The hybrid table game known as Asian Stud originated sometime around 2001, and that year the first trademark application to protect the name was filed on behalf of a small casino game design company Tamruta Gaming Enterprises.
Shortly thereafter Asian Stud made its debut in several casinos located in or near Seattle, Washington – which is where Tamruta Gaming Enterprises was based.
This game can easily be confused with similarly named variants, such as Asia Poker and Asian Five Card Stud, but Asian Stud is actually a creative fusion of baccarat and Pai Gow Poker with standard table game concepts.
Although the game of Asian Stud became popular enough during its initial placements to warrant its own Wikipedia page and industrywide coverage, today it appears to be a relic of the past. The local Seattle area casinos which previously offered Asian Stud no longer do, and it never managed to spread beyond that specific market.
Even so, Asian Stud offers the best of both worlds for fans of baccarat and Pai Gow Poker, two of the more elegant table games on the casino floor. For gamblers who appreciate antique games like Asian Stud, this page provides a detailed description of the rules and procedures, along with a primer on the basic strategy used to play it properly.
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Before diving into the nuts and bolts of Asian Stud, readers who may not be familiar with Baccarat or Pai Gow Poker should visit our game pages to learn about basic concepts.
Asian Stud incorporates the card value point system used in baccarat, for example, while adopting the joker card and hand setting methods common to Pai Gow Poker and its related variants.
After you have at least an introductory knowledge of those classic casino games, you’ll be better prepared to learn and understand the Asian Stud game. The game is played using a standard 52 card deck of playing cards, with a single joker card added to create the 53 card deck found in Pai Gow Poker.
Asian Stud Hand Rankings
Instead of the usual “poker hand” ranking system used for cards, however, Asian Stud employs the point system common to baccarat.
This means that:
Aces and the single Joker card, which essentially serves as a fifth Ace, hold a value of 1 point.
2s through 9s are valued at their numerical rank.
10s, Js, Qs, and Ks are each valued at 10 points.
Playing Asian Stud
Starting the Round
To begin a hand of Asian Stud, players must put up a mandatory Ante bet which equals or exceeds the posted table minimum.
Five Cards are Dealt
Once all players have made the Ante bet and any optional Bonus side bets, the dealer will proceed to distribute five cards face down to each player, along with five cards face down to themselves.
You may examine your own hand of course, but no sharing of information between players is allowed in Asian Stud.
Fold or Raise
After taking a peek at your five hole cards, and assessing their value in terms of the baccarat point structure, the game’s first decision point occurs: Fold or Raise.
Folding: you simply surrender the hand straight away, while forfeiting your Ante and Bonus bets to the house.
Raising: you elect to continue in the hand, but you must put up an additional Raise bet which is exactly equal to your initial Ante bet.
Show Your Cards
After each player has decided to fold or raise, it’s time to showdown the hands. In Asian Stud, the objective of the game is to set your five cards into two separate hands, in a sort of condensed version of Pai Gow Poker. The two hands in Asian Stud are the three card hand and the two card hand.
In order to play a qualifying hand for the three card hand, you must play a total of exactly 10, 20, or 30 points. Qualifying is important in this game, because if you aren’t able to produce a qualifying three card hand, your two card hand becomes irrelevant, and the only chance you have to win is by hoping the dealer fails to qualify as well.
When you play a qualifying three card hand, the remaining two hole cards automatically become your two card hand. For the two card hand, the best totals you can make are 20, followed by 10. For all other two digit totals, the “digit dropping” method common to baccarat is used.
Simply put, any two digit total which isn’t a 10 or a 20 automatically drops the left-most digit to produce the final value.
A 9 with a 4 should total 13, but using the baccarat system, the left most digit is always dropped, leaving an actual total of 3. If you had a 9 and a 10 in the two card hand, your actual total would be 9 after dropping the left most digit from 19.
The Dealer’s Hand
When all players left with live hands have set their three cards and two card hands, the dealer will then do the same with their own five card holding.
The dealer must also be able to form a qualifying hand of 10, 20, or 30 for their three card hand. When the dealer is able to qualify, their remaining two cards form their two card hand.
Asian Stud Payout Qualifications
The payout system in the Asian Stud table game is based on dealer qualification, as follows:
When the dealer’s three card hand doesn’t qualify, all players who chose not to fold will receive an even money payout on their Ante bet, while the Raise bet will be returned as a push.
When the dealer’s three card hand does qualify, but the player’s three card hand doesn’t qualify, the player will lose both their Ante bet and their Raise bet.
When the dealer’s three card hand does qualify, and the player’s three card hand does qualify, the winner of the hand is based on comparing two card hand values.
When the dealer’s two card hand is valued higher than the player’s two card hand, the player will lose both their Ante bet and their Raise bet.
When the dealer’s two card hand is valued identically to the player’s two card hand, both the Ante bet and Raise bet will be returned as a push.
When the dealer’s two card hand is valued lower than the player’s two card hand, the player will win even money on their Ante bet, as well as their Raise bet.
Raise Bet Payout
The Raise Bet will be paid out based on the difference between each two card hand point value, according to the following pay table:
1 through 3 points
1 to 1
4 through 6 points
2 to 1
7 through 9
3 to 1
This payout system is quite convoluted, perhaps leading to the eventual demise of Asian Stud.
Paying the Commission
Another wrinkle to keep in mind when assessing Asian Stud concerns the 5 percent commission. This rule is taken straight from Pai Gow Poker and baccarat, but Asian Stud manages to complicate it even further.
Depending on the house rules, a 5 percent commission will be charged to either winning Ante bets, winning Raise bets, or both. See the strategy section below for more information on how these various commission schemes affect your bottom line.
