BARGEBig August Rec.Gambling Excursion

"There are no strangers here, just friends you haven't met yet"
- Peter "Foldem" Secor

Rulebook

Rulebook

1. Preface
2. The 27 Games
3. Lowball Scales
4. Sevens Rule

Preface

This document contains the rules of the 27 games used in the BARGE XXVII 27-Game Mix poker tournament. I obtained these rules from a copy of the official rule book for the XXV 25-Game Mix poker tournament played at BARGE XXV in 2015. That rule book was originally written by Patrick Milligan and Rich Bremer and is reproduced here with their permission.

Note that all 27 games are played in a limit format. The chapters are in the order that the games will be played at BARGE XXVII. Four hands of each game are played before switching, and a random game is picked as the starting point when the final table is convened.

This document also includes appendices explaining the Sevens Rule (originally written by Michael Weisenberg) and various lowball scales (written by me).

Duck Flush was added for the 2016 tournament by the 2015 XXV 25-Game Mix champion (Chris Mecklin) and Mexican Stud was added for the 2017 tournament by the 2016 XXVI 26-Game Mix champion (Chris Quan).

The 27 Games

The games are presented in the order played in the 27-game mix tournament at BARGE XVII, 2017.

Mexican Stud

Mexican Stud is similar to 5-card stud and is played with a standard 52-card deck that has been reduced to 41 cards. The 8’s, 9’s and 10’s are removed, and one joker is added to make 41 cards. A joker dealt face up is treated as a bug and can only be used as an ace or to complete a straight or flush. A joker dealt face down is a completely wild card and can assume any value to make the player’s best possible high five-card hand. This remains true even if the player subsequently turns the Joker face up and receives a new card face down during a dealing round.

Forced Money

The game is played with antes. The low card on the board by rank first and then by suit brings it in. The $$2\clubsuit$$ is the lowest possible card followed by the $$2\diamondsuit$$ , $$2\heartsuit$$ , $$2\spadesuit$$ , and so on. A face up joker is treated as an Ace for bring-in purposes.

Dealing Procedure

Starting with the player in seat one, each player is dealt one card face down then one card up. The player with the bring-in can instead complete the bet to either the small bet limit or big bet limit. If the bring-in does not complete, a subsequent player may complete the bet to either the small bet limit or big bet limit. If betting is at the small bet limit, a player may choose to raise at either the small bet limit or big bet limit. Once a bet has been made at the big limit, all further action in that round is at the big bet limit.

Before the next card is dealt, each player still in the hand has to decide whether to expose or not expose their down card. This decision must be made before the third card is dealt and in the same order-of-action as the betting.

A third card is dealt to all active players. If both of the player’s cards are up, it is dealt face down. Otherwise it is dealt face up. Action starts with the highest hand, and betting is either at the small bet limit or big bet limit, at the discretion of the first player to bet. As before, once a bet or raise is made at the big bet limit, all further action in that round is at the big bet limit.

Again, before the next card is dealt, each player still in the hand has to decide whether to expose or not expose their down card. This decision must be made before the fourth card is dealt and in the same order-of-action as the betting.

A fourth card is dealt to all active players. If all of the player’s cards are up, it is dealt face down. Otherwise it is dealt face up. Action starts with the highest hand, and betting is either at the small bet limit or big bet limit, at the discretion of the first player to bet. As before, once a bet or raise is made at the big bet limit, all further action in that round is at the big bet limit.

Again, before the final card is dealt, each player still in the hand has to decide whether to expose or not expose their down card. This decision must be made before the fifth card is dealt and in the same order-of-action as the betting.

A fifth card is dealt to all active players. If all of the player’s cards are up, it is dealt face down. Otherwise it is dealt face up. Action starts with the highest hand, and betting is either at the small bet limit or big bet limit, at the discretion of the first player to bet. As before, once a bet or raise is made at the big bet limit, all further action in that round is at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

It is required of each player that they do not alter or obfuscate the order in which they have received their cards.

At all times each active player should have one and only one card face down.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best high five-card hand wins the pot.

Because the 8’s, 9’s, and 10’s are removed from the deck, the 7’s and J’s become consecutive, so that 5-6-7-J-Q is a straight.

A five-of-a-kind is the highest hand in Mexican Stud. A flush beats a full house (since with fewer cards of each suit, they are harder to get). The standard ranking of all other poker hands are the same.

See page 18 of the 2017 World Series of Poker Official Live Action Rules: https://www.wsop.com/2017/WSOP%202017%20Live%20Action%20Rules.pdf

Bicycle Casino: http://www.thebike.com/play/poker_mexican_poker.php

NOTE: Unlike the Bike or WSOP, we are playing with the low card (rather than the high card) as the bring-in, which is similar to other high-only stud variants.

Binglaha

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt four cards face down, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Three community cards are placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

At this point a single (standard) die is rolled. If the die result is a 1, 2, or 3, the game is played high/low split eight-or-better. If the die result is 4, 5, or 6, the game is played high only. The die is traditionally rolled by the player on the button, and the die must land flush on the table having traveled at least the distance to the far side of the dealer’s box. The die must also tumble, it cannot be slid. The dealer is responsible for calling a valid or invalid roll.

One additional community card is place faced up. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

One additional community card is placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

Evaluating the Showdown

Either the best high hand and best California low hand of at least eight low or better split the pot or the best high hand scoops the pot, depending on the results of the die roll. Hands are made using exactly two cards from each player’s hand and exactly three cards from the board. Note: if there are not three unpaired cards eight or lower on the board, no low hand is possible regardless of the roll of the die. If no qualifying low hand is made, the high hand always scoops the pot.

