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Posts Tagged ‘Home Poker Game’

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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Make Seven

Since so many of the home games at which I play have eight, nine, and sometimes ten players, it’s nice to come up with new games that work with nine (or even ten).  When these newly introduced games gain some popularity, a sense of satisfaction is achieved.  Many players just enjoy the variety offered by new games; others, like I, relish the challenges. Many new games are proffered all the time.  Not too many stick.  Here’s one, Make Seven, I came up with in October of this year (2009).  This game is gaining in popularity.  Action is ever-improving.

Make Seven is played as a hi-lo, split game, eight-low required, cards-speak. (Game could possibly be played as a declare game.  I have never tried it.)

Process:
When played with up to nine players, each player receives five cards, face-down; with ten players, four cards. 
After all players have received their face-down cards, seven cards are placed face-down in the center of table, thusly:
        Row 1                       A  B D F
        Row 2                           C E G
Players use seven-cards from which they form their best five-card hands.
Players may use 1, 2, or 3 cards from their hand with Row 1 or 1, 2, 3, or 4 cards from their hand with Row 2. [For clarification, players may not use 4 cards in their hand and 1 card from Row 1 nor may they use all 5 cards in their hand and none from either row.]
There is a round of betting. Then cards A B and C are opened simultaneously.  
There is second round of betting. Then cards D and E are opened.
There is another round of betting. Finally, remaining cards F and G are opened.
There is a final round of betting.        
Remaining players reveal their hole cards. Best five-card high hand splits pot with best five-card low hand. It is possible to win both high and low using same row or both rows. Note: Cards from Row 1 may never be combined with cards from Row 2.         
GAME: Make Seven
RANKING: Six   ÅÅÅÅÅÅ

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HI-SEQUENCE

It seems that Omaha attracts a little older set of players than Hold ‘Em does.  Of course, at the lower limit Seven Stud games it seems all the players are on-break from a geriatric ward.

Sometime back in 1994 or 1995 , I was playing Omaha Hi-Lo at Foxwoods. One of the younger players at the table  started a conversation about a home game at which he plays. This game, which he called *Sequence,  is not dealer’s choice nor strictly Hold ‘Em nor Omaha. Neither is this game hi-lo.

As far as he knew, the game had been in existence for at least fifteen years before he joined it. *Sequence is a split game: Best high hand splits the pot with best sequence hand. I was fascinated with the prospect of playing this game and introducing it at a Thursday night game in Newton, MA at which I had been playing since sometime in the 1970’s.  This Thursday night game was always at the same place, hosted by a fellow player and his wife, an extraordinary cook, who plied us with scrumptious food.  She  always seemed to know whose birthday it was and managed to prepare the birthday-boy’s favorite dish. The group was composed of a nucleus of five.  The balance were transients who stayed as part of the group for anywhere from one week to a few years. At another time I will probably elaborate on this long, on-going game, since defunct and now in its new propagation at my house. 

In due respect to what I call Hi-Sequence, it differs from Sequence as defined on various poker web sites. *Sequence as it appears on various web sites is defined as a wild-card game.  I have defined that game below the sequence game I was taught which contains no wild cards.

Hi-Sequence

First, let’s define what I refer to as sequence.
The lowest possible sequence would be two cards: Ace-deuce of clubs, followed by ace-deuce of diamonds, etc. Therefore, the highest possible sequence would be ten-jack-queen-king-ace–all in spades. Any three-card sequence beats any two-card sequence. Any four-card sequence beats any three-card sequence, etc.
Sequence must be a combination of  touching cards in the same suit. In most instances, two-card and three-card sequences win the sequence half of the pot. Unlike low portion split hands, there is no possibility of a tie-hand in sequence segment of game. If  one plays the game without a common (community) card, there is not always a sequence, and the high hand takes the entire pot. (I prefer the game without a community card.) The beauty of this game is that unlike hi-lo, one is never too sure if someone is betting or raising on a high hand or a sequence hand.
 
