Also known sometimes as Canadian Stud or Scandinavian Stud, Sökö is a variation of Five-Card Stud that’s especially popular in Finland. As in Five-Card Stud, the objective in Sökö is to create the best five-card hand.
Sökö Card Ranking
Sökö introduces the following twists to the traditional Five-Card Stud hand ranking:
- a four-card straight, consisting of four cards of any suit ranked in sequence and a fifth card that doesn’t extend the sequence, ranks above one pair
- a four-card flush, consisting of four cards of the same suit and a fifth card in another suit, ranks above a four-card straight
In Sökö, each player posts an “ante”, or “buy-in” of an agreed value, before any cards are dealt.
As in most other poker games, the dealer always deals first to the player on the left, and play proceeds clockwise around the table.
A single face-down card, followed by a face-up card known as the “door card”, is dealt to each player. The player with the lowest-ranked exposed card then initiates a betting round by placing a “bring-in” bet. If two players hold door cards of the same rank, the suit of the cards determines which is ranked lowest. Suits are ranked alphabetically, from highest to lowest – first spades, then hearts, then diamonds, and finally clubs.
Sökö: Third Street
After the opening betting round, each player is dealt one face-up card, known as “Third Street.” A round of betting starts with the player holding the highest two-card value. This player can choose either to bet or check to the next player.
Subsequent players can choose to bet, fold, check or “check-raise”. In a check-raise, a player who checks raises a subsequent bet made by another player.
In a fixed limit game, any player who’s holding an exposed pair on Third Street can choose to bet the higher betting amount, normally reserved until after a fourth card is dealt to each player. Even if this player opts to bet the lower fixed value, any subsequent player can then raise to the higher limit. After anyone makes a higher limit bet, all other players are required to make raises at this level.
Sökö: Fourth Street
A fourth, face-up card is dealt to each player. Betting is initiated by the player with the highest-ranked exposed three cards.
From Fourth Street on, all bets and raises must be at the higher agreed betting limit in a fixed-limit game.
Sökö: Fifth Street
A fifth and final face-up card is dealt to each player, and betting is initiated by the player with the highest four-card value. Provided more than one player remains in the game, a showdown occurs in which the players show their hands.
Typically, whichever player initiated the last bet, raise or re-raise must show his or her hand first. If all players but one have folded, the remaining player wins by default and isn’t obliged to reveal their hand.
If two players are holding the same best-ranking hand, the pot may be split between these players.
It is theoretically possible that two or more Sökö players can hold the best five-card hand. If there is a tie between two or more players, then the dealer will "split" the pot equally between all the winning players.