Poker Homeland

March 21, 2019, 10:15 pm

Stud and Draw Poker

Draw poker is the older and more popular of the two poker games. It can be played by as many as ten, though five or six make the ideal match. The object is for one player to win the pot by showing a higher ranking hand than all the others. Before the game begins, players decide on betting procedure. They can practice "fixed limits," in which bets cannot exceed a previously agreed amount, "pot limit," where a player can wager no more than the amount in the pot at the time of his bet or "table stakes," an approximation of the legendary "sky's the limit" game of millionaires, where each player's limit is the number of chips belonging to him at the beginning of the deal.

In draw poker most people play "jackpots," in which a player in order to open must hold at least a pair of jacks or better. After the opening bet is made each player must decide if he is going to "pass," that is, drop out the betting (and sometimes the game); "call," or match the money already bet or "raise", meet the previous bet and then increase it. Although rules differ from game to game, if the other players cannot or will not meet the raise they usually must drop the hand, and the higher bettor takes the pot regardless of the cards he holds. (If, indeed, he didn't have a good hand but was betting as if he did, he was using the most ingenious play in the gambler's bag of tricks, the "bluff".)

The players now draw from the pack to improve their hands. Another betting session takes place with the same call-and-raise system. Finally, there is a "showdown," in which the highest ranking hand is declared, and the winner takes the pot.

An interesting and challenging variation of draw poker is lowball. In this version the lowest hand wins the pot. Thus, a hand like a full house which would normally be very desirable is to be avoided at all costs. Aces are played low and straights and flushes do not count. The perfect hand in lowball would be an A-2-3-4-5. This hand is known as the "wheel" or the "bicycle." Betting and drawing are the same as in regular draw poker.

The game of stud poker, once so popular in America, today is seldom played in penny-ante games but is still a favorite among high rollers and professional poker players. It is governed by the same rules and the same card values as draw poker. The difference is that in five or seven-card stud each player is dealt one face-down card and a series of face-up cards rather than five down cards.

The game of five-card stud begins with each player being dealt a face-down and face-up card. A betting interval follows, with the player who holds the best face-up cards wagering first. Three more rounds follow, each with a single face-up card dealt to each player and each with a betting interval in between. After the fourth and last betting round comes the showdown. Each player exposes his hole card and the highest hand wins.

Variations on stud abound. There is seven-card stud in which players are dealt two hole cards and a face-up card. This is followed by a round of betting. There is one more face-up card followed by a round of betting, another face-up card and round of betting, and one last face-up card and round of betting. Finally there is one face-down card and a last round of betting. For the showdown players select the best five out of seven cards to represent his hand. High-low poker, another variant, is played with highest ranking hand and the lowest ranking hand splitting the pot, the lowest being 7-5-4-3-2. High-low seven-card stud goes by the same rules, with the players allowed to choose the best or worst five out of seven cards in their hand.

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