Poker Home Games – Baseball

October 12, 2007

I can’t believe I’ve gotten through so many home games without do a full rundown of one of the greatest pot-building, home games of all time…THE baseball. It’s probably because most people already know baseball, at least some form of it. But there are many different variations that our poker groups have come up with over the years, some actually quite intelligent, but most pretty ridiculous (although creative to say the least).

For this blog, I’ll run down the rules of traditional baseball, and then go through some of the tweaks and variations. Then next week, look for a long, all-inclusive list of the different baseball games that are out there (and feel free to submit some of your own!).

Batter up.

1.) The base of the game is the same as seven-card stud. And betting, for the most part, follows the same pattern.

2.) Right off the bat (get it? I know, it’s lame)…there are some wild cards to keep in mind. 3’s and 9’s are wild. Open, hidden, doesn’t matter.

3.) 4’s also play a key element in baseball. If you are dealt a 4 face up, you have the option of buying an extra card for a predetermined price. Usually it’s the cost of the ante. Some games force you to turn this up, some allow you to keep it face down…and, of course, some give you the option (although I can’t see any benefit to leaving the card face up.)

Those are the basic rules. One suggestion, if you don’t have at least a full house in baseball, odds are you aren’t going to win the hand, so bet accordingly.

Now for a few tweaks.

* This isn’t the case in one poker group that I play in, but it is in another. Personally, I like the game better with this rule because it builds the pots up more.

If you are dealt a 3 face up, you have the choice of matching the current value of the pot or folding your hand. This isn’t that much of a big deal if your first up card is a 3, but if one of these suckers shows on sixth street, then you have a true dilemna on your hands, especially if you’re holding some decent cards.

* In rare instances, and if you’re feeling like gambling, you can make the 9 of spades a double-match or fold option.

Baseball to me is much like playing kickball when you’re a kid. It’s simple, doesn’t take a lot of skill, but it’s fun and you keep coming back to it, although you can’t nail your friends in the nuts with your poker chips as easily as you could with that big maroon kickball.  Gamble on baseball at today.

On the next blog we’ll take a look at some larger variations to this, but still within the baseball family, including midnight, double-hand and criss-cross baseball.