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt four cards face down, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Each player in turn discards zero to four cards from their hand. Once all of the discards have been announced, the dealer will deal each player an appropriate number of replacement cards. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Then there is a second draw, followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

This is followed by a third draw, followed by a round of betting a the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best four-card hand using badugi rules wins the pot. A badugi hand consists of the maximum number of cards that can be played such that there is no duplication of rank or suit. Between hands of the same number of cards, the one with the lowest hand (aces count as low) shall be the best hand. 432A of four different suits is the best possible hand. KQJT of four different suits beats any three-card hand. A three-card hand of 742 beats 75A. See the appendix on Lowball Scales for more details.

Razzdugi

Forced Money

The game is played with antes. The high card on the board by rank first and then by suit brings it in. The $$K\spadesuit$$ is the highest possible card followed by the $$K\heartsuit, K\diamondsuit, K\clubsuit,$$ and so on.

Dealing Procedure

Starting with the player in seat one, each player is dealt two cards face down then one card up, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

A second up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit. Action starts with the hand showing.

A third up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

A fourth up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

A third down card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

It is required of each player that they do not alter or obfuscate the order in which they have received their up cards.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best five-card California low hand and the best (ace-to-four) badugi hand splits the pot. Note, there is no qualifier for either the razz or badugi hand. If there is no four-card badugi hand, the best three-card hand wins half the pot.

Texas Holdem

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt two cards face down, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Three community cards are placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

One additional community card is placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

One additional community card is placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best high five-card hand wins the pot.

Courchevel High Only

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt five cards face down, then one community card (called the “spit” card) is placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Two community cards are placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

One additional community card is placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

One additional community card is placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best high five-card hand wins the pot. Hands are made using exactly two cards from each player’s hand and exactly three cards from the board.

Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt five cards face down, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Each player in turn discards zero to five cards from their hand. Once all of the discards have been announced, the dealer will deal each player an appropriate number of replacement cards. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Then there is a second draw, followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

This is followed by a third draw, followed by a round of betting a the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best five-card Kansas City lowball hand wins the pot.

Razz

Forced Money

The game is played with antes. The high card on the board by rank first and then by suit brings it in. The $$K\spadesuit$$ is the highest possible card followed by the $$K\heartsuit, K\diamondsuit, K\clubsuit,$$ and so on.

Dealing Procedure

Starting with the player in seat one, each player is dealt two cards face down then one card up, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

A second up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit. Action starts with the lowest hand showing.

A third up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

A fourth up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

A third down card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

It is required of each player that they do not alter or obfuscate the order in which they have received their up cards.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best five-card California low hand wins the pot.

Oklahoma

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt four cards face down, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Three flops are dealt one above the other forming a $$3 \times 3$$ square of cards. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Three turn cards (one for each flop) are placed on the board, lined up vertically to the right of the flops (forming a $$3 \times 4$$ grid). This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

A fifth column of three additional community cards are placed face up. At this point, the board will look like the following:

$$X_1 \: X_1 \: X_1 \: Y_1 \: Z_1$$

$$X_2 \: X_2 \: X_2 \: Y_2 \: Z_2$$

$$X_3 \: X_3 \: X_3 \: Y_3 \: Z_3$$

All the $$X$$ cards are placed on the board on the flop, the $$Y$$ cards on the turn, and the $$Z$$ cards on the river.

Next, the horizontal row of cards (board) with the lowest river card by rank is removed from play. If two river cards share the same lowest rank, then both are removed. If all three river cards share the same rank, no boards are removed. (In this way, “tournament” Oklahoma differs from “cash game” Oklahoma, where all three boards are removed and the dealer wins the pot.)

For example, if $$Z_1, Z_2,$$ and $$Z_3$$ are the $$3\heartsuit, 8\spadesuit$$ and $$3\clubsuit$$ respectively, then all of the cards on both row 1 and row 3 are removed.

Board removal is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best high hand and best California low hand of at least eight low or better splits the pot. Hands are made using exactly two cards from each player’s hand and exactly three cards from one of the remaining boards. A player may use different cards for their low and high hand, and they may use different boards for their low and high hand.

Lazy Pineapple High Only

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt three cards face down, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Three community cards are placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

One additional community card is placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

One additional community card is placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best high five-card hand wins the pot. Hands are made using either zero, one, or two cards (but NOT all three) from each player’s hand and the remaining cards from the board.

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt five cards face down, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Each player in turn discards zero to five cards from their hand. Once all of the discards have been announced, the dealer will deal each player an appropriate number of replacement cards. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Then there is a second draw, followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

This is followed by a third draw, followed by a round of betting a the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best four-card hand using badugi rules wins half of the pot. The other half of the pot goes to the best Ace-to-Five lowball hand.

A badugi hand consists of the maximum number of cards that can be played such that there is no duplication of rank or suit. Between hands of the same number of cards, the one with the lowest hand (aces count as low) shall be the best hand. 432A of four different suits is the best possible hand. KQJT of four different suits beats any three-card hand. A three-card hand of 742 beats 75A. See the appendix on Lowball Scales for more details.

Stud High/Low No Qualifier

Forced Money

The game is played with antes. The high card on the board by rank first and then by suit brings it in (as in razz). The $$K\spadesuit$$ is the highest possible card followed by the $$K\heartsuit, K\diamondsuit, K\clubsuit,$$ and so on.

Dealing Procