Once upon a time, Seven-Card Stud was the most popular form of casino poker in many areas of the country.  Seven-Card Stud games outnumbered Hold’em games by a wide margin, especially in the Northeast.  Now, the game seems like a dinosaur from a by-gone era.  It doesn’t attract nearly the numbers or the level of excitement of its rival Hold’em.  Credit (or blame, depending on one’s perspective) televised poker for the adjustment in attitude.

Nevertheless, some Seven-Card Stud tournaments are still played around the country, although they are getting increasingly difficult to find.  The 2008 Winter Bayou Poker Challenge continued this week with its only Seven-Card Stud tournament on the schedule.  The $340 buy-in event attracted a rather modest field of 47 players, generating $13,095 in prize money.

The small field size did not diminish the tenacity of competition, however.  The one-day tournament was held in the Manor Room of the Harrah’s New Orleans Casino, adjacent to the main tournament floor which was hosting various Hold’em events.  Only the top five players collected prize money (Side Note:  Perhaps an illustration that Stud has an uncertain future, all of the five players who cashed in this tournament were 37-plus.  Contrast this with most Hold’em tournaments, which are filled with 20 and 30 year olds.

The winner was Elliot D. Howzer, from Pine Grove, LA.  He is a 46-year-old master plumber.  Howzer’s cut the prize pool “officially” amounted to $5,892.  He was also presented with a fancy gold ring, which is awarded to all winners at this year’s Bayou poker tournament series.

The final table was perhaps the shortest finale ever in poker history.  It lasted only two hands.  Once the five finalists were determined, two hands were played out and Howzer ended up as the winner – the final outcome shaped by a financial deal made between the surviving players, no doubt.  It should be noted that while WSOP Circuit events do not permit deals to be made, the Bayou Poker Challenge has no restrictions against deal making.  And so it was.  

The top five finishers included:

5th Place – Kell Bosargg, a 43-year-old estimator for Denham Springs, LA.

4th Place – Charles Woody Moore, a 60-year-old retiree from Dallas, TX.  Moore enjoyed previous cashes at major poker events in Los Angeles.

3rd Place – Doyle Holloway, a 63-year-old builder and contractor from Folsom, CA.  He proudly noted that he has been married for 43 years and has been playing poker for 40 years.

2nd Place – Patrick D. Peercy, a 37-year-old self-described “bum” from Indianapolis, IN.  He said he used to work as a used car salesman.

1st Place – Elliot D. Howzer, a plumber from Denham Springs, LA.  Howzer has won other tournaments previously.  His past victories included first-place finishes in Indiana, Las Vegas, and Reno.