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How to Play Cow Pie Stud Poker with Joker


COW PIE STUD with JOKER: A split pot version of 7 card stud. Use a deck of 53 cards (standard deck plus one joker). The joker is a limited wild card and may be used only as an ace or to complete a straight, flush or straight flush. Deal, play and bet exactly like 7 card stud. At the completion of 7th street betting, each player re-arranges their cards into 2 separate hands. One is a regulation 5 card poker hand. The other is a 2 card poker hand. Up cards must remain up and down cards must remain down. In arranging the 2 hands, these important requirements must be met: The 5 card hand must out rank the 2 card hand and each hand must include at least one down card. Once so arranged, there is a final round of betting. The hands are revealed and the pot is split between the highest 5 card hand and the highest 2 card hand. The 2 card hands are ranked as high card(s) and pairs only. If a player misplays his hand by creating a 2 card hand that is better than his 5 card hand, both hands are disqualified.

Summary of action:
Deal 2 hole cards and 1 up card to each player.
Deal 1 up card to each player ("4th street").
Deal 1 up card to each player ("5th street").
Deal 1 up card to each player ("6th street").
Deal 1 hole card to each player ("7th street").
Arrange cards into a 5 card poker hand and a 2 card poker hand.

Playing Tips for Cow Pie Stud Poker with Joker


Strategy for Cow Pie Stud with Joker Poker is similar to classic 7 card stud. The twist is that your 7 cards must be divided into 2 separate hands. For that reason, you are striving to get a hand that can be arranged into a winner in both the 5 card and 2 card hands. Examples of those hands include a full house, a straight or flush plus a separate high pair, 3 pair (preferably with 2 high pairs). But, always keep in mind that both hands must include at least 1 down card and you cannot share cards between hands. Also critically important is that your 5 card hand must rank higher than your 2 card hand. More on this and what to consider when arranging your hands later.

Since the joker may be used as an ace, the best possible hand is 5 aces, but no other 5 of a kind hands are possible.

Starting Hand Selection


You can approach this game using your normal starting hand requirements for high only 7 Card Stud, but perhaps adjusted more toward favoring pairs and high cards. For your first 3 cards you would like to see.
If you have the Joker:
Joker and 2 suited connectors.
Joker and 2 to flush or 2 to straight.
Joker and pair of aces or single ace.
Joker and a high or middle pair with no ace showing in other players' hands.

If you do not have the Joker:
3 high cards (preferably 2 suited).
A pair of aces.
A pair with a an ace kicker. When starting with a pair it is preferable that it be a split or hidden pair as this gives your hand more versatility. An exposed pair can not be used as your 2 card hand.
Straight or flush draw. Preferably these would include at least 2 high cards and should normally be avoided if they do not. When you do start with 3 to a flush or straight realize that you must complete those hands by 6th street. If it takes you until 7th street to complete your flush or straight it will not qualify with the rules as it will require you to use all 3 down cards in your 5 card hand and you will have no down card left to use in your 2 card hand.
Overall, Cow Pie stud with Joker is a game where ending up with 2 big pairs probably gives you a better shot at scooping the entire pot than does a flush or straight.

Significance of the Joker (Wild Card)


There is only one wild card (Joker) in this game. Of course, the Joker (especially as a down card, less so if exposed) is an advantage to its holder and a disadvantage to all the other players. However, the advantage gained or lost is not as significant as in most other wild cards games. The Joker has limited value because its wild card capability is limited. It can be used to complete straights, flushes and straight flushes and to being able to be valued as an ace. It can not be used for any other purpose. For example, a joker and a king is not a pair of kings. Another factor mitigating the significance of the Joker is the nature of the game itself. The rules require that the 5 card hand must outrank the 2 card hand and that each must include at least 1 down card. It may not be possible to utilize the Joker to its fullest advantage in a way that complies with these rules. Additionally, even if you can use it to complete a straight or flush that only helps your 5 card hand. The odds are against you also having a 2 card hand capable of winning and scooping the pot.

For the reasons stated, do not allow yourself to be overly optimistic if you hold the Joker nor overly discouraged if you do not. When you hold the Joker you significantly improve your odds for completing a straight or flush. But, if neither of those hands materialize and you do not also have an ace your joker wild card is practically worthless. Continually assess the value of your hand and how it might be correctly split and play accordingly.

Arranging Your Hands


When arranging your cards into your 2 hands make 100% certain you follow both of these rules. If you fail to do so both of your hands are disqualified.
1. The rank of your 5 card hand is higher than your 2 card hand.
2. Each hand includes at least 1 down card.

Your primary objective is to attempt to win both ways. That is often accomplished by splitting a powerful hand into 2 medium strength hands. For example, a full house could be split into trips for the 5 card hand and a pair for the 2 card hand. But, you must also be aware of what hands other players may have and how they might split them and adjust your decision accordingly. If you feel you do not have hands strong enough to win both ways your objective should shift to guaranteeing as much as possible, that you will win 1 way. As an example, if you suspect someone has a straight or flush and the pair of your full house is fairly low, you might end up losing both ways. In that case it is better to be nearly assured of winning half the pot with your 5 card full house and conceding the 2 card hand. On the other hand, if your pair were aces or kings, you could still make the split as originally suggested knowing you have a virtual lock with the 2 card hand and the hope that your trips might hold up.

Ideal Hand Arrangement


Below you will find hands and suggestions on how to arrange them, assuming ideal conditions. Think about your hand and analyze it carefully to make sure it can be split in a way that complies with the requirements. There may be situations in which, although you have these hands with 7 cards, they cannot be split into 2 hands that adhere to the rules. You need to be aware right from the start and think about it throughout. Do not wait until all the cards are out to figure how to arrange your hands.

7 Card Hand Split Into:5 Card Hand2 Card HandConsider These Factors
5 AcesTrip acesPair of aces
Straight FlushStraight flushRemaining 2 cards
4 of a Kind4 of a kindHighest 2 remaining cards
Full House3 of a kindPairDo not split if neither trips or pair are likely winner
FlushFlushRemaining 2 cards
StraightStraightRemaining 2 cards
3 of a Kind3 of a kindHighest 2 remaining cards
3 Pair2nd & 3rd pairHigh pair
2 PairHigh pairLow pairDo not split if neither pair is likely winner
1 PairPairHighest 2 non-paired cards
None of the AboveHigh card & remainders2nd & 3rd high cardsWhy are you in this hand?

Problem Hands


Problem hands are those in which you find it is not possible to split your 7 card hand into qualifying 5 and 2 card hands. Problems result when 1 (or both) of these situations occurs:
To complete your 5 card hand would require the use of all 3 of your down cards. There are no down cards available to use in your 2 card hand.
The preferred split will result in your 2 card hand being ranked higher than your 5 card hand.

Examples of problem hands include: 2 pair - both exposed; 2 pair - lower exposed & higher hidden; straight or flush in which you must use all 3 down cards.