Poker Home Games: Cyclone

July 26, 2009

I enjoy a good night of serious, skill-heavy poker the same as any gambling enthusiast out there. However, there are also those nights when you want to get together with your friends and just kick back and play some cards. You’re more than likely going to drink some alcohol, have a sports game on television and/or music playing on a stereo, too. Point being, your concentration will not be on the finer points of the game most of the time.

In these situations my favorite games to play are ones that are fun, outside the box, with crazy rules you know somebody made up when they were drunk in the same situation. You don’t have to take yourself too seriously as a player, and you can get in and out for less than $50. That’s a good night.

Here’s one such game that I recently learned. Its main rule is absolutely ludicrous, but when you’re bored with your regular rotation of games, you’re always willing to give a new one a try. One thing I do like about this one is the potential for a different number of cards to be “in play” on any different hand, and I’ll explain now with the rules to a game called Cyclone.

There are actually two different variations to this, one that plays more like Texas Hold ‘Em, and one that plays more like Omaha.

  • Each player is dealt two hidden cards (or four for the Omaha variation). NOTE: I’d keep the number of players in this game to between 6-8. As with many of these “off beat” games, if you have too few, you get no pots at all, and even in a fun game, that’s just no fun.

  • Once all players have their cards, there is an initial round of betting.

  • 10 cards are now taken from the deck and stacked tightly in the dealer’s hand. The dealer then holds them face up, and flips them around onto the table in a whirlwind motion (mimicking that of…you got it…a cyclone!)

  • Here’s the rules for play: Any card that has it’s corner area more than half exposed (the number and suit symbol), and is still touching the other cards (and, obviously, it has to still be face up) is fair game to use as a community card in combination with your down cards.

  • Final round of betting and reveal.

NOTE: It is usually the dealer’s call as to whether a card qualifies as “in.” And this is definitely the type of game you’ll want to consider whether the dealer can play a hand of his own. If you can trust each other, more power to you, but it’s something that should decided before the hand is dealt.

NOTE: If you’re playing the Omaha variation, you can still only use two cards from you hand, but the options open up depending on how many cards from the cyclone qualify to be used as community.