7 Card Stud Poker Variations

Poker Rules for Razz, Chicago, and More

These poker games are based on Seven Card Stud, but add or change something about the rules, such as add wild cards or whether you're looking for a good or bad hand to win. If you're playing a dealer's choice game, they're fun to add to the mix.

 

Razz


Razz is seven card stud played for low -- in other words, instead of the highest hand winning, the lowest hand wins the pot. The lowest hand in Razz is A-2-3-4-5, because straights and flushes don't count against a hand being low, and aces are counted as low.

The ace to five straight is also called "the bike" or "the wheel."

More on How to Play Razz

Stud Eight or Better

 

In this game, the best high hand and the best low hand split the pot -- but only if the low hand is an eight high or under. The low follows the same rules as Razz and you can use your aces as both high and low. It is one of the five HORSE games, and is played at the World Series of Poker.

More on how to play Stud Eight or Better

 

Follow the Queen


This game features a wild card and is dealt the same as traditional seven card draw, but instead of the dealer choosing what cards will be wild before the first card is dealt, the cards dealt decide the wild card.

To explain: in this game, if a queen is dealt face up to any player, the following card dealt face up becomes the wild card for all players. So if I’m dealt a queen face up and the next player is dealt a six, sixes become the wild card for everyone.

Until another queen comes up. If another queen is dealt, the next card dealt face up becomes the new wild card for everyone. If a queen happens to be the very last card dealt face up, then all wild cards are off. It’s interesting to play because of how suddenly the value of each player’s hand can change when a queen comes out to play.

 

High Chicago


This is a split-pot variation of seven-card stud, where the high hand splits the pot with the player with the highest spade in the hole. The high hand and spade can be held by the same player, in which case he will win or “scoop” the whole pot. This type of game is known as a "sucker game" because only suckers play if the ace of spades (or whatever the highest possible spade is) is not in their hole cards. Why play for only half a pot?

Also known as: Black Mariah.

Baseball


This wild-card filled game was my favorite as a child. In this seven card stud variation, 3s and 9s are wild (for strikes and innings), and if you're dealt a 4 and you get an extra card. Some people play that players must add a forced bet and add a certain amount into the pot when dealt 3s, 9s, or 4s. Usually it’s the same amount as the ante at the beginning of the game.

With players having 8 wilds and the possibility of 8 or 9 cards in their hand, it's not uncommon for the winning hand to be five-of-a-kind or a straight flush. So if all you've got is three of a kind in baseball, you'll probably strike out.