Americana is one of the lesser known poker variants but is still a very fun game that you’ll see in some live mixed game rotations and a few online poker rooms. What makes Americana a little difficult to get used is that it is played with a stripped deck, where only cards ranked A down to 7 are used. Because of the stripped the winning hand rankings also change a little. With a 32 card deck it’s easier to make a full house than a flush, so a full house actually ranks lower than a flush when it comes to showdown.
Furthermore, if two players have a flush in Americana, the winner is determined not by the player with the highest ranking flush as is common in other poker games, but by suit where spades is the strongest, followed by clubs, diamonds, and hearts. The Ace plays both low and high in Americana, meaning that the lowest possible straight would be A-7-8-9-10.
American is a stud variant and is usually played as a pot-limit game online, meaning players can only bet or raise by the amount that is currently in the pot. The maximum number of players for an Americana hand is six, due to the need for up to 30 cards to complete the hand for six players.
Playing an Americana Poker Hand
Before the hand commences, all players pay a small bet known as an ante into the pot. Then they are each dealt two cards by the dealer in a clockwise motion starting to his left, one face up and one face down.
As is common with stud games, the player with the highest ranked up-card showing is forced to pay the bring-in which is typically a small multiple of the ante. The player on the bring-in may also make a raise. The action then proceeds to the player to his left who has the option to call, raise or fold.
When all players have acted and at least 2 players remain in the pot, we proceed to the next round. If someone makes a raise which no player calls, he is awarded the pot. This is the case for all un-called bets or raises in poker.
After the initial betting round each player is dealt another card face up and there is another betting round, starting on the player who has the best two card hand showing. Each player has the option to check if there is no bet in front of them, passing the action to the next player, or to call raise or fold if they are facing a bet. If all players check of the final bet is called by at least one player, we move onto the third round where each player receives another up card followed by a round of betting and then the fourth round, where each remaining player gets a fifth and final card face up and there is a final round of betting.
If there are players remaining in the pot at the end of the 4th betting round they must turn over their cards to claim the pot, starting with the player to the left of the dealer if all players check, or the last aggressor if there has been a bet and a call. The player with the best 5 card Americana hand is awarded the pot.