Bonus Side Bet Gets Paid
Finally, the game’s optional Bonus side bet is based on the poker hand value of your five hole cards. The results of the base game don’t influence the Bonus side bet, so even if you lose to the dealer with your main hand, you can still win the Bonus side bet when holding a strong five card poker hand.
Just like in Pai Gow Poker, the deck’s single joker serves as a semi-wild card for purposes of the Bonus side bet, so it can be used as an ace, or to complete a straight, a flush, a straight flush, or a royal flush.
Asian Stud Bonus Side Bet Pay Table
The most common pay table used for the Bonus Side bet can be found below, along with descriptions of the various five card poker hands you can make:
Five of a kind
(A A A A Joker)
3000 to 1
Natural Royal Flush
(A K Q J 10 suited, no Joker)
2000 to 1
Wild Royal Flush
(A K Q J 10 suited, with Joker)
1000 to 1
Natural Straight Flush
(6 7 8 9 10 suited, no Joker)
750 to 1
Wild Straight Flush
(6 7 8 9 10 suited, with Joker)
500 to 1
Four of a Kind
(K K K K 2)
100 to 1
(Q Q Q 3 3)
60 to 1
(A 10 7 3 2, all suited)
25 to 1
(3 4 5 6 7, unsuited)
10 to 1
Three of a Kind
(J J J 3 2)
4 to 1
(10 10 4 4 2)
2 to 1
Pair of Aces
(A A 9 4 2)
1 to 1
Pair of Js Ks
(K K 7 6 2)
1 to 1
Any Other Pair
(9 9 6 4 2)
(A 10 7 4 2)
No commission is charged on winning Bonus side bets.
We’ll use an example hand to help illustrate gameplay concepts more clearly, so let’s assume that we’ve placed a $5 chip on the Ante bet, along with $5 more on the Bonus side bet.
For our example hand, we’ve been dealt the Ah Kc 10s 9d 5h. If we assess this hand purely according to its point value, we hold a 1-10-10-9-5 combination. We’ll go ahead and place the Raise bet to put an additional $5 at risk.
We are lucky enough to have an exact three card combination which produces a 20 point value (Ah Kc 9d). Here, we have an ace for 1 point, a king for 10 points, and a 9 for 9 points, so (1 + 10 + 9 = 20). So, we’re left with the following hands: three card hand (Ah Kc 9d) for a 20 point total, and a two card hand (10s 5h) for a 5 point total.
The dealer shows a qualifying three card hand of (2d 3h 5c) for 10 point total and the (As 3c) for a 4 point total as their two card hand.
We played a qualifying three card hand of (Ah Kc 9d) for a 20 point total, and two card hand of (10s 5h) for a 5 point total.
The dealer played a qualifying three card hand (2d 3h 5c) for a 10 point total, and a two card hand of (As 3c) for a 4 point total.
Both of our three card hands qualified, so they no longer matter, and now we need to compare two card hands to determine a winner. We show a 5 total, while the dealer shows a 4 total, so we’ve won this hand.
On our Ante bet of $5, the payout is even money for a $5 profit. On our Raise bet, we have a difference of 1 between our two card hand and the dealer’s (4 3 = 1), so that $5 is also paid out at even money.
If the dealer showed down a two card total of 1 under the same example, though, the difference would rise to 4 (5 – 1 = 4), so our $5 Raise bet would be paid out at 2 to 1 for a $10 profit.
Using our example hand of Ah Kc 10s 9d 5h, we hold a five card poker hand of just ace high, so our $5 wager on the Bonus side bet would be lost.
Best Places to Play Asian Stud
Unfortunately for fans of Asian Stud, the game has been relegated to the industry’s every growing list of extinct table game concepts.
Despite the clever approach of combining baccarat with Pai Gow Poker, and favorable game conditions for the player, the game simply failed to generate the consistent customer base needed to warrant further placements in brick and mortar casinos outside of Seattle.
The online poker industry also passed, and while dozens of other table games were being developed for play over the internet, Asian Stud was never licensed by a software developer or client casino.
Strategic Considerations for Asian Stud
When determining which Asian Stud table to play, sharp gamblers will quickly scan the house rules to determine how the 5 percent commission on winning bets is enforced.
House Edge + Commission
For tables which charge the 5 percent commission on:
Both the Ante and Raise bets, you’ll be up against a house edge of 3.09 percent.
The Raise bet only offer a house edge of 1.70 percent.
The Ante bet only, the house edge falls even further, all the way down to 0.99 percent.
This isn’t all that bad within the realm of table games, but when you can find Asian Poker games which charge the commission on a single bet only, the house edge against you drops dramatically.
Clearly, the best strategy for table selection in this game is to hunt for Ante bet only commissions first, followed by Raise bet only. Playing the game with a commission on both the Ante and Raise bets is simply a losing proposition over the long run when compared to the alternative.
Fold or Raise Decisions
When it comes to the game’s basic betting decision – to Fold or to Raise – a mathematical analysis of Asian Stud conducted by Michael Shackleford is quite revealing.
According to Shackleford’s findings, even when you hold a non-qualifying hand, the overall expected loss when making the Raise bet stands at 0.99 percent. Of course, when you fold, a loss is ensured, and thus the expected loss rate is 1.00 percent.
Considering these numbers, the optimal strategy for Asian Stud is to always make the Raise bet.
This remains true no matter which type of commission charge is in effect, so just remember, go with the Raise bet every hand and you’ll be facing the most favorable odds against.
Never Wager the Optional Side Bet
When it comes to the game’s optional side bet, Asian Stud players should never make this wager, as it carries an obscenely high house edge rate of 14.42 percent.