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Archive for the ‘GAMES PEOPLE PLAY’ Category

Thirty-Three

I came up with this game in November of this year.  From its outset, it has gotten lots of action.  Not only am I dealing it, but as many as four other players are dealing it as well. It plays well with up to nine players.

It is simple to deal; simple to play!

Each player receives three cards face-down. Three common cards, face-up, are then placed in the center of the table.                                                   
Players may use  ONE of the three (A, B, or C) cards along with their three hole-cards.
There is a round of betting.
Each player then receives one card face-up. Players may use their three hole cards and their face-up card with ONE of the three (A, B, or C) cards.
There is a round of betting.
Each player then receives another card face-up. Players may use their three hole cards and their two face-up cards with ONE of the three (A, B, or C) cards.
There is a round of betting.
Then a final common card  D is placed face-up on the board.
The board now shows A    C  
                                                     D
Players may use their three hole cards and their two face-up cards with D   plus ONE of the three (A, B, or C) cards.
There is a final round of betting.
 
This is a non-declare game.  However, there are conditions required to qualify for a winning hand.
Conditions: Two-pair-or-better for high hand splits the pot with best  low hand (any low can win). (If  no player has two pair or better, best low hand takes entire pot.)
 
Players may use one A  B or C card for high hand and another (or the same) card for low hand.
 
Basically each player has five of his or her own cards (three,  face-down; two, face-up), one common card, D, plus either A, B, or C — making a seven-card hand. Best five-card hands (of seven-cards available)  win. It is not a requirement that players must use common cards.
GAME: Thirty-Three
RANKING: Seven ÅÅÅÅÅÅÅ
 

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Lots of action here!  Plays well with up to nine players. This is a hi-lo, 8-or-better, non-declare game.  This game was a mainstay of the Wednesday night game, in which I play, long before I joined the game. 

Process:
Since there are only three betting rounds, (optional) I suggest each player ante.
Each player receives three cards face-down; one card face-up.  There is a round of betting.
Three community cards are then turned face-up in the center of the table. There is a round of betting.
Each player is then entitled to receive one additional face-down card.  If player wants to discard one of his or her cards, player may receive a second card.  Player will receive an up-card, if an up-card is being replaced, or a down -card, if a down-card is being replaced.  Either way, each remaining player has four down-cards and one up-card.
There is a final round of betting.
Using your five card individual hand plus three common cards (eight cards in all), form your best five-card hand.
Best high hand splits the pot with best low hand.
GAME: Draw to Five
RANKING: Seven ÅÅÅÅÅÅÅ

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This game is really an “old reliable.”  It was around long before I joined the Wednesday night game. The game plays best with six, seven, or eight players.  We play with nine sometimes, occasionally using some previously mucked cards. When we are short a full table of players, I deal FIVE TWO, DRAW TWO often.  Since we usually have nine or ten players, the game does not get enough play.  However, when dealt, it gets plenty of action.  Since there are not many betting rounds, I suggest that each player ante–but that depends on your house rules.

The game is played non-declare, hi-lo, eight or better.

Process:
Each player receives five cards, face down. There is a round of betting.
Two common cards are then turned face-up in the center of the table.  There is a round of betting.
Then, each player gets an opportunity to play his/her five cards or to replace one or two cards. There is a final round of betting.
Using your five card individual hand plus both common cards (seven cards in all), form your best five-card hand.
Best high hand splits pot with best low hand.
GAME: Five Two, Draw Two
RANKING: Seven ÅÅÅÅÅÅÅ

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TIC TAC DOUGH

Recently, a friend of mine lent me a book entitled “New Poker Games” by Mike Caro.  Since this book was originally published in 1984, the word new is now probably irrelevant.  Nonetheless, most of the games in the book were new to me.  A few of the games looked quite challenging, but I have yet to suggest any of these games to fellow players in any of the home games in which I play.

The game I found most intriguing was a game Mike Caro called Tic Tac Hold ’em.  Like Hold ’em, it can be played with many participants.  Mike Caro rates this game as complexity, “medium to great;” luck factor, “medium.”

