While seven card stud is the most popular form of stud poker, there are many varieties out there that are still played in North America and around the world. Here are some other popular varieties.
Razz (or lowball)
The general rules of play and betting structure for razz are the same as your standard game of seven card except for one big difference, the hand values. In razz, also known as London lowball, ace-to-five is the best possible hand. Pairs and three of a kind are bad hands to have in razz, straights and flushes are completely ignored. Therefore the best possible hand in razz is 5-4-3-2-A, followed by 6-4-3-2-A, 6-5-3-2-A, 6-5-4-2-A, 6-5-4-3-A, and so on.
Some versions of lowball poker are played with a joker, in these games the joker always plays as the lowest possible card in your hand.
Five Card Stud
This extremely old version of stud poker begins with each player being dealt one card each face down and one face up. Betting takes place and another card is dealt face up to each remaining player, a second round of betting followed by a third up card. A fourth and final card is placed face up and a final round of betting takes place followed by a showdown, best 5 card poker hand wins.
Five card poker definitely isn’t the most exciting poker game around, mainly because there is little left to a players imagination or creativity. Only one card is hidden, everything else is face up, therefore it’s very difficult to bluff another player or hide the strength of your hand. Showdowns are very rare as in most cases opponents will fold out before the last up card is dealt.
When playing five card stud some people play 1-3-1, played exactly the same except the final card is dealt face down…it makes for a slight more challenging game with more betting action.
This is a variant of five card stud (rules above) except that all the 10s, 9s, and 8s are taken out of the card deck and a joker is added and played as a wild card if dealt face down, and as a bug if it’s dealt face up. The rank of hands in Mexican stud poker is the same except that a flush beats a full house, because it’s harder to get a flush with 3 less cards in each suit.