If your regular poker buddies are starting to find the standard game of Seven Card Stud a little too repetitive, Follow the Queen can be a great way to liven things up.
Sometimes known as Follow Mary (and by a couple of other names that aren’t exactly family-friendly), this variation follows a similar format to Seven Card Stud, with the winner being the player who has the best five-card hand.
However, the introduction of wild cards adds a whole new dimension to the game that makes it a hugely entertaining addition to your regular poker night.
Below, we’ll outline exactly how to play the Follow the Queen poker card game, including the set-up, the rules, and how those all-important wild cards work.
What is Follow the Queen?
A twist on a classic, Follow the Queen is a variation of the traditional Seven Card Stud poker game. Both games follow the same format, but in this version queens and the cards which follow them become wild cards that can radically alter the course of a game.
Number of Players: 3- 7
Main objective: Collect the best five-card hand to win the game
Why we love it: With its wild-card rules in place, Follow the Queen adds a whole new level of excitement and unpredictability to traditional Seven Card Stud, making it a great way to liven things up on poker night.
Playing Follow the Queen: What You’ll Need
The good news is that you don’t need anything special to play Follow the Queen, just a regular pack of playing cards and some poker chips for betting with.
If you’re a regular poker player and you already have a poker set like this Texas Hold’em set from Fat Cat, then you’ve got everything you need to get your game underway.
How To Play Follow the Queen: Setting Up
As with most poker games, players must ante before the cards are dealt. Once all of the antes are in, the dealer gives each player a total of three cards.
The first two cards are faced down, and the third card faces up.
A betting round then begins, with the player who has the highest face-up card starting the betting.
Rules and Game Play
Once all bets are in, the dealer continues the game by dealing each player a second face-up card.
The second round of betting then occurs. During betting rounds, players can look at their face-down cards and bet according to how confident they are that they’ll finish the game with the best five-card hand.
A third face-up card is then dealt, followed by a third betting round. This continues until every player has a total of six cards, two faced down and four facing up.
The dealer then asks the player whether they want their seventh and final card face up or down.
From there, all players make their final bets and reveal their cards. Whoever has the best five-card hand wins the game and takes the pot.
How Wild Card Rules Work in Follow the Queen
If the above explanation seems a little too simple, wait until you hear about the wild card rule that can completely change the outcome of your game.
In Follow the Queen, all queens that are dealt face up become wild cards. This means that it can represent any other card. So, for example, if you have a queen and a ten, then your queen can become another ten to give you a pair.
That’s not all.
The next face-up card that is dealt directly following the queen also becomes a wild card, hence the name of the game. In this instance, all cards of the same value as that new wild card also become a wild card.
An Example of Wild Cards:
Though this whole process can seem a little complicated, it’s actually pretty simple once you see it in action.
Let’s say that it’s the second round of a game.
- Player one already has a five from the first round and then receives a queen
- Player one know has a pair of fives
- Player two receives a seven, so now all sevens in the game are wild
- Player two can use his seven with the eight dealt in the last round and now has a pair of eights.
- Player three receives a four, so the wild card doesn’t come into force.
- Player four also receives a seven, which is a wild card he can use to create a pair.
What Happens When More Than One Queen is Dealt in a Game?
There’s one exception to the above rule, which is when multiple queens are dealt in a single round.
If that happens, then the second queen turns the previous wild card back into a normal card, and the card that follows this new queen becomes a wild card.
Again, that can be a little confusing, so let’s look at an example:
- As in the previous game, player one receives a queen and player two receives a seven
- At this point in the game, queens and sevens are now wild cards
- However, Player 3 receives a queen, which means that player two’s seven is no longer a wild card
- Player four then receives a six. Since this six follows the queen, it is now the wild card.
It’s also important to mention that if the last player in the round receives a queen, then this cancels out all of the other wild cards in the game except for queens.
Frequently Asked Questions About Follow the Queen Poker
What is an Ante?
An ante is a kind of bet in which all players are forced to put an equal number of chips (or amount of money) into the pot before the game commences. This ensures that there’s a starting pot to play with as well as incentivizing each player to play their hand rather than fold, as folding will inevitably mean you lose money.
What’s the Ideal Number of Players for Follow the Queen?
Although we’ve listed it as suitable for between three and seven players, Follow the Queen is most often played by four people at a time. This is a great number to keep things interesting without the game dragging on.
Though you can play with three players, the game doesn’t really work with less than that. You could also play with up to seven players, though since each player receives seven cards (for a total of 49 cards) and there are only 52 cards in a standard deck, any more than seven isn’t going to work either.
Seven Card Stud: An Easier Alternative to Follow the Queen
If the whole wild card deal is a little too much to get to grips with, you could always forget about it altogether and revert back to the simpler game of Seven Card Stud.
This staple of home poker games follows almost exactly the same format as Follow the Queen, with players amassing a total of seven cards and aiming to land the best five-card hand.
The only difference is that it doesn’t employ wild cards and while that may strip away some of the excitement for more advanced players, for newcomers it tends to make the game both more accessible and enjoyable.
For a more interesting game like Follow the Queen, be sure to check out our guide for Sabacc rules.