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Below are a list of poker variations suitable for Dealer’s Choice games. We’ve tried them all and they’re a great way to change things up.

 

Halloween Themed Games can be found here.

Kings
Taps
Guts
Blackjack Poker
Go Low
Switch Blade
Colours of the Rainbow

 

Kings

Objective: Get the lowest number of points.

Each play antes to form the final pot. (No betting during the game)

Each player is dealt 5 cards face down. DO NOT look at the cards. Remaining cards are placed in a draw pile, with one card face up to start the discard pile.

Before the FIRST turn only, look at 2 cards. Memorize your cards, then place them face down again. Players will not know what the middle 3 cards are.

Each round, choose a card from the deck or discard pile to replace one of the cards in your hand. Cards are replaced blindly. Players must remember what all their cards are.

Players can ‘knock’ instead of taking a new card. This means all other players can take one last card to better their hand.

Count the number of points in your hand. Lowest total wins.

  • Aces = 11 points
  • Pair = 0 points
  • Kings = 0 points
  • Jacks and Queens = 10 points
  • All other cards face value

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Taps

Each player antes to form the initial pot.

Players will challenge each other with 2 cards, then 3, then 4, then 5 as a new card is added to their hand with each round.

Round 1: Each player is dealt 2 cards.

The first player makes a bet or says “pot” if they want to try to take the entire pot. Players can also pass, giving the right of first bet or calling “pot” to the next player.

Subsequent players have the option to fold (quit until the next series of rounds starts with 2 new cards), pass (out for this round, but retain their cards), or call the first player (match the bet and challenge).

All players who are in on the betting share hands between all players who called, secretly from the other players, and the loser(s) pay double the amount of the bet into the pot. The winner takes the amount bet out of the pot.

If the amount bet was “pot”, the winner takes everything. If they lose, they pay double the pot and the round continues.

Rounds 3, 4, 5: Add one card each round to a maximum of 5 cards, where poker hands come into effect. If there’s still money in the pot, a new set of rounds begins. When the pot is empty, the game is finished.

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Guts

Same rules as Taps, but players must beat a hand dealt in the middle to take the pot.

Eg) A player calls pot. No other players challenge. The better secretly looks at the hand in the middle. If they can beat it, they turn over the cards, take the pot, and the game is finished. If they can’t beat the middle, they pay double the size of the pot, leave the cards in the middle, and the game continues.

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Blackjack Poker

Each player is the dealer for a round.

If player and dealer draw, no bet is taken or paid (‘push’). If player has blackjack, payout is 1.5 times. (eg. If the player bets $10, payout is $15).

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Go Low

(by Joe Diederichs)

Each card or combo is worth points. The objective is to get the lowest number of points between all 5 cards.

Each player antes to make the final pot. Win the game twice to take the pot. (No betting during the game)

Each turn, players can draw from the draw deck, the discard pile, or ‘knock’, which gives the other players one last draw opportunity before the end of the game and points are counted.

Points:

Numbered cards are face value.

  • Face cards = 10 points
  • Aces are high or low (used in high or low runs), but high for points = 11 points
  • 2 of a kind = 2 points
  • 3 of a kind = 0 points
  • Run of three = 2 points
  • Run of four = 0 points
  • Four of the same suit = 3 points
  • Five of the same suit = 0 points

Eg)

7QQKA = 7 + 10 + 2 (run of three) = 19 points
8810JA = 2 (pair) + 10 + 10 + 11 = 33 points
A2347 = 7 points
6661010 = 2 points

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Switch Blade

(by Joe Diederichs)

Players ante.

Each player gets 5 cards. Deal cards into the middle, facedown, equal to the number of players. (5 players = 5 cards face down in the middle)

Each player discards one card at the same time. Player discarding the highest card gets to draw first. They choose from the face down cards. Repeat with the rest of the players until the cards in the middle are gone.

Remove all discarded face up cards. Players bet.

Repeat for 3 total rounds.

Best hand wins.

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Colours of the Rainbow

(by Joe Diederichs)

Players ante to form the final pot. (No betting during the game.)

5 card draw. 2’s wild. Three draws, maximum of 2 cards each.

Must get ALL of the following to win the game:

  • 4 card straight flush
  • 4 of a kind
  • Full house
  • Flush
  • Royal Jumble (AKQJ)

Players cannot use a hand towards more than one point. For example, a 5 card royal straight flush, 10JQKA of hearts, can be used as either 4 card straight flush, flush or Royal Jumble, but not all three.

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