Poker Home Games: Pass The Trash

February 24, 2008

I can’t believe I’ve forgotten about this game up till now. It’s a relic from my college years (at least that’s where I learned it), but remains one of my favorite “break up the poker action” games to play – next to hearts, of course. As you may have guessed from that last sentence, this game isn’t really associated with any type of poker-related rules other than it’s based on a high/low card system.

The best part about pass the trash? It’s a sure fire way to absolutely piss off anyone sitting next to you, which more than likely will happen multiple times over the course of the game.

Now, for me, unlike traditional poker where I prefer a smaller crowd of 4-6 people max, the more you have for pass the trash the better.

Here’s how the game works if you’re not familiar.

The object, plain and simple, is not to be stuck with the lowest card at the table for any given round.

1.) Everyone places 4 of the same monetary denomination on front of them, spread out so that there are 4 distinct piles. These can be chips, they can be dollar bills….you can have these be worth a quarter or 20 bucks a piece…completely up to you.

2.) Everyone is dealt 1 card, face down.

3.) Rotating from the left, each player looks a their card and makes the decision on whether to keep their card or pass it to the person to their left. If the player chooses to pass, the person to their left is forced to give up his card in the exchange.

** Note ** If a player is holding an Ace (or King if you play Aces as low), then that serves as a block, and he does not have to trade cards when requested. Only the Ace can be a block.

4.) The person deciding whether to pass just says “pass” or “keep.”

5.) The same decision goes to the next player, and then the next, until we come to the end of the table.

6.) The last person has the option of keeping the card he has or was passed, or exchanging it for the top card off the deck.

7.) When the round is complete, everyone flips up their cards, and the lowest card must push one of his money stacks into the middle.

** Note ** If two people both have the lowest card, they both must put in a money stack.

8.) The cards from the previous round are discarded, not put back into the deck, and the remaining cards are dealt out again, rotating 1 spot to the right. The person who decides first this time also rotates 1 spot to the right.

9.) The game continues until there is only 1 person remaining with any money stacks, and he clears the pot in the middle.

** Ride the Bus note *** The first person to have to put all of his money stacks in the middle has the option of “riding the bus”, which is buying into the game for 1 more stack of money. Only the first person to lose all his stacks gets this option. If he passes, nobody gets to ride the bus…and certainly nobody gets to ride the short bus, as much as you may want to.

Can’t say there’s a whole lot of strategy to this one. It’s more gut feelings and trying to remember what was discarded from previous hands. I also can’t think of a reason not to ride the bus, unless you lost the first 4 hands and everyone else is sitting with full stacks of money…then I could see it being pointless to buy in again, even if it gives you another chance. However, you really never know, because there have been times I’ve seen someone ride the bus, ride it smoothly through 16 more hands and win the money in the middle.

So, as I said, not much of a traditional poker game like the games on DoylesRoom, but a fun money game and a good change from poker if you’re looking for something like that