Wednesday, March 19, 2008


SnakeThis time I'm reviewing a variant I actually do enjoy—Anaconda, specifically 3-2-1 Anaconda, aka "Screw Your Neighbor."

Anaconda belongs to the same family as Five Card Regret in my book. It involves decisions you may wish you could take back. The play proceeds as follows: Each player is dealt six cards down. You bet based on your hand. Then you pick three cards to pass to the player on your left as you receive three from your right. Betting round. Then you "pass the trash" again, this time two cards to your neighbor on the left and two from your right. Betting round. Finally, one more card is passed in the same fashion. The best five card hand wins. This game allows for eight players total, nine if you add two wild cards.

Logic says to pass your least promising cards—2s, 3s, and the like—but chances are that will be what the player to the right gives you. You'll be giving up on pairs or trips this way, hence the regret. I suggest that you hold on to weak cards in this game when the player to your right is unfamiliar with the game to avoid the heartache.

The game becomes more fun when you play with the same people and you can try to predict how your opponents will treat each other. When I pass a card, lets say a four, to my left during the first pass and the player to my right passes me another four...I'm faced with a dilemma. The regret has already set in, I've missed a chance at a pair. More than that, now I have a four again, which is useless to me, but I don't want to pass it knowing that the player to my left my still have my previous pass. Do I hold on to a useless card and pass another card which is more likely to improve my hand, or do I pass the trash and likely improve my opponent's hand? That is one of the many questions of Anaconda.


  1. I've always played Anaconda a little differently. Played with 7 cards (not 6), passes are left, right, and then across the table). And we play it Hi-Low. Which means you won't necessarily be getting predictable cards.
    Furthermore, after the passing is through, we take our five card hand, and then it is revealed one card at a time (with a bet at each reveal), and after the fourth card, you then declare if you going hi or low. Lots of action and suprise.

  2. I've heard of a few variations of Anaconda. That's another reason to love poker, there is so much customization!

    I am not a big fan of hi/low games, but I'll have to try it with the rollout at the end.