Five Card Draw vs Seven Card Stud

Long before all the modern poker variants came into play, there was five-card draw poker. This game gave rise to all the Omaha and hold ’em games played today, but it has fallen out of favor recently. In draw poker, there are no up cards and only two betting rounds- one before a draw and one after it. Every player gets five face-down cards and has the choice to replace three or fewer of them to make their hand better. There are a lot of variants on five-card draw poker; jokers included, high/low, no openers and jacks or better.

5 Card Draw

Beginning with the player to the dealer’s left, they need to have at least a pair of jacks to open the pot. Players can split openers but they have to announce their intentions and put the discards face-up on the side to prove that they did have openers. If no one has the minimum, the cards are dealt again until someone can open. Normally, every player can draw three new cards or keep the ones that they have.

Like with all other poker variants, position is key. Once the pot is opened, the player has to describe his hand by the draw he makes. If they draw three cards, everyone else knows that they have a pair; if they draw two cards, everyone is led to believe that they have three of a kind.

With aces or kings you can open the pot from any position, and you have the best possible starting hand. If the opening bet is raised, calling can be done. In the late position, opening with jacks is appropriate. If you open in late position and are raised before the draw, you could be in trouble.

The biggest reason why it’s not recommended to open the pot with jacks in the early or middle position is the chance that the hand behind yours is better. If you do pass with jacks in early position, there’s a little more than a 1/3 chance that no one will open, meaning that you could have won the pot uncontested.

Seven Card Stud

Until just a couple of years ago, seven-card stud was the most popular poker variant. Everyone who’s ever played the game is familiar with it because most of the home variants such as “follow the ace” are based on it. In the casino and at tournaments, the game is played with no wild cards, and because each player gets seven cards, the game is limited to between two and seven people.

A seven-card stud hand consists of five betting rounds, instead of four like you would find in Omaha or hold ’em. There are two betting variants you may find, depending on the pot limit. With a higher-limit game, the first two rounds are a set amount and the limit doubles on the following three rounds.

Seven-card stud is a game of antes. That means that ever player has to put some money into the pot before the game begins, and the amount depends on the limit. Most antes are between one-tenth and one-fourth of a traditional bet. After the antes are placed, the dealer puts the money into the pot and each player is dealt two cards face-down and one card face-up. The two face-down cards are hole cards, and the face-up card is the door card.

The first bet is called “Third Street” because players have gotten three cards already. After cards are dealt the bets begin; in the first round the player with the lowest door card has to place a “bring in” bet. After that bet is placed the player to the left can call the bet, raise it, or fold.

After all bring-in round bets are made, every player is given another face-up card and the second betting round starts. The player with the highest card does not have to bet; they can check if they wish. If a player shows an open pair, they have the choice to make the largest bet available to them.

Next, players are dealt a third face-up card; the player with the highest up card bets or checks first and the action goes around the table counterclockwise. During the next round, a fourth card is dealt and betting continues in a similar manner.

The seventh card is dealt face-down; each player should have three hole cards and four up cards. A final betting round takes place and players must show their cards when it’s over. The highest five-card hand gets the pot, and if one player bets and all the others quit, that player automatically wins and is not required to show their cards.


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