One great way to have fun is to find a game of stud poker. There are many different ways to play stud poker, and most of these can be played online if you can’t find a group of people who you can get together to play with you.
Stud poker variations are one of the most interesting versions of the game, because unlike community card games only the player holding the cards really knows what kind of a hand they are betting with. The fact that there is relatively little to go on in terms of calculating the odds of a player having a certain hand gives stud poker an edge in the bluffing element of the game.
Although some may argue that the skill level is less than that required to be successful in hold ‘em or even draw poker variants.
In all variations of stud poker, a certain combination of cards is dealt face up and face down to the players. In five card stud, for example, one card is dealt face up and one face down to each player. The betting then commences, with the person with the best hand showing placing the first bet.
There are three subsequent rounds, known as third street, fourth street, and the river, in which players each receive a face up card. As you can see, the hole card (the card that remains hidden) is the card that can make the difference in any bluff or any real hand, as it may mean a player has a much stronger hand than they are showing.
There are several variations of stud poker beyond five card stud. Seven card stud is the most popular version of stud poker that there is, and until the recent meteoric rise in popularity of hold ‘em poker was the most popular poker variant of them all. In seven card stud, players are initially dealt two face down cards (hole cards) in addition to the face up card.
Subsequent rounds will see one card dealt face up until the fifth round, when one last face down card is dealt. Players who love to compete until the bitter end often hold out until this point just to see if that last card will make the difference that they need. 60 cards are needed if everyone is going to play in an eight person seven card stud game, so in some low stakes games you may want to limit the number of players.
Eight card stud is another variation. It plays according to the same rules as seven card stud, but the player with the highest hand splits the pot with the player with the lowest hand. Six card stud is another variation played according to seven card stud rules, but with the last face up card round removed.
The popularity of stud poker is waning in the face of Texas Hold ‘em and other poker variations, especially considering that there are hardly any professionals tournaments in which stud enthusiasts can compete (the variant is notably lacking from the World Series of Poker).
Still, it’s a part of a long poker tradition that dates back to the vets that would play stud poker during the American Civil War, and besides, it’s a good way to have fun and compete with your friends at the same time.