Invented Stud Poker Variants


Invented by Ken McKenzie and contributed by Dave Kinney (

This is straight 7 Card Stud except that your two cards down comprise a blackjack hand. You may pay to have the 7th card dealt up so as not to take a hit on your blackjack hand. The high poker hand and the best blackjack hand split the pot.

Widow Jack

A variation of Stud-Jack contributed by fran

This game is dealt and played just like "stud jack", but with the "black mariah" rules. If the "black mariah" (spadeQ) appears, the hand is reset and even a great blackjack hand gets wiped out.

New York New York

Contributed by Dave Kinney (

This game was invented by Ellen Czeh several years ago and it has become a staple around the kitchen table. She called it New York New York as she lived there at the moment of inspiration.

This is a seven card stud high low poker game. Each player is dealt the first three cards, two down, one up and then there is a betting round. The deck is then placed in the middle of the table and two cards turned up, one on each side of the deck. Each player in turn selects a card, either one of the turned up cards or a card from the top of the deck, which would be turned up except on the seventh card. As turned up cards are removed, the dealer replaces them from the deck turning it up on vacant spot. After all players have selected a card, there is a betting round. Play continues until all players have seven cards. On the last card, if an up card is selected it stays up, if a down card is selected it stays down. Typically there is a declare, because both high and low can be won by the same person. A betting round would typically follow the declare, but this is optional.

Note: after all the players have 7 cards, there will be either one or two central face-up cards remaining, depending whether the last card taken is an up card or a down card. These central cards are out of play, but known to the players during the declaration and final betting round.

Weeping Willow

Developed by the Monday Night Poker Club and contributed by Roger Shuman (

Ante: There is no "ante" but each player must place 6 nickels (or whatever your group chooses) in front of him. These will be used to purchase trades with other players once the game begins)

DEAL: 5-7 cards to each player (as long as everyone gets the same amount)

PLAY: Once the cards are dealt, optional trading begins. A player may exchange any equal number of cards with any other player (e.g. Player A trades 3 cards with Player B). Each trade costs a player one nickel. Upon making the trade, he or she places one nickel into the pot. Each player has a maximum of six trades (one for each nickel). There are no requirements for trading (i.e. players can trade mixed cards, pairs, sets, single cards, whatever) as long as the exchange consists of the same amount of cards for each player - 1 for 1, 2 for 2, etc. Once trading is done, each player selects the five cards he will use for his hand and places them face down in the order he wants to reveal them one at a time (i.e. "roll your own"). The betting round starts with each player turning over his first card. Once the card is turned up, the highest showing card bets. Play continues until the fifth card is turned over and there is a winner.

Clarification of trading process.

STRATEGY FOR TRADING ROUND: Many players will use up all of their trades. However, some may opt to stop trading early. One might stop early in order to get other players to assume the presence of a good hand. Or, one might stop early to ensure that his or her cards (if traded) do not increase the chances of someone else trading into a better hand. Then again, some players are just too cheap to give up all of their nickels.

STRATEGY FOR BETTING ROUNDS: As in any "roll your own" variation, players carefully choose the order in which they will reveal cards. Since other players (especially those who are apt at keeping track of cards) will know the location of certain cards, it might make sense to play those early. Players like to keep opponents guessing at the actual value of their hand until late in the game. This allows for bluffing.

Sex in the Middle East

Contributed by Ian Blessing (

The game is dealt like basic 7 card stud. The only real difference is that 5's are wild, and whenever a 5 is dealt up the card after that is wild as well. So say I get a 5 dealt up to me. The next person gets dealt a 2. 2's are now wild for everyone, throughout the deal. Potentially then, you can have 5 wild cards by the end of the deal. The rest is the same as 7 card stud, with betting after every card.

Two Thirds

Contributed by Andrew Demkovich (

The deal and betting are the same as in Seven Card Stud, but in order to win a showdown you must have at least two of the following:

If no one has two out of three of these, the pot rolls over to another hand.

The spade can be separate from the best 5-card hand. For example it is possible to win with a diamond flush and the lowest face down spade.

Note that if there is only one spade among the hole cards of the players in the showdown, that spade is both the highest and the lowest and its owner wins the pot.

