Americana Rules

Americana is a stud poker game played with a short deck. Americana is a variant of Five-Card Stud. In stud poker each player receives a mix of downcards (only you can see these) and upcards (everyone can see these) dealt in multiple betting rounds. All stud games starts with at least one downcard to start the “guessing game”. All cards are individual, there are no shared community cards as in holdem games. Stud games are non-positional games, this means that the player who bets first on each subsequent round does not necessarily have to be the same. Americana, as all stud games, uses antes instead of blinds.

Americana is played with five cards, whereof only the first is a downcard and four others are upcards. The starting hand consists of one downcard and one upcard. The first betting round starts off with a forced bring-in or complete bet from the player with the highest upcard. Thereafter one card is dealt before each betting round, in total there are four betting rounds. The best five-card poker hand according to the short decked hand ranking wins the pot. This five-card poker hand is inevitability the five cards dealt to each player (no choices can be made as to which cards make the best combination as in Texas Hold’em or Seven-Card Stud). Only one hand of five cards is dealt.

Americana is played with a short deck of 32 cards from Aces to Sevens. In strip-poker the lowest ranked cards are removed from the deck. In American the Twos to Sixes have been stripped. Poker with the 32 card deck is sometimes referred to as French poker. It becomes easier to get higher ranked hands with a short deck. The odds change internally as well, it becomes easier to get a full house than a flush. Consequentially according to the short decked hand ranking a flush beats a flush. Another implication of a short deck is that it has to be played short handed; there is a six player maximum.

Sequence of Game Play

1. Antes Each player must place a forced bet, the ante, before the cards are dealt.
2. Starting hand Each player receives one card face down and one card face up. The downcard is also known as the hole card, and the first upcard as the door card.

3. First betting round The player with the highest ranking upcard (also by suit) has to open the betting. That player has a choice of making the bring-in bet – which is less than a full bet usually 2 times the ante – or making a regular full sized bet. The action then continues clockwise until the betting is completed for the round.
4. Third street Each player receives another card face up.

5. Second betting round The player with the best poker hand showing (of the upcards that is) continues to start the action for the round.
6. Fourth street Each player receives another card face up.

7. Third betting round The betting advance as before. (In a fixed limit betting structure the bets are now doubled.)
8. Fifth street, river Each player receives a fifth and final card face up.

9. Fourth betting round The last betting round advances as before.
10. Showdown If more than one player reaches this stage, all remaining players show their hands. The first bettor or last raiser shows first, and then only those who beat that hand has to show. The highest ranked hand according to the short deck hand ranking wins the pot.


Player As cards

Player Bs cards

Player Cs cards

Studying each players hand in this example shows that Player C must have started the betting on the first round of betting as the ace is the highest ranked upcard. Nothing changed on third street so player C continued to start on the second betting round. On fourth street however both player A and B gets a pair. The pair of jacks is the highest hand of the upcards throughout and player B started the action on the subsequent rounds. Player C folded on fourth street. Player As pair improved to a two pair but player B wins the pot as the jack in the hole makes player B a three-of-a-kind.

Player As final hand

Player Bs final hand

In Depth Issues

Suits To determine who should start the action on the first round of betting, if two or more players have the same highest ranking card, suits are utilized. The person who brings it in is determined by suit order progressing from spades, hearts, diamonds, down to clubs.

Position To determine who should start the action on subsequent betting rounds, if there is a tie for the highest hand, position is considered. The player who received cards first, is then also first to act.

Option If a pair is showing on third street, players has the option to make a single or double bet in a fixed limit game. As soon as a player makes a double bet, the following betting is made with these bet increments. When playing online, such rules are not necessary to know by heart as all the legal betting options will be presented on the screen.

Cap A cap is used in fixed limit games. The term cap is used to describe the final raise in a round since betting is then capped and no one can make another raise. A cap of three raises is usually used. Increasing the amount wagered by the opening forced bet up to a full bet does not count as a raise, but merely as a completion of the bet. So, three raises can still be made before the cap is reached. Heads up the cap can be removed, allowing the combatants to raise until they are out of chips. However, very few online poker rooms adhere to this removal of the cap in heads up situations.
Added 2006-06-28 08:57:10
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