In Tic Tac Hold ’em, each player is dealt two face-down cards as in Hold ’em. Then nine common cards are placed  in the center of the table:

                                            C    D    E
                                            A    I   B
                                           F   G   H
Cards A and B are face-up; the others, face-down.  There is an initial round of betting.
Then, cards C D E are turned face-up. There is another round of betting.
Then, cards F G H are turned face-up. There is another round of betting.
Then, card I is turned face-up. There is a final round of betting.
Players may use the two cards from their hand with any of the following combination of cards (Think of Tic Tac Toe.):  Any three in a row, in a column, or diagonally.  That’s it–like Hold ’em with many more variables.

Every so often, one of our poker-playing group hosts an evening of $1-$2, No-Limit Hold ’em.  He gets more than 25 players and manages a very professional three-table tournament.   As losers drop out, they form a cash game.  Other than that, Hold ’em gets little or no action in our home poker games.  I have not (as yet)introduced Tic Tac Hold ’em.  So, I decided to experiment with the Tic Tac Hold ’em concept and developed Tic Tac Dough, an Omaha hi-lo (with a little twist) version.

Tic Tac Dough 

Process:
Each player receives four cards, face-down. Then nine common cards are placed in the center of the table:

                                            C    D    E
                                            A    I   B
                                           F   G   H
Cards A and B are face-up; the others, face-down.  There is an initial round of betting.
Then, cards C D E are turned face-up. There is another round of betting.
Then, cards F G H are turned face-up. There is another round of betting.
Then, card I is turned face-up. There is a final round of betting.
Players must use only two cards (of their four) from their hand with any of the following combination of cards (Think of Tic Tac Toe.):  Any three in a row, in a column, or diagonally.  Best five-card, high-hand splits with best five-card, 8-or-better  low-hand. 
Now, for the twist!  Though two cards from player’s hand may and must be always used for the high hand, there is a possibility for player to use three cards from his/her hand for low.  If there is no possible 8-or-better low-hand combination to be formed by using two cards in player’s hand and three cards on the table, then, player may use three cards in his/her hand and two cards in a row, in a column, or diagonally.  Of course, if there are not two or three low cards in a row, column, or a diagonal; then, there is no low hand possible.
Though the game gets plenty of action, it has not gained much popularity.
GAME: TIC TAC DOUGH
RANKING: Five ÅÅÅÅÅ

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FIVE-TWO-C

It was a simple game.  Probably still is. We just don’t play it anymore.  This game was in effect long before I joined the on-going Thursday night game, that was the first weekly poker game I became part of since moving to Massachusetts in 1970. FIVE-TWO-C was the mainstay of the game. Each hand seemed to take an eternity to play, since, after all cards were dealt and replacement cards were distributed, there was a declaration round followed by yet  another round of betting.  How long it took to play each hand was secondary to the yucks and camaraderie of this game in its earlier years.  There was an interesting mix of players. A few were excellent; the majority just there to have a great night with the boys. No wonder we didn’t care about how long it took to play a hand, game had no definite quitting time–going sometimes past 4:00 A. M.

FIVE-TWO-C is basically a five-card stud game with a common and two replaces after all cards have been dealt. [Hence, five (cards dealt to each player), two (replacement cards), and a common (community card).] It is a declare game as well, increasing the chances that there could be an additional round of betting after the declare.

Process:
Each player receives one card down and one card up.  There is a round of betting.
Each player then receives another card face-up. There is another round of betting.
Then, there is a common card. There is another round of betting.
Each player then receives a card face-up. There is another round of betting.
Each player then receives a face-down, fifth card of his/her own. There is another round of betting.
Then, each player has the opportunity to exchange a card for a new one. There is another betting round.
There is then another opportunity to replace a card.  There is another round of betting.
Then there is a declaration round.  Best high hand splits pot with best low hand.
There are seven rounds of betting before declaration. Game generates large pots, especially if players must pay for their replacement cards.
GAME: FIVE-TWO-C
RANKING: Six ÅÅÅÅÅÅ

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 Criss Cross Variants
 Actually, Criss-Cross is definitively defined as a bona fide Poker game. However, in all its listings, it is defined distinctly as a high-only game using wild cards–usually, the center card (E), being the determining factor. Sometimes, any card matching that card is also wild. In some games in which I used to play, the low card in the hole (and all like it) was (were) wild. However, since I have not played in any wild-card games for over fifteen years, I am not referencing them here.
 