Faces of Death

A variation of Black Mariah suitable for a small table (4-5 players) contributed by fran

The game is dealt and played just like 7 card stud and "Black Mariah", but instead of just the queen of spades being the "mariah", any spade face card kills the hand - thus the "faces of death" name.


Invented by Paul DeLuca ( and Fritz Stei.

Players: 3-7

Initial Deal: After the ante, players are dealt seven cards face down, no-peek.

Play:This is the same as midnight baseball but the wild cards (3s and 9s) can change during the game, only if a 7 is turned up. If one is turned up, the player who receives it has the option to change-out one of the initial wild cards (3 or 9) for a pre-determined fee. If the fee is paid, have the player decide which wild card he would like to change. Using a second deck draw the top card and place it face up next to the deck. This is the new wild card along with the other remaining wild card. At this point the wilds cards are; one of the initial ones and the one turned up by the second deck. If another seven is drawn the same option applies. Play continues until the person with the best 5 card hand wins.

Tip: Folding earlier can prove later on to become a bad move as a dead hand may be revived as cards within can suddenly become wild.

Luck of the Irish

A variation of seven card stud poker with a wild card, contributed by Alan Frandsen

4 of clubs

Deal the traditional 2 cards down, 4 up and last one down. Betting is as per normal 7 card stud. However, fours are wild. The four of clubs is double wild in the sense that if it shows up as one of cards dealt face up, that person will get one extra card, face down. If it is one of the cards dealt face down doing regular play, then it is just wild, no extra card.

The dealer could also specify a cost associated with collecting the bonus card prior to dealing hands, meaning a person receiving the four of clubs in the face up cards would have to pay a predetermined dollar amount to the ante if he/she decides to accept the extra card. Declining doesn't mean you have to fold, just that you don't want, don't need or can't afford the bonus card.

4 of clubs

Woolworth's Jackpot Penalty Multiple Joker Twist and Flip

Craig Roy writes:

This note is to tell you about a variant of poker that we play regularly. It has a lot of risks and bluffing involved. We generally play this variant with Woolworth's, but can be played with any other stud variant where wilds are involved.

If you do not know the rules for Woolworth's:


Woolworth's Jackpot penalty

As with normal Woolworth's but

This changes the dynamics and really makes buying the wild card a big decision. As the game goes on you know more of your hand, so it costs more to buy the wild card.

Joker Twist

Joker is wild if by itself. If joker and other wild cards combine in one hand you have killed all wild cards.

Joker twist and flip

Same as above except whoever holds the Joker, after all betting is done, before the showdown, they have the option to flip the joker to someone else.

Multiple joker twist and flip

(You will require more than 1 deck of identical cards. Remove jokers from the other decks and add them to the playing deck. We have found the more jokers, the better, up to 8 jokers. More than 8 jokers is not very successful. The more players, the more jokers should be used. What seems to work well: 4 players with 4 jokers; 6 players with 6 jokers; 8 players with 8 jokers)

Same as above except after betting on the final round, the player on the left of the called person goes first and has the option to flip 1 (one) of their jokers to anyone they choose or pass. The person called goes last. Any flipped joker cannot be re-flipped: only jokers in the original player's hand can be used. Either hidden or showing jokers can be flipped depending on the player's strategy or bluff. Note that in this game there will be only 4 raises are allowed for any one person in the final betting round. One chip is placed in front of each player as they do their raises.

Please note

We generally do not play the earlier versions of the game we now play quite extensively Woolworth's Jackpot penalty Multiple joker twist and flip, if you try this you will find that big decisions are made during the initial rounds, and some people will buy the card at high price, also there is always a great betting duel in the final where the control of the game end is decided. With only 4 raises to play with you have to decide when to call instead of raise, and you may not get what you want. There is a lot of bluffing in this game as some people will need a joker to be flipped to them to improve their hand but will have to hope it happens.

Who da Baby Daddy Is?

Contributed by Ten Ox

In this 5- or 7- card stud variation, the rank of last card dealt to each player ('da Baby Daddy') is wild for that player only.

To begin, two cards are dealt face down to each player. Then there is a betting round.

Then one card is dealt face up to each player, and there is another betting round.

