Poker Home Games: Make Your Choice

April 5, 2008

Poker Home Games – Make Your Choice

I’m just reading that title and it sounds like something out of the “Saw” movies.

“Live or Die….make your choice.”

Unfortunately, the choice in this poker home game isn’t as dramatic as…say…having to saw your own foot off, but hey, playing for a few bucks can give you just as much as an adrenaline kick, right?

Anyway, here are the basics of the game. A simple but effective variation of 7-card-stud.

Game can consist of 2-8 players, but as I always advocate, 5-6 is the best. Just my preference.

1.) Each person receives two cards dealt face down.

2.) Dealer then flips a card up and gives the option to the person with the first play to take the up card or take a new card off the deck, which also will be face up in his hand.

3.) If the player does not want the card, the next card in the deck is given to that player (face up), and the face up card that the player rejected is offered to the next person in turn.

4.) If a player does take the offered face up card, a new card is flipped and the next player is offered a choice between this new face up card or a card from the deck.

5.) If dealer is playing, once it gets to his turn, he can choose the remaining up card or pass that to the discard pile and receive a new card off the top of the deck.

6.) Round of betting.

7.) Each player receives 4 total up cards, same as in 7-card stud, with the same process of receiving your up card as explained above.

*** Here’s the second unique aspect to Make Your Choice *** Any face up card that you receive that matches one of your down cards automatically makes them both wild. So if you have a six face down and you are dealt a six face-up….you’ll want to keep it.

8.) Last card dealt face down. If it’s a match to any up card, that one, too, becomes wild.

9.) Last round of betting. High hand takes all.

I really like the small but effective twists that the wilds add to this game. First, it’s more or less completely hidden. Nobody knows FOR SURE what your wild cards are…although if you keep a six and a nine, it becomes pretty obvious. Second, it adds a nice element of bluffing if you choose to go that direction – by keeping a throw-away up card instead of passing it off, you can mess with your opponents to make them think you have that as a wild card underneath.

***One last tip*** Even with bluffing, unless you’re sitting on a strong hand of a high full house or better, I wouldn’t stay in the game. Much like baseball, with wild cards all over the place (which some purists would frown upon), it does tend to skew the power of some hands.

Now all we need is a little freaky puppet riding a tricycle and we’ll be all set!

For a more down to earth game, check out the sit n go games at Full Tilt Poker.