In Criss-Cross games, each player may use his/her own cards plus A E C or his/her own cards plus B E D. In Hi-Lo games, one may use one direction for high and another for low. In addition, one may combine cards in the same direction for both high and low. Specifically, players may only use three cards that are directly related, using either the horizontal row or the vertical row. Players may opt to use some or none of the common cards. Vertical-only cards may not be combined with horizontal-only cards.
 
 
 
 
Back in New York in the 1960’s we used to play a Poker game we called Fiery Cross. It was a declare game with lots of action.

Each player receives two cards face-down, one card face-up.

Five common cards, in the shape of a cross, are placed face-down in the center of the table.

                                                                       A

                                                         B           E             D

                                                                       C

There is a round of betting before any common cards are revealed.

Then, A and B are revealed. There is a round of betting.

C and D are then revealed. There is another round of betting.

Then E is revealed. There is another round of betting.

Then each remaining player receives a card face-up.

There is a round of betting.

Finally, each remaining player receives a final card, face-down.

There is a final round of betting.

Then, there is a declare.

Though this game was popular then, it has since lost popularity. I have tried to get it going a few times, to no avail. There are just too many rounds of betting and too little to work with, up front. So, though in the 60’s this game was probably a SIX, now I would have to rate it a FOUR.

GAME: Fiery Cross
RANKING: Four ÅÅÅÅ

________________________________________________________________________

Though my introduction of Fiery Cross led to hardly any acceptance, my introduction of Criss Cross, in other various forms, has taken hold as a Hi-Lo, 8-or-better, lay-down game.

Criss-Cross Get

Process:

Each player is dealt three cards face-down and one card face-up.

Five common cards, in the shape of a cross, are placed in the center of the table.

                                                                      A

                                                         B           E             D

                                                                       C

In Criss-Cross Get, A B C and D are dealt face-down; E is face-up.

There is a round of betting.

Then, A B C and D are turned face-up, revealing all five common cards.

There is a second round of betting.

Then, each remaining player gets two more cards before there is the final round of betting.

The first card is dealt face-down; the second, face-up.

The final round of betting occurs. Hands are shown. Best high hand splits pot with best qualifying low hand.

Since there are only three betting rounds, this game works best with each player paying an ante.

GAME: Criss-Cross Get
RANKING: Seven ÅÅÅÅÅÅÅ

This game and the two following are perfect for seven or eight players. With eight players, if all were in all the way to the end (which is not likely),  instead of each player receiving a second card face-up, utilize a sixth common card that plays like E. Believe it or not, we play these Criss-Cross games with nine players and do not often have to use a sixth common card.

________________________________________________________________________

Criss-Cross Standard

Process:

Each player is dealt three cards face-down and one card face-up.

Five common cards, in the shape of a cross, are placed in the center of the table.

                                                                  A
                                                      B          E         D
                                                                  C

Cards A and B are face-up, the others are placed face-down. There is a round of betting.

Cards C and D are revealed. There is a round of betting.

Card E is now revealed. There is a round of betting.

Each remaining player now receives a card, face-up.

There is round of betting. Each remaining player now receives a final card, face-down.

The final round of betting occurs. Hands are shown. Best high hand splits pot with best qualifying low hand.

GAME: Criss-Cross Standard
RANKING: Seven ÅÅÅÅÅÅÅ

Alternate: Reveal card E first, then A and B, then C and D.

_______________________________________________________________________

Criss-Cross Medium Way

Process:

Each player is dealt three cards face-down and one card face-up.

Five common cards, in the shape of a cross, are placed in the center of the table.

                                                                  A

                                                        B       E       D

                                                                 C

In this version of Criss-Cross, cards A B C and D are face-down; E is face-up.

There is a round of betting. Then, the remaining four common cards, A B C and D, are all revealed at once. There is a round of betting.

