Baseball Poker Rules
Baseball Poker is a great variation of the popular 7 card stud. What makes it a little more interesting is that during game play, all threes and nines are considered wild. In addition, if a four is dealt face up to a player, the recipient immediately receives another down card. The game is a little wild and hand values go right out the window due to the inclusion of so many wild cards. It's a regular occurrence for monster hands to be crushed due to a player picking up a number of wild cards - perhaps what makes this variation so popular. It's also significantly more difficult to judge the strength of hands with the wild cards.
Let's take a look at the order of play and betting structure. For those familiar with 7 Card Stud, it's pretty much he same game, except for the wild cards and the rule around the extra card being dealt when a four is dished out. The initial deal is two down cards and one up card. Remember the rule about the 4's. If a player is dealt one face up, they get an additional down card.
The Bring in Bet
After the first three cards have been dealt, the player showing the lowest up card must make what is called a "bring-in" bet. As with the ante, the size of the bring-in varies, depending on the size of the stakes. All players then wishing to stay in the hand would then have to match (or call) the highest bet made or fold. Any player that folds the hand plays no further part in the hand.
Fourth Street (The Second Round of Betting)
After the action has been completed on the opening round, the dealer gives a face-up card to each player remaining in the hand. Unlike the first round, where the lowest hand was forced to start the action, in this second betting round, the highest hand on board has the option to start the betting. In other words, the player showing the highest hand is called upon first to either bet or check. Moving clockwise round the table, other players must match the bet or raise to stay in the hand.
At this point, if for example a player raises the bet to $6, all further calls or raises are in $6 increments.
Fifth and Six Streets (round of betting)
On fifth street, you receive your third up card, and then there is a round of betting, again started by the highest hand on board. There are no more $3 bets: all bets and raises are at the higher $6 increments (following on from Fourth Street). Sixth street is virtually identical: an up card is dealt, the highest hand acts first, and all bets and raises are at the higher $6 increments.
Seventh Street (round of betting)
The betting on seventh street is identical to sixth, but this card is dealt face down and is the last card that you will receive (you will now have seven cards). After you examine this final card, you assemble your best possible five card poker hand out of the seven in front of you. Don't forget that a poker hand is always five cards so you will use the five cards out of the seven that make you your best hand.
Remember that it is possible to have more than seven cards (the 4's may be with you!) so it is quite possible to end up with more than seven. As such you should not be placing as much value on your hands as you would in a standard game of 7 Card Stud as there is a greater chance that your opponents have a better hand than you.
The standard variations are shown below:
Paying for wild cards
The amount to be paid is often equal to the value of the pot. Other possibilities include:
1) Face-up nines, threes, or both require the player receiving to to pay for the cards to become wild. If the player decides not to pay they retain their face value.
2) Pay for face down wilds as well as face up ones.
3) Paying for the additional card when a four comes face up.
4) Face-up threes, nines, or both require the recipient to pay for them or fold.
5) Allowing someone with a face-down four to flip it face up and receive an additional card.
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