary by limit, but this first ante is mandatory for all involved. Money in the pot, dealer deals until each participant has three cards, two down, one up; third street in proper parlance.
Unlike community cards, face-up cards are unique to the individual.
Origins of Stud Poker
To give a clearer picture of the game and enable to reader to disentangle the intricacies of the variant, we return as always to the dust of history, in which the lives of eminent and base persons are made level without cruelty.
I consulted various articles and sources in seeking the origins of stud poker. Some claim the American Revolutionary War as the starting point, others claim the Civil War several years later, within the same century, did more to popularize the game — the supratruth, which defies opinion, likely lies between the two.
It’s difficult to imagine a time when Hold’em was secondary, even tertiary, to stud variants in overall popularity, but from whence it crawled, it never returned. Poker had set deep roots in the minds of the populace, forevermore intangibly associated with the spirit of an age. It has to this day remained part of America’s cultural zeitgeist.
Stud is still popular among the older generation. Seeing the inherent value in providing a platform for these games, most online poker sites offer stud of one form or another.
Go forth and be prosperous. Stud is a very old game with a hundred variants and another hundred ways to win. If you’re American-born with older grandparents, make inquiries about this game and find out what the best of the old guard did to swell their wallets.
Like, comment and let us know what you thought of this article. In the meantime, we’ll be back next week with more fun and interesting poker content.