Each remaining player then receives a card, face-up. There is a round of betting.

Each remaining player then receives a final card, face-down. The final round of betting occurs. Hands are shown. Best high hand splits pot with best qualifying low hand.

GAME: Criss-Cross Medium Way
RANKING: Seven ÅÅÅÅÅÅÅ

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Hats and Bombs

The same player who brought the games Splits and Tits to our weekly games, came across this game (maybe patent-pending?) while trying to patent one of his games.  Though all of us have probably played games similar to this, this one is unique.  However, like other games of this ilk, it is almost impossible to have a made-hand until the final cards are revealed.  So, in many ways, it is a sucker’s game; then, again, aren’t we all suckers–at times.  One advantage of this game is that it can be played by up to ten players. There are always suggestions for other names for this game, but the official name, we were told, is Hats and Bombs.

Here is Hats and Bombs.

Process:

Each player receives four cards face-down.  As in Omaha, player must use only two cards of the four.
There is a round of betting.
Nine community cards are then placed in the center of the table. Cards are arranged in three sets of three cards and turned face-up.
                                                                 AAA    BBB    CCC    (The Hats)  
There is a round of betting.
Three community cards are then placed face-up, below the nine cards.
                                                                    D          E          F     (The Bombs)
There is a final round of betting. 
By using two cards in your hand, plus two  of the three cards from either A or B or C plus one card from D or E or F, you form your best five-card Poker hand. Note, you may not combine any cards from A with any cards from B or C, etc.  You must use only two A cards or two B cards or two C cards with any one of the three D, E, or F cards. As an example, your hand could consist of two of your original four cards, plus any two C cards plus the D card. You may use one such combination for high and another such combination for low, or, in some rare instances, the same combination for both.
That’s it.  Best high poker hand and best low (8 or better) hand split pot.
GAME: Hats and Bombs
RANKING: Six ÅÅÅÅÅÅ

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Quarterly, Phil has been hosting no-limit Hold ‘Em tournaments at his house for the last three years. He manages to squeeze  two, nine-player poker tables into his basement rec room . His tournaments are popular.  He has no trouble getting players to pony-up $300 each for participation, receiving $1,500 in tournament chips. In addition, each player pays $20 for refreshment and tourney management. Phil does not play. When tourney gets down to three or four players, Phil usually deals. As players are eliminated, they wait for others to join them, so they can start a cash game when one table frees-up. Phil has a yappy, five-year old Beagle he purposely named Ranch,  just so that every-so-often, when he is in a game at his house and has a great hand,  he can jokingly use the expression, “I bet the Ranch” and call his dog to the table.

The payouts are 1st place, $2,700 ; 2nd, $1,350;  3rd,  $900 ; 4th, $450. The tourney table is down to three players:   Tim, the small blind, in the 1 seat with $10,240;  Don, the big blind, in the 5 seat  with $10,880; and Ray in the 6 seat with $2,880.   Ranch is yapping as two parting players leave and slam the door. Phil is mediating a  ruckus going on at the cash game. Seth, who finished 4th, sits-in to deal the tourney for Phil. Seth makes an aside statement to Tim, that with the blinds still being so low and with two players having the bulk of chips almost evenly distributed between them combined with the constant bickering at the cash game, he could be stuck dealing for a long time. To Seth, Tim responds, “If I go all-in most of the time, it might speed things up.”  Hearing Tim say, “All-in,” Don says, “I call.” Ray folds, mucking his cards.

Tim says that he did not go all-in and that he was just chatting with Seth. Seth, who heard most of what Tim said to him, agreed.  Don insisted that since the action was to Tim, Tim was bound by his commitment. Furthermore, Ray also thought he heard Tim say that he was all-in.

For sure, at any casino cardroom, with the action on Tim, his statement–intentional or unintentional– would be construed as a commitment. Players at casinos are bound by actions. Players could say things like, “I think I’ll go all-in…” and a few seconds later “…but not now.” Players could test reactions of other players.  That being said, Phil needs to make a decision. This is a house game and house guidelines, whatever they are, need to be in effect.  For sure, if there were only two players left, Phil’s decision would be simpler. However, the decision also drastically effects Ray.