The game can be played declare or cards-speak (lay-down).
Process:   (May be played as a five-, six-, or seven-card game. My preference is as a six-card game.)
Each player is dealt two cards, face-down and one card face-up. There is a round of betting.
Each remaining player is then dealt another card face-up. There is another round of betting.
Each remaining player now receives another card, face-up. There is another round of betting.
Each remaining player now receives a final card, face-down. There is a final round of betting.
Supposing game is played as non-declare, players show their hands. Best high Poker hand splits with best sequence hand (assuming there is one). As a declare game, this game leaves a reasonable betting round after declaration– if players prefer another betting round—and ample opportunity to bluff a sequence, if in fact, you do not have one and opt to gamble on being the only sequence player. With let’s say a flush for high and a king-ace sequence, a player may opt to swing and win both high and sequence.
GAME: Hi-Sequence
RANKING: Four ÅÅÅÅ   (I would choose to rank it higher because it does get a lot of action. However, due to its lack of popularity, it gets a mediocre ranking.)

___________________________________________________________

*Sequence  [As defined on some Poker web sites, but not as I play it]

Sequence is a seven card stud poker game with wild cards. If at some moment during the game a two is dealt face-up to one of the players, twos become wild. If after a two has become wild, a three is dealt face-up, threes become wild and twos are not wild anymore, and so on up until the Ace. If two was never dealt face-up until the end of the game, no cards are wild, and the game is played as standard seven card stud.

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SPLITS and TITS

Splits and Tits

Though both of these games are just variations of  six-card stud and five-card stud-with-a-common , they are unique enough to have garnered major popularity at three of the home-card games I frequent from time-to-time.  Of the two games, Splits and Tits, Tits is the one that has become the mainstay.

Both of these games were introduced by an astute card player, who has a studied command of poker. As I understand, he has applied for a patent for Fifty-Two Splits, which is what he calls Tits.  The players all refer to the game as Tits because it was a cute take-off on splits, the original game that was introduced to us. Splits and Tits are unique because of their card hierarchy and hi-lo aspects . 

Hierarchy:  ( •A take-off on Canadian Stud)
Straight flush
Four of a kind
Full house
Five-card flush
Five-card straight
Four-card straight flush
Three-of-a-kind
Two-pair
 •Four-card flush
•Four-card straight
Pair
High card

 Now for the other aspect, the one that gives these games that extra Åction factor: After all betting is completed, the best high hand and the best low hand split the pot. Note, there are no requirements for winning low–no declare, no eight low. In some instances, a pair or more might be low winner. Since there are low-hand players and high-hand players betting, and  sometimes straights and flushes win both ways (the high and the low),the pots bespeak the Åction.

The added benefit of Tits, it works well even with ten-players!

_______________________________________________________________________________
SPLITS
Process
Each player receives three cards, two face down (hole cards), the third face up.
There is a round of betting. Each player then receives another card, face up.
There is another round of betting. Each player then receives another card, face up.
There is another round of betting. Then, each player receives a final card, this one, face down.
There is a final round of betting.  Players show their hole cards.
Best high hand and best low hand split the pot.
 
GAME: Splits
RANKING: *Five ÅÅÅÅÅ
* Ranking would be higher if not for popularity of game of Tits.
__________________________________________________________________________________
 TITS
Process
Each player receives three cards, two face down (hole cards), the third face up.
There is a round of betting. Next, two common cards are then placed face up in center of table.
There is another round of betting. Each player then receives another card, face up.
There is another round of betting. Then, each player receives a final card, this one, face down.
There is a final round of betting.  Players show their hole cards.
By combining the best combination of their five cards and one or the other of the common cards, the players form their best five-card hand.  Players have the option of using one of the common cards for high hand; the other, for low hand. Note: Players may use one common card or the other common card, but not both common cards together in any one high or low hand. Players have the option, as well, to use neither of the common cards.
Best high hand and best low hand split the pot.
 
GAME: Tits
RANKING: Seven ÅÅÅÅÅÅÅ
___________________________________________________________________________________

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THE HENNY’s

Henny. The name stems from Henny Youngman, King of One-Liners like: “I take my wife everywhere, but she keeps finding her way back.” ” If you’re going to do something tonight that you’ll be sorry for tomorrow morning, sleep late.” ” I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up because they have no holidays.”  

