WSOP: Seven Card Stud (1971 to present)

[SS] “Another old American classic, Seven Card Stud, has always been played at the World Series of Poker, including the cash games in 1970.”

[LL] “I grew up playing that, too, although I admit we played a lot of Baseball.1 On the other hand, what’s more American than poker and baseball?”

[SS] “Fortunately, the WSOP has sensibly stuck with games without wild cards.”3

Game Name Seven Card Stud
Game Type Stud
Game Limits Limit
High or Low High or Hi/Lo (a.k.a. Stud 8 or Better)2
WSOP Years 1971 to present
Buyins $500 to $10,000
Largest Field 478 for High (2006 $1,500 event) and 788 for Hi/Lo (2006 $1,000 event)
Notable Champions Artie Cobb, Johnny Moss, and Men Nguyen have each won three bracelets in Seven Card Stud and one in Seven Card Stud Split. Gary Berland and Jeff Lisandro both won two titles in Stud and one in Split.
Basic Rules Antes only. Each player is dealt two hole cards. There is a round of betting after each of four up cards and another round of betting after one final hole card.
History Seven Card Stud, an extension of Five Card Stud, first became popular during the U.S. Civil War. It spread from the Army to the Navy and from coast to coast, remaining the most popular form of poker all the way until Hold ‘Em dethroned it in the 1980s.
Notes The Women’s Championship was contested in Seven Card Stud from 1977 to 1999 (and mixed Hold ‘Em & Stud from 2000 to 2003). The Mixed Doubles event was played in Stud in 1979, 1981, 1982, and 1983.

Footnotes:

  1. Baseball is a Seven Card Stud variation in which Threes and Nines are wild and Fours give you an extra card.
  2. Razz, which is basically Seven Card Stud Low, will be covered next.
  3. There have been exactly two exceptions. California Lowball, with a single joker, was an event in both 1983 and 1986.

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WSOP: Texas Hold ‘Em (1971 to present)

[SS] “Texas Hold ‘Em, of course, is the game you think of most when you think of the World Series of Poker. It’s played in the majority of events, including the Main Event. It’s the game used for almost all of the special tournaments like the Casino Employees event (since 2000), the Women’s Championship (since 2004), the Seniors and Super Seniors events (since 2001 and 2015), and the One Drop high rollers (since 2012).

It’s played at the widest range of buyins, the most limit types (Limit, Pot Limit, and No Limit), and the most table sizes (Heads Up, Six-Handed, Eight-Handed, Full Table, and Mixed Max, where each day of the event uses a different table size).”

Game Name Texas Hold ‘Em
Game Type Flop
Game Limits Limit, Pot Limit, or No Limit
High or Low High
WSOP Years 1971 to present
Buyins $500 to $1,000,000
Largest Field 22,374 (2015 $565 event [Colossus])
Notable Champions Main Events: Johnny Moss (1971 & 1974), Doyle Brunson (1976 & 1977), Stu Ungar (1980, 1981 & 1997), Johnny Chan (1987 & 1988), Phil Hellmuth (1989 & 2012 Europe)
Basic Rules Blinds and possibly antes. Each player is dealt two hole cards, and there is a round of betting. Three community cards are flopped followed by a round of betting. A turn card is followed by a round of betting. A river card is followed by a final round of betting.
History Texas Hold ‘Em originated in Texas in the 1950s1 and was brought to Las Vegas by Felton McCorquodale, Crandell Addington, Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim Preston, and their friends in 1967.2
Notes Pineapple and Crazy Pineapple are Hold ‘Em variants in which each player is dealt three hole cards, discarding one card before and after the flop respectively.

Footnotes:

  1. Hold ‘Em may actually date back as far as the 1930s, but the 1981 Don Jenkins biography on Johnny Moss that makes that claim only supports it only with anecdotal evidence.
  2. The Golden Nugget was the first casino to spread Texas Hold ‘Em. The Dune held the first Vegas Hold ‘Em tournament a couple years later, in 1969.

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WSOP: Ace to Five Draw (1971 to 2004)

[SS] “Ace to Five Draw is a lowball version of Five Card Draw”, Stan the Stat explained. “As the name indicates, the best possible hand is a Five-high: 5432A. Neither straights nor flushes count against you.”

[LL] “Rod, you’d like this game”, Leroy the Lion suggested. “You’re always complaining that you never get any cards.”

[RR] “It doesn’t work that way”, Roderick the Rock retorted. “I’d finally get dealt a royal flush.”

[LL] “At least you’d beat Umberto the Unlucky. He’d get quads.”

[SS] “A royal flush isn’t actually that bad here. It’s just Ace-high, so it’s better than a pair of Twos.”

Game Name Ace to Five Draw
Game Type Draw
Game Limits Limit or No Limit
High or Low Low
WSOP Years 1971 to 2004 (except 1974 & 1975 [probably played in 1972])
Buyins $500 to $5,000
Largest Field ~218 (1987 $1,000 event)
Notable Champions Johnny Moss (1971 & 1988), Perry Green (1976 & 1977), Bill Baxter (1982)
Basic Rules Blinds and Antes. Each player is dealt five cards, and there is a round of betting. Each player can draw from zero to five cards, and there is a second round of betting.
History The game’s history is murky but may have found some popularity as far back as the 1930s. Ace to Five is still played in WSOP mixed games, but has effectively been replaced by Deuce to Seven as a standalone event.
Notes California Lowball, which adds a joker to the deck, was played in 1983 and 1986. There is also Ace to Five Triple Draw, which adds two draws and two rounds of betting. John Juanda (2002) and Men Nguyen (2003) won the two times this event was held.
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WSOP: Five Card Stud (1971 to 1974)

[SS] “Bill Boyd was the Marion Tinsley of Five Card Stud”, Stan the Stat suggested.

[FF] “I’ve never heard of either of them”, Figaro the Fish objected.

[LL] “Before your time”, Leroy the Lion intervened. “Tinsley was by far the best checkers player in the world for decades. He single-handedly prevented checkers from being conquered by computers, and as soon as he died, humanity conceded mastery of another game to silicon.”1

[SS] “Correct. He was so good that he officially withdrew from the Checkers World Championship process for sixteen years so someone else could win. When he returned, he was still unbeatable and held the crown for another eighteen years.

Boyd was arguably the best Five Card Stud player in the world. He won the inaugural $1,000 1971 WSOP event against an unknown number of opponents,2 the $10,000 1972 event against a single opponent, the $10,000 1973 event unopposed, and the $5,000 1974 event against seven opponents. The game was no longer popular, and nobody really wanted to play Boyd anyway, so they discontinued the event. Amarillo Slim claimed that he’d rather catch frost on his winter peaches than play Five Card Stud with Bill Boyd.”3

Game Name Five Card Stud
Game Type Stud
Game Limits Limit
High or Low High
WSOP Years 1971 to 1974
Buyins $1,000 to $10,000
Largest Field ~10 (1971 $1,000 event)
Notable Champions Bill Boyd (1971-74)
Basic Rules Antes only. Each player is dealt one hole card. There is a round of betting after each of four up cards.
History Five Card Stud first became popular during the American Civil War.4
Notes The game can feature a bring-in, in which the player with the lowest card showing after the first up card must make a minimum bet.5

Footnotes:

  1. Don Lafferty, the second best player in the world, tied a match against Chinook that Tinsley had started but could not finish due to illness. Chinook then beat Lafferty in the rematch in 1995.
  2. The 1972 Five Card Stud event probably had ten or fewer players. Boyd had also narrowly lost the vote for the Best Five Card Stud Player of the 1970 WSOP to George Barnes.
  3. Source: Men of Action — Bill Boyd.
  4. Source: Wikipedia Five Card Stud article.
  5. It is unknown whether the WSOP events featured a bring-in.

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