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At a casino cardroom,  the game is No Limit Hold ‘Em. It is head-to-head action.  The river card, a four, has just been shown. The board shows king, five, jack, queen, four. The action is to Fred  in seat 2.  Will is in seat 9.  Fred says “I’m all-in.” Fred concentrates on pushing-in all his $340 in $5-chips.  Hearing Will say “me too,”  Fred exposes his king-queen hand, revealing the top two pair, kings and queens. Will (holding king-jack) sees Fred expose his king-queen and just sits there, making no action. Fred waits. Ginny, in seat 8, gets up from the table. Will is about to muck his cards. The dealer instructs Will, who has about $600 in chips in front of him, to match the $340. Will insists that he was about to get up and join Ginny for a cigarette. Will claims he was saying “me too” to Ginny, who, he claims, said to him, “I’m going out for a smoke.” WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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Super Spit

I created it on the fly about three weeks ago at one of the games at which I occasionally play.  The players at this game always played a game they called Spit. “Spit” is just another term for common card, also known as community card. The original game the players dealt and called Spit, per se, got plenty of action and would have received six or seven Å‘s had Super Spit not come along. In comparison, the pots that Super Spit develop are 20% or 30% larger than the Spit pots were. The game is played as a hi-lo, declare game. The game is simple to deal and fun to play.  We play the game with nine players and have not run into the need to use mucked cards, since not all players call to the final round. 

Basically, the game is a Five-Card Stud game with a common and most likely a second common card. In addition, there is a replacement card after all players have each received their own five cards.

 Process:

Initially, each player receives one card face down and one card face up (as in Five-Card Stud). After each player has received the two initial cards, one common card is placed face-up in the center of the table.  There is a round of betting.

If and when the first pair appears in any player’s face cards or with any player’s face card and initial common card, another common card will is placed in the center of the table. [If a pair happens to appear on the original flop (if the common card matches any of the players’ up-cards), the additional spit card will be opened after the initial round of betting and after the next up card is dealt to each player.] If during the course of the game, the first pair to show appears after the initial round of betting, the second spit card is opened before the betting commences for that round .  (Seeing all this in print makes all this seem much more complex than it is.) Note: There are never more than two spit cards.  Sometimes, (rarely) no pairs appear on the table, and there is only the one original spit card.  Therefore, this game is actually Five-Card Stud with two spit cards; sometimes (again, rarely), Five-Card Stud with one spit card.

To recap, each player receives one card face down; one card face up. A common card is placed in the center of the table. There is a round of betting. Each remaining player receives a second  face card.  If the original common card “paired” at least one player’s original face card, a second and final spit card appears at this time. If  the initial common card did not pair any of the players’ initial  face cards and, in fact, none of the second up-cards paired any player’s original face card or matched the original common card, a second round of betting occurs. However, if any player’s face cards “paired” (by matching original face card or matching original common card), a second and final “spit” card is turned face-up in the center of the table, and, then, the second betting round starts. The final up-card is dealt to each player. If prior to this final up-card no pair appeared, an initial pair may yet appear on this round.  If so, a the final and second spit card will appear.  Otherwise, there is no chance for a second common card.  There is a round of betting.

Each remaining player then receives a final hole-card and now has five cards in all–two down, three up. There will either be one or two common cards.  Players may use both cards (or if only one common, just the one) as part of their hands. Then, each player, in turn, has an option to replace any of his or her five cards–an up-card for an up-card or a down-card for a down-card.

After replacements have been completed, there is a round of betting. Then, there is declaration–high or low. In some games, there is a round of betting again–after the declare. Pot is split between best high hand and best low hand. If all players declared in the same direction, there may possibly be just one winner. If any player opts to “swing,” that player may possibly take the entire pot, provided his or her high and low hands are both the best hands available. If  “swing” player loses in either direction, she or he gets no part of pot. 

 

GAME: Super Spit (AKA Double Spit)
RANKING: Seven ÅÅÅÅÅÅÅ
As soon as I can figure-out how to describe this game in fewer words, I will revise this cumbersome explanation.

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