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


  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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