I was first introduced to Henny in about 2005 when I was invited to play in a weekly, Wednesday night poker game in Wellesley, MA. I knew only the one person that invited me. That night I was introduced to a few new games, one of which was Henny–as in a one-liner, five cards in one line as  laid out in Hold ‘Em and Omaha. More important to me than the new games played, was the camaraderie of this warm, friendly group of men playing there.  Ever since this night, many of these Wednesday night poker players have remained as important parts of my life.  

Henny [Now referred to as Single Henny (redundant, yet self-explanatory) or as R O H (Regular Ole Henny)]  

Process
Each player receives five cards, face down.
In the center of the table, five common cards are placed face down–thusly
                       A B C  D  E
         
Game is played, Hi-Lo, 8 or better. This is a Vegas style  (meaning non-declare) game.
To achieve best possible hands, players may use any of the following options:
1-All five cards in their hand, utilizing none of the common cards.
2-Three cards in their hand with any two of the five common cards.
3-Two cards in their hand with any three of  the five common cards.
    
Players may use one option for best high hand; another option for best low hand.
It is possible, as well, to use the same option for the best of both hands.
    
There is a round of betting. Then, cards A B C are turned face up. FLOP
There is a second round of betting. Then, card D is turned face up. TURN
There is a third round of betting. Then, card E is turned face up.  RIVER
There is a final round  of betting. Hands of remaining players are then revealed.
 
GAME: Henny
RANKING: Six  ÅÅÅÅÅÅ
__________________________________________________________________________
 

Double Henny.  I came up this bastardized version of Henny soon after I joined the Wednesday night Wellesley game.   Most nights we have nine players. Henny (aka, Single Henny) works very well with nine players. One night, when we were only eight players, I introduced Double Henny.  

 
 
Process
Each player receives five cards, face down.
In the center of the table, ten common cards are placed face down in two rows of five cards–thusly
                       A B C  G I 
                       D E F  H J
Game is played, Hi-Lo, 8 or better. This is a Vegas style  (meaning non-declare) game.
To achieve best possible hands, players may use any of the following options:
1-All five cards in their hand, utilizing none of the common cards. 
2-Three cards in their hand with any two of the five common cards in any one row.
3-Two cards in their hand with any three of  the five common cards in any one row.
    
Players may use one option for best high hand; another option for best low hand.
It is possible, as well, to use the same option for the best of both hands.
    
There is a round of betting. Then, cards A B C  and DEF are turned face up. FLOP
There is a second round of betting. Then, cards G and H are turned face up. TURN
There is a third round of betting. Then, cards I and J  are turned face up. RIVER
There is a final round  of betting. Hands of remaining players are then revealed.
 
GAME: Double Henny
RANKING: Six  ÅÅÅÅÅÅ

 _________________________________________________________________________  

Henny and a Half.  The staunchest member of our Wednesday night game came up with the idea for this game, combining the variables of Henny and Double Henny. The beauty of this game is that it, like Henny, per se, can be played with nine players. Henny and a Half is probably the most popular of all the Henny’s.  

Process
Each player receives five cards, face down.
In the center of the table, seven common cards are placed face down–thusly
                       A B
          G F C
                      D E
Game is played, Hi-Lo, 8 or better. This is a Vegas style  (meaning non-declare) game.
To achieve best possible hands, players may use any of the following options:
1-All five cards in their hand, utilizing none of the board cards. 
2-Three cards in their hand with two of  the following five cards
     A  B  C  F G  or D E C F G.
3-Two cards in their hand with three of  the following five cards
     A  B  C  F G  or D E C F G.
 
Players may use one option for best high hand; another option for best low hand.
It is possible, as well, to use the same option for the best of both hands.
    
There is a round of betting. Then, cards A B C are turned face up. FLOP
There is a second round of betting. Then, cards D E F are turned face up. TURN
There is a third round of betting. Then, card G is turned face up. RIVER
There is a final round  of betting. Hands of remaining players are then revealed.
 
GAME: Henny and a Half
RANKING: Seven ÅÅÅÅÅÅÅ

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