Another card is dealt face up to each player, and there is another betting round. Now each player has 4 cards (2 down and 2 up). If it is a 7-card game, this is repeated two more times, so that each player has cards (2 down and 4 up).

Then a final card is dealt face up to each player who has not folded. Any other card in the same player's hand, whether up or down, that matches the rank of this last card dealt (the wild card - 'da baby daddy') is also wild. There is no further betting after this last card is dealt: the hands are exposed and the best hand wins the pot.

Smack My Bitch Up

This poker variant, based on Follow the Queen, was contributed by Andy "Sprocket" Noreen who writes:

"It's called 'Smack My Bitch Up' after the song from Prodigy. I do not condone hitting a woman - ever, but the song was popular at the time and we had thrown back a few cold ones. I have called it 'Pimp Daddy' as an alternative name."

This game uses the same rules as Follow the Queen, except that if a King shows as an "Up" card (face-up), it cancels ALL previous wild cards, including any Queens [that's the "Smack" and the word or game title is usually shouted when that happens].

From then on, only Kings are wild, unless another Queen shows up, which cancels the King and then it reverts back to basic "Follow the Queen" rules [the Queens are wild again and have taken revenge on the King(s)].

The wild card alternates back-and-forth depending on whether a King or Queen is the last up card. If there are no Kings dealt face-up, it's a straightforward "Follow the Queen" game.

Seven and What Makes It

A variation of 7 card stud with up to 7 wild cards, contributed by Dan Mathe .

Players: 2-7

Initial deal: Dealt like 7 card stud

Play: Cards are dealt out like 7 card stud. The one variation is that any sets of your cards that add up to 7 (including 7 by itself) are wild. So, let's say you have a 3 and 4 down, and a 7 dealt up. 3+4 = 7, and 7 =7, so you have 3 wilds right off the bat. Aces count as one. Another example: you have an Ace, 3 down and a 2, Ace up. 1+3+1+2 = 7, so all four cards are wild. You cannot use a card in more than one combination at a time to make 7. So if you have a 4,3,3,2,King,9,8 hand, only the 4 and one 3 can be wild, not the four and both 3's.

Winning hand: High hand wins. Best hand is 5 Aces.

Tip: Be sure to stop betting and fold in this game if you don't have a full house or higher, unless you have some possible cards up to make 7, like a 3, 5 up. Then you can bluff people into think you have a 4 or 2 down.

Eddie's Choice

A variation of 7 card stud, contributed by Dan Mathe . Match either of your down cards with one of your up cards and both the matching up and down cards become wild.

Players: 2-7

Deal/Play: Two cards dealt down to each player. The dealer then flips the card on the top of the deck and asks the person to his left whether they want the card.

This continues around the table until the dealer's turn. If the dealer does not take the face up card offered to him, he draws the next card from the deck and the face up card is placed on the bottom of the deck. There is then a round of betting.

Each player receives three further up-cards, by the same process, with a round of betting after each new card. If you match any of your up cards with a down card, they both become wild. So if you have a 3 down and a 3 is offered to you, take that card.

This continues until the 7th card, which is dealt down. If this card matches any of your up cards, they also become wild.

Winning hand: High hand wins. Best hand is 5 Aces.

Tip: Be sure to stop betting and fold in this game if you don't have a full house or higher. To bluff, take a card that is offered to you to make it seem as if you've matched.

Low Hold

A variation of 7 card stud [similar to low hole but with buying], contributed by Dan Mathe . The lowest card in your face down hand is wild.

Players: 2-7

Deal/Play: Dealt exactly like 7 card stud, but the last card can be bought face up to save a wild card. The price is fixed by the dealer before the start of the deal and paid to the pot. A player not wishing to pay can receive the last card face down for free as usual. The lowest face down card in your hand is wild.

Winning hand: High hand wins.

The same game is included in Arthur Buderick's Dealer's Choice Poker under the name Low Hold. Aces always count as high and the cost of having the seventh card dealt face down is equal to the size of the final round bet or raise (this is a fixed limit game). Before the seventh card is dealt players declare simultanoeusly whether they want their last card face down or face up by holding one or two coins in a closed fist, and revealing their choices when everyone is ready.

