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Dealer's Choice Poker Game Variations - Two Fun Games

Updated on November 10, 2012


Auction is a version of five card stud that is best played with 4 to 6 players but can be played with any number between 2 and 9. The game starts with and ante and the dealer dealing each player five cards. Then the dealer places five cards face down in the middle of the table flipping the first one over.

The player left of the dealer has the option of “bidding” for the card if they feel it will improve their hand. They can pass once and still have the opportunity to bid later but once they pass twice they lose the opportunity. Play continues around the table with anyone who is interested in the card bidding higher than the player before if they still want the card. Eventually there will come to a point where no one is willing to outbid the player and they may take the card, they replace it a card from their hand. Play continues the same way until a card is reached that no one bids on. Then the next card is flipped. Eventually all five cards on the table will have been passed on and each player has a five card hand. There will generally be a good sized pot at this time.

Betting occurs just like in regular five card stud, and all players who stay in until the end flip their hands and the best poker hand wins. This is a fun, action game that can create some huge pots. We almost always have a few hands of this in our dealer’s choice games. If you want even more action, declaring a wild card will make for some crazy bidding. My preference when having a wild card is either declaring “choose your own wild” or lowest card in your hand is wild. That way you don’t (for instance) have everyone going crazy bidding on the 2’s. Another variation is adding a high hand low hand split or a low Chicago (low spade) split. This will often keep more players interested in the hand until the end.


Low in the Hole - High Chicago

A favorite 7 card stud variation of mine is “Low in the Hole, High Chicago.” The game is dealt very similar to 7 card stud, and will be explained in more detail below. The key to the game is that each player’s individual low FACE DOWN card is wild, and their highest FACEDOWN spade can qualify Chicago. A player can have at most 3 face down cards. If their lowest down card is (for instance) a five, then not only is that five a wild card but any face up fives they have are wild as well. This can make the game very tricky because it is very easy to have a great hand disguised very well. The person who shows down the best high hand and the person who shows down the highest FACEDOWN spade will split the pot.

Each player antes the standard table ante, then the dealer deals two cards facedown and one card face up to each player. A round of betting starts with the highest hand showing. Betting can be done according to table rules, either limit, pot limit or no limit. Then another card is dealt face up, and another round of betting. This is done twice more, where at this point each player will have two cards facedown and four face up. Finally the dealer will ask each player whether they would like their final card up or down. This is important because taking another card face down gives you another opportunity at making a high spade but it also risks changing your low wild card.

After the final card is dealt, there is one last round of betting and any players who have stayed in will show their hand.

This is a great game for building big pots because of it being a splitting game. The best position to be in is to have the ace of spades down where you can guarantee you will win half of the pot. At this point you will want to bet small and keep other players in, or if you are lucky someone else will be doing the betting for you. Hope you enjoy this game in your next dealer’s choice poker game. Good Luck!


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