They don’t call it ‘stud’ for nothing!

December 04, 2007 5:06 AM
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SEVEN CARD STUD. Now, there’s a name for a real poker game. It ain’t flippity-flop bingo.

Those who prefer the floppy ’n’ sloppy were faced with a problem — how to make their game sound more macho to attract rough, tough poker players. So, they called it Texas Hold’em.

But, the fact remains. Stud is the Stomping Grounds. Here, the end comes not with the flick of a flop, but with slow, nerve-wracking cuts and stabs.

Stud is not a trap shoot like Hold’em, where you just holler "Pull!" and when the flop flies, you either hit it or miss it. In Stud, you have to stalk your prey.

Stud is deliberate. You can’t rush to judgment like you can in Hold’em. More often than in Hold’em, it seems the life you take may be your own.

For the most part, Stud Country is in the East. Out West, the preference is for Hold’em, Omaha High-Low, and Pai Gow.

More than three-quarters of the players in Atlantic City belong to the Stud Herd. There’s little Hold’em action. Studs often consider Hold’em a "kinky" kind of card combat.

Poker "scientist" Mason Malmuth has compelling reasons for playing Stud over other games. He points out that "Stud is more complex. This means that real experts can play significantly better than the typical player."

THERE ARE about 250,000 possible hands in a deck of cards. But, in Hold’em or Omaha, once the flop flies, there is only a good hand or two.

In Stud, upcards give the experienced player a greater advantage over the less experienced player. The expert has more information and the skills to use it.

When poker author Bob Ciaffone became a prop player at Hollywood Park Casino a couple of years ago, one of the games he played was $15-30 Stud. Since becoming a poker pro in the ’70s, he had played very little Stud.

"I now look at the game through a new pair of eyes," Ciaffone writes. "There’s a lot more to the game than many players realize."

IN A TOURNAMENT, the 7-Stud event is a long, hard trip to market. Most don’t make it. The bones of the busted are scattered along the trail.

Although 7-Stud seems simple, the fact of the matter is, it’s one of the most difficult, demanding, exciting, and challenging poker games. A player must make calculations, evaluations, bets, threats, checks, and calls.

To play winning 7-Stud poker requires knowledge, experience, and a great deal of self-discipline. Bet on it.