Train wreck

A seven card stud variant contributed by Kevin Borror

As usual in seven card stud, players are dealt two cards face down (hole cards), four cards face up (table cards), and a final one face down. The cards are dealt one at a time, and there are five betting rounds: one after each round of face up cards has been dealt and one after the final round of face down cards is dealt.

Certain combinations of table cards dealt to a player cause special actions.

Note that extra card received from the dealer for a pair of twos or from another player for a pair of fives cannot be used as part of a pair to trigger a new special action. Nor can a player's hole cards be used. Only the four table cards count towards these special pairs.

It is possible to have two pairs in your four table cards, resulting in two special actions. Trips among the table cards (three twos, threes, fours or fives) have no effect beyond that of the pair.

When giving the players their second table card, the following procedure is used. The dealer turns the top card of the deck face up and offers it to the first player (the nearest player to dealer's left who has not folded). This player may either accept the card or pay 25 cents to the pot to be dealt the next (unseen) card from the deck instead. If the first player accepts the offered card, a new card is turned and offered to the second player. If the first player rejected the offered card and paid for a card from the deck instead, the same face up card is offered to the second player. The second and subsequent players have the same options as the first player: to accept the offered card free or to pay for an unseen card from the deck instead. At the end of the round, if the last player rejects the offered card it is placed at the bottom of the deck and not used in that deal.

When dealing the third and fourth table cards, the same procedure is used, but the fee to be dealt a card from the deck is 50 cents for the third card and 1 dollar for the fourth card.

Spokane Open Wild

Contributed by Dave DeLine

Each player is dealt one card face down as the first card of his hand; he looks at it but doesn't reveal it to the other players. Then the dealer then deals to the center of the table, face up, a number of cards equal to the number of players plus one. For example with 5 players, 6 cards are dealt face up to the center of the table.

Each player, in turn, then chooses one of the face up cards from the center of the table starting with the player to the left of the dealer, then the other players in turn, and ending with the dealer who will have just two cards to choose from. Each player keeps his chosen card face up in front of him and the unchosen card remains in the center of the table. After all players have chosen there is a betting round beginning with the player to dealer's left.

After the initial round of betting. The dealer deals another set of face up cards to the center of the table, equal to the number of remaining players. Since one card remains from the previous deal, there will again be one more exposed card than there are active players. The next active player to the left of the player who chose first in the previous round of the deal has first choice of card, and then the others choose in order. The player with the best hand showing starts a new round of betting.

Provided that more than one player remains in, this continues for two more rounds of dealing, choosing and betting, after which each active player has one hand card and four exposed cards. If there are any active players who have not yet had first choice of center card, there are further rounds of dealing and betting until all active players have had an opportunity for first pick of the center cards.

Throughout the game all cards of the same rank as the face up center card are considered wild cards.

After the final round of betting, if there is still more than one active player, each player makes the best 5-card hand he can from his face up cards and his hole card, and the best hand wins the pot.

Five Card Roll Your Own

A 5 card stud game contributed by Dave DeLine

Each player is dealt a 6 card hand face down. After examining their cards, each player discards 3 cards face down to a common pool, without exposing them to the other players. The dealer shuffles all the pool cards together.

Each player now simultaneously turns up one card from his hand, his choice. The player with the highest upcard starts the betting. After the betting all players (starting with the player with the highest up card) draw one card from the face down pool. Each player looks at his new card and chooses one of his three down cards to expose. All players simultaneously turn their chosen card. Players should now have 2 cards up and two cards down.

Another round of betting followed by another draw from the pool. The player with the two highest cards starts the betting and draws first from the pool. Players again select one card from their hand and place it face up followed by a round of betting.

The player with the lowest hand showing selects one of the remaining cards from the pool and turns it face up. This card is the designated wild card - it does not belong to any player but all cards of the same rank as this card are wild. For example a Queen is turned up and all the remaining Queens are wild. (The turned up Queen is not part of any players hand - it only designates that Queens are wild.)

Now there is a final round of betting followed by a showdown if two or more players are still in.

Vancouver Stud

This hybrid of Stud and Hold'em Poker was invented by Torey Jones

Before the deal, the player to the left of the dealer puts in the agreed big blind (for example 2 or 4 chips) and everybody else puts in half that amount (1 or 2 chips) (or you can use any other system of blinds or ante that you prefer).

