Friday, April 4, 2008

Design Your Own Poker Game!

Sometimes it is fun to break out of the monotony of standard games and stretch your creative muscles by customizing poker. This exercise is limited to causal play with friends, but when possible it can be a lot of fun.

The first step to making your own game is to choose the type of poker play. The most popular choices are stud games, draw games, or community card games. From there you can decide how many cards to use and how they are distributed. All that really matters is that you keep all the players on a fair, equal playing field.

The easiest way to mix-up any game is by adding wilds. This will seemingly elevate your average hand strength, but relative to the rest of the table, winning rates should stay about the same. The most popular cards to have as wilds are aces, deuces, One-Eyed Jacks, Suicidal Kings, and of course Jokers. You can also let the game play decide what cards are wild. For example, the river card could be wild or even one card could make another card wild as in Follow the Queen games. I've played games in which entire suits were made wild. but that may have been going to far.

To keep games active, I like to have multiple betting rounds. With games that the cards are slowly made available to the players, (like hold'em with the flop, turn and river) betting rounds are nicely built-in. You may design a game where this isn't the case and the entirety of the player's hand is known at the outset. If this is the case, I add betting rounds by having players roll-out their hands. If you don't know this term, it is when you arrange your cards in the order you want to reveal them to the rest of the table and bet in between reveals. As you may have guessed, there is an extra layer of strategy involved with the roll-out.

The final step is important. Name your game. You can name it after the creator or its inspiration or anything you want. If it is a popular variation, people will want to play it again and it is no fun referring to it as "that game with the thing that Bob came up last week."

If you have come up with any fun game variants of your own, leave them in the comments! I'm always up for trying new ways to play the game of poker.


Although lottery too is a way of gambling, people prefer thinking of the national lottery is a poor man's wildest dreams come true.

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