Bill Boyd, who came from a poor family in Arkansas some 80 years ago, was reckoned in his day to be the best five card stud player in the whole of America. "I'd rather catch frost on my winter peaches than play stud with Bill Boyd," was Amarillo S lim's tribute. Bill still takes his seat with the hard cases at Binion's Horseshoe in Las Vegas.

Five card stud is a strong and simple bluffing game, one card in the hole and one face up, followed by three more cards with a bet after each:

(x) x bet, x bet, x bet, x bet.

Here is one of Bill Boyd's coups - a tale of revenge well-planned. He had been beaten out of $50,000 by a loud-mouthed player who made a lucky out-draw, and who then left the big game to brag about his prowess at a lower level. One night Bill followed him down and the following hand developed.

Braggart: (x) Q 4 4 10

Bill: (x) 9 3 3 Q

At the opening, the queen bet $70 and Bill raised $200 on his 9. The others passed. On the third card, Mr Showoff was quite sure he was best hand, whether Bill had paired his 9s or had an ace in the hole, and bet $500. Bill made it $1,000. His opponent merely called. (Of course, he should have raised the roof, to win the pot then and there.)

On the fourth card, Showoff, feeling confident, bet $2,000. Bill called and raised $6,000. Naturally the man had to see. And on the last card Bill bet the pot, all $18,600 worth.

The man called for what he had left, $16,100. You guessed it: Bill had a 3 in the hole. His opponent who had queens wired simply could not believe Bill would have started out on a (3) 9. The total value of the pot was $50,800. Bill tipped the dealer $800and said: "That makes me evens."

If you ever want to tap a tight player, you can sacrifice a few chips to set up this sort of trap. It will only work in a low ante game with a lot of money on the table.

Luckily for Bill Boyd's friends and opponents, five card stud is not played much these days, having been overtaken by the more dynamic Texas Hold 'em.