Each player is then dealt 2 face down cards. There is a round of betting.

After the first round of betting, each surviving player is dealt one face up card of their own (counting only toward their hand) and one community card is dealt (counting towards everyone's hand). There is a second round of betting.

Each surviving player is then dealt a face down card that counts toward their hand only, and a second community card is dealt face up. There is a third round of betting.

Each surviving player is dealt another face up card, and another community card. At this point, active players should have five cards each - three face down and two face up, and there are three face up community cards in the middle. There is a final round of betting.

In the showdown, the person with the best 5-card hand wins. This hand can use 2, 3, 4 or all 5 of the player's own cards together with some, none or all of the community cards.

Babies' Daddy

A 7-card Stud variant by Bill Curran

First, two cards are dealt face down to each player. Then each player receives a third card face up, and the King of the suit of the first up card dealt is the "Daddy" and is wild. The deal continues as usual for 7-card stud: three more cards each face up and a final one face down. The low card (and any matching cards) in each player's hand is/are wild for that player only. The Queen of the same suit as the "Daddy" King is the "Mommy" and gets half the pot.

High-Low Chicago

Contributed by Josh Breid

This variation can be combined with most versions of poker - for example it would work well with 7-card stud.

At the end of the hand, if there is a showdown the pot is split 3 ways:

  1. person with best poker hand
  2. person with highest spade
  3. person with lowest spade

If playing a game with exposed cards, only concealed spades in player's hands qualify for the highest or lowest spade portions of the pot.

There is no declaration or which part of the pot one is playing for: the pot is automatically split.

If there is only one qualifying spade, its owner wins both the high-spade and low-spade portions of the pot(two thirds of the pot). If there are no qualifying spades the whole pot goes to the owner of the best poker hand. It is of course possible for the player with the best poker hand to hold the highest or lowest spade as well, or both. Thus there can be 1, 2 or 3 winners.

Dead Deuce

Contributed by Harry Carter

In this variation of seven card stud, face up deuces are wild but face down deuces count only as deuces.

First, all players are dealt three cards face down. They then "roll their own" by looking at their cards and turning just one of them face up. Then there is a betting round.

The fourth, fifth and sixth cards for each player are dealt face up, with a betting round after each. Then the seventh card is dealt face down, followed by a final betting round.

Note that since there is only one opportunity to "roll your own" in this variant, a player who is dealt two or even three deuces in the first three cards can only make one of them wild. The others remain as deuces, as does the seventh card, if that happens to be a deuce.

Baseball, National League Rules

Contributed by John Noriega

This version of Baseball is called "National League Rules" to keep it from being confused with the standard Baseball variant.

Baseball, National League is a seven card stud game and as in standard baseball, 9's are are wild.

Since any good baseball game has a seventh inning stretch, any player who gets a seven as an up card gets is dealt an extra card face up (dealt after every player has their card for that round).

Since it's "three strikes and you're out", getting a three face up puts you out of the hand.

Football (3)

Contributed by John Noriega

This is a seven card stud game with extra rules inspired by American Football.

There are four quarters in a game, so 4's are wild.

An Ace as an up card is an extra point - everybody has to pay a buck (or more or less depending on the agreed ante/stakes) to whoever gets an up Ace.

A three is a field goal - any player who gets a 3 as an up card gets to cut the deck. The card they cut to becomes their personal wild card. (For example if they cut to a 5 they don't take that 5 out of the deck, but any fives in their hand are wild.)

The four up cards count as your four downs. You need to get ten yards to continue, that is the value of your up cards must be 10 or more or you're out of the hand. Aces count as 1 point, numeral cards face value. Dealer must state before the deal whether picture cards (K, Q, J) will count as zero points or 1 point.

The Punt: a player who is not likely to meet his ten yards in four downs, and does not wish to risk being put out of the hand, may punt. To punt the player puts ten times the ante into the pot and does not receive a fourth up card. Dealer must ask players at risk if they wish to punt, or at least make a definite "Punt Now" announcement, before dealing the fourth up card.

Hearts Poker

Contributed by Jack Namazukage

  1. All players are dealt two cards face down and one card face up. There is a betting round based on the players' three cards.
  2. Players simultaneously pass one of their face-down cards to the player to their left. There is a second round of betting.
  3. Everyone gets a fourth card, face up. Players simultaneously pass one of their face-up cards to their right. There is a third round of betting.
  4. Every player discards two cards. These have to be both the face-up cards or both the face-down cards: they cannot be one of each. A player who discarded his face-down cards now picks up his face-up cards and holds them concealed for the remainder of the hand. The dealer shuffles the discard pile and turns up one card as a community card. The dealer also turns up two cards from the original remaining deck. Players now have two hole cards and three community cards. There is a fourth round of betting.
  5. If there are two or more hearts among the community cards, then the dealer turns up three more cards from the original remaining deck and a fifth round of betting occurs. If there are fewer than two hearts among the community cards, this step is omitted: play stops after the fourth round of betting.
  6. The surviving players show their cards.
    • If a player holds the Queen of Spades as one of his hand cards, that player must forfeit (discard) his higher ranking card. If that player has a pair of Queens, the Queen of Spades is discarded.
    • If a player is holding the Jack of Diamonds, that player is dealt one additional card.
    • The Queen of Spades or Jack of Diamonds among the community cards has no effect.
  7. The player who can make the best five-card hand from his own cards and the three or six community cards wins the pot. A player who has access to only four cards (one hand card having held the Queen of Spades plus three community cards) can compete on the basis of these four cards, but cannot make a straight flush or full house.

Delaware Stud

A Stud / Omaha-Holdem hybrid, contributed by Mr. White

  1. Blinds are placed, each player is dealt two cards face down, and this is followed by a betting round. (like Holdem)
  2. The dealer burns a card, and exposes a three card flop, and there is a second round of betting. (like Holdem)
  3. A card is now dealt exposed to each player, followed by a betting round. (like 6th street in 7 card stud)
  4. Finally, the dealer burns a card, and each player is dealt a river card face down, followed by a betting round. (like the river card in 7 card stud)

With only a three card widow, each player must use at least two of his own cards, but may instead use three of his own cards with two table cards or all four of his own cards with just one table card, to make the best hand. The highest five-card hand wins the showdown.

With its four betting rounds and forced bet structure, this game lends itself to tournament play.

Riding Ramone

Contributed by Les Stanwood

This is a five card stud ace to five lowball game (aces low, straights and flushes don't count, best hand is the wheel A-2-3-4-5).

Deal five cards to each player, but they must not look at their cards (or they are out of the game). Then deal a 3-card "boot", face down.

Everyone turns over their first card and then the betting starts. (First better is low card showing; we play three raise limit.) Then everyone turns over their next card and there is another betting round. This continues until all the cards are face up, so there will be four betting rounds in all. Each betting round begins with the lowest hand showing, and up to three raises are allowed.

The person with the lowest hand is the winner, but only if he also wins against the three-card boot (Ramone). If he does not win against Ramone, deal again, but include only the players who have not folded. Anyone who drops out is out of the game until someone beats Ramone and collects the pot.

Note: When comparing a 5-card hand with Ramone only the cards that make your highest three-card hand are used, and Ramone wins ties. Example: Ramone has 9-6-5. A player with 9-6-4-3-2 would win against Ramone, but 9-6-5-3-2 would not win (tied with Ramone) and 8-5-3-3-2 would not win (pair of threes beats 9-high).

Variation: Play that face cards count as zero, as in More or Less.

More or Less

Contributed by Les Stanwood

This is a seven-card stud ace to five lowball variant. Deal two cards face down and one face up; betting round; then three cards face up with a betting round after each; then one card face down and a final betting round.

In this variant all face cards (King, Queen and Jack) count as zero and do not pair. So the lowest hand consists of five face cards, but hands with fewer than five face cards need not necessarily be good. For example (10-9-)9-K-K-Q-J counts as a 9-high, and so is beaten by (for example) 10-10-8-7-6-4-3 (8-high). But where hands are otherwise equal, face cards are the best - for example (10-10-)8-6-5-K-J beats (9-8-)8-6-5-2-Q.


Contributed by Patrick Koestler

In this seven-card stud variant:

  1. each player puts an ante into the pot
  2. each player is dealt 2 cards face down and 1 card face up - there is a betting round
  3. each player is dealt 1 card face up (4th card) - there is a betting round
  4. each player is dealt 1 card face up (5th card) - there is a betting round
  5. each player is dealt 1 card face up (6th card) - there is a betting round
  6. each player is dealt 1 card face down (7th and last card) - there is a betting round, followed by the showdown.

In the showdown:

Exception. If one player has both the Jack of spades and the 5 of spades, that player has "Motown" and wins the whole pot. In this case the player with the high hand gets nothing.


Note:  if you are dealt "Motown" in your initial (and ideally, down) cards, play it cool and keep the betting going.  The holder of "Motown" is not required to declare it until the showdown.

Patrick Koestler writes: 'The nice thing about this game is that it tends to keep more people in the game longer, especially those with the Jack or the 5 of spades (sometimes they don't realize that getting "1/4-ed" is a losing proposition, depending on the betting and number of players still "in".)'

Four Up, Four Down

This variant, also known as 'Respect the 4', was contributed by Robert Dier , who has been playing it since 1972. It is a kind of eight-card stud in which the fours have special properties.

First 4 cards are dealt face down to each player. Any 4 dealt face down is wild. Players then bet. 

Then a face up card is dealt to each player. Any player who is dealt a 4 face up is knocked out (forced to fold). There is then another round of betting.

This is repeated three more times - one face up card to each surviving player, anyone with a face up 4 is knocked out, and there is another betting round.

When all surviving players have eight cards - four up and four down - after the final betting round there is a showdown. High hand wins.

No Peek High-Low

Invented by George Johnson and contributed by his son Brian

This is a modified version of the well-known No Peek. It is played as normal but with a low hand split in addition to the high winning hand. In the play there are two phases. Low hands use ace to five ranking.

The first phase is the same as normal No Peek. Each player is dealt seven cards face down and the next card is dealt face up for the first player to beat. At your turn you flip cards face up until you can beat the highest hand so far showing or until you have flipped all seven. Each player's turn is followed by a round of betting starting with the high hand. If after exposing the last of your 7 cards you can't beat the high hand, you then check to see whether have the best low hand. If you don't have the best low hand either you will have to fold in the ensuing betting round, but if you do have the best low hand you can stay in and the game enters phase two.

In the second phase play continues in turn around the table. Now each player flips cards until they have either the best high hand or the best low hand or they have exposed all seven of their cards. This continues until everyone has either folded or exposed all seven cards.

Now the high hand and the low hand split the pot. It is recommended that the high hand should win 75% of the pot and the low hand 25%.


Contributed by David Migoya .

This is a high-low variant of 5 card stud - one card down and 4 cards up followed by two opportunities to pay to exchange a card. For low hands Ace to Six ranking is used.

Deuces are wild only for the high hand, not for the low hand. This makes it easier for players to declare both ways (high and low).

The cost of exchanging a card is based on a game with a $20 buy in and bets of 25¢, 50¢ and $1 (maximum) with a three raise limit. If the basic stakes are higher or lower the exchange fee should be adjusted in proportion.

The game process is as follows:

Note: a player may choose to not spit (exchange) a card, but or if a player chooses not spit the first time but does spit the second time, the cost the higher $2/$2.50 fee, not the $1/$1.50.

Liege Lord

Contributed by Justin du Coeur, from his poker variants collection.

This is a Seven Card Stud Roll Your Own variant in which cards are passed to the left and the winner splits the pot with the nearest surviving player to their left. The game process is as follows.

  1. Deal three cards face down to each player.
  2. Each player passes one card to their left.
  3. Each player chooses one of their three face down cards to reveal - it could be one of the two they kept or the card that was passed to them. The chosen cards are revealed simultaneously.
  4. There is a round of betting, begun by the player with the highest card showing.

  5. Deal one more card to each surviving player.
  6. Each player passes one of their three face down cards to the nearest surviving player to their left.
  7. Each player chooses one more card to reveal - again it could be the card they just received or one of the two they had during the previous betting round, and the chosen cards are revealed simultaneously.
  8. There is a round of betting begun by the player with the best poker hand showing.

  9. Repeat steps 5-8 twice more, so that for the fourth betting round each surviving player has two cards face down and four face up on the table.

  10. Deal a seventh card face down to each surviving player.
  11. Each player passes one of their three face down cards to the nearest surviving player to their left, but this time no card is revealed. So each surviving player now has four cards face up and three face down.
  12. Fifth and final betting round begun by the player with the best poker hand showing.

  13. Showdown in which the highest five-card poker hand wins. The winner shares the pot equally with the nearest player to their right who has not folded.

In theory, if all players but one were to fold, that one player would win the whole pot. In practice, however, this never happens: when there are only two players remaining, it is always right to call rather than fold, as each player then receives half of the final pot.

Justin du Coeur writes: In my opinion, [this is] the best invention we've come up with. You want to pass good and consistent cards in Liege Lord, to help the person you are passing to win. By convention, table talk about what you are trying for is forbidden: signalling is done only through the passes and the revealed cards.

5-2-1 Roll 'Em

This High-Low Five Card Stud game, a variant of Roll Your Own, was contributed by Arthur Buderick as one of the options in his Dealer's Choice Poker game.

Ace to Five ranking is used for low hands.

Five cards are dealt to each player and there is a betting round begun by the player to dealer's left.

Players may discard one or two cards and be dealt replacements or may keep their original hands. There is then a second betting round begun by the next surviving player to the left of the one who begun the first round of betting.

Players may then discard one card and be dealt a replacement or keep their cards. After this everyone stacks their cards face down in front of them in the reverse of the order in which they want to display them, so that the first card to be displayed will be on top of the pile.

All surviving players turn over the top card of their pile, and there is a round of betting begun by the player with the highest card showing. This procedure is repeated for the players' second and third fourth cards, the betting being begun by the player with the highest hand showing.

Then the survivors declare high or low (using coins). It is possible to declare both (for example when holding a wheel A-2-3-4-5 which is the lowest hand as well as a straight) but in that case the player will collect nothing if they lose or tie for either high or low.


This Seven Card Stud variant with an extra spit card and pot matching was contributed by Arthur Buderick as one of the options in his Dealer's Choice Poker game. The principle is that whenever a player acquires a new face-up card that matches the rank of another of their face-up cards, creating a pair, trips, two pair, etc. on the board, they must either pay the pot an amount equal to what it contains at that moment or fold. Bets and raises are subject to a fixed maximum, except for players who have paired on the board who can bet or raise up to half the amount they paid to match the pot the last time they did so.

The dealing and betting process is as follows.

Note that in this game any player who makes three of a kind or two pairs face up will have to match the pot twice to stay in. In the exceptional case of four of a kind or a full house on the table, they could even have to match the pot three times.

Murder with the Twos

Another Seven Card Stud variant from Arthur Buderick's Dealer's Choice Poker, similar to Horn-A-Vika but with Deuces wild and no spit card.

A player who is dealt face up a wild 2 or a card that creates a pair for them on the board must immediately match the pot or fold. In this game each player only has to match the pot once - after matching further wild cards or equal cards have no extra cost.

This is a fixed limit game ($1 dealer's ante, $2 bet plus up to three $2 raises in the first four betting rounds, $5 bet plus up to three $5 raises in the final betting round), but a player who has matched the pot can from that point onward bet up to half the amount they paid to match the pot (if that is more than the current fixed bet).

If there is a showdown the highest hand wins the pot.


A Seven Card Stud variant from Arthur Buderick's Dealer's Choice Poker, in which all spades are wild. Dealer pays a $1 ante. In the first four betting rounds the initial bet is $2 followed by up to three $2 raises. In the final round the initial bet is $5 followed by up to three $5 raises.

Whenever a player is dealt a spade face up on the board they must immediately pay for it. For each player, their first spade costs $2, the second spade $5, the third $10, and the fourth $20. These payments do not affect the subsequent bet amounts.

Since a player cannot avoid paying for a spade if dealt, a player who is unwilling to do so should fold during the previous betting round (even if no one has bet).

In the showdown the highest hand (which in this game is usually 5 of a kind or a straight flush) wins the pot.

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