In April, 1987, I moved to Las Vegas to play poker (and write about gambling/poker) and my game of choice was limit Texas hold ‘em. However, at his time, the most popular form of poker was seven-card stud, and it was played at all limits in the cardrooms of Las Vegas. (Also, no-limit hold ‘em was not played on a regular basis anywhere in town. But that’s the subject of another note.)
In fact, when The Mirage first opened in 1989, not only was stud the predominate game, but high limit stud, $75-$150 and higher, went around the clock even though there were also a fair number of (smaller) limit hold ‘em games. As time went on, hold ‘em continued to grow, but throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, there were still plenty of stud games. Then in 2003, poker got heavy TV exposure and the game that was featured was no-limit hold ‘em since it worked well in a tournament format, In a few short years seven-card stud was mostly gone from Las Vegas and no-limit hold ‘em had become the most popular form of cash game play.
This is not good news. In my opinion, seven-card stud is a great game, and in some respects I feel it’s even better than hold ‘em since an escalating ante that is used at the higher limits can help to maintain a healthy balance of luck and skill. This is a feature that hold ‘em, whether it is limit or no-limit, does not have. Fortunately, there are still a number of places where multiple stud games are spread, and those of you who are at these locations who have never played stud (or perhaps just played a little) might want to give it another look.
The reason I say this, is that to me, stud was always a welcome break from Texas hold ‘em whether the game was limit or no-limit, and it featured a somewhat different set of skills to get really good at it. Furthermore, now that more time is available to me to play poker, it’s a shame that the stud games are no longer available. (I would be amiss if I didn’t state that The Bellagio still gets a stud game going several days a week, usually in the afternoon to not too late at night and the stakes are most often $30-$60).
Anyway, to finish this note, this month’s magazine includes an article by me which talks about three of the differences between stud and hold ‘em. Of course, our magazine also contains other terrific articles, but since mine talks about seven-card stud, it seemed only appropriate to add a little more with this Publisher’s Note.