Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Poker Variation, Roll Your Own

3 Card Stud
This is a neat little 3 card stud game. So many of the Dealer's Choice variations seem to have big community card boards which result in lots of big hands. It's nice to play a game where there is no chance of a full house!

I first encountered it as a sub in an established low limit game. It seemed too tight, in that small pot venue, but I've grown to appreciate its subtleties of play. I've since introduced it in other neighborhood game venues with higher limits and it's been well received.

The Play
It's essentially 3 card stud, where you roll your own up cards. It's generally played as a Hi Lo split pot game, but could be High only, or Lo only (a really twisted Raz game.) With only 3 cards, the nut Lo is A,2, 4. This HubPage describes the deal and play with pictures. Read it and come back.

Since your hand is never more than 3 cards, two of them exposed, you are playing pretty naked. The lay of the up cards is pretty situational, so watch out for bluff situations or opportunities. Some times a good board read can lead to a "no contest" win. For example, everybody looks Lo and you can represent High.

Some, very few, hands can look High and Lo at the same time, which is strong to the table, and gives you an extra hidden option to buy a new down card. For example Down, 3,4 can look like a great Lo (A, 3,4) and a weak straight (3,4,5.) If you have a brick down, like a Jack, you can hold the Jack and bluff, buy a new down card, and improve or bluff.

As in any poker game, letting the table draw free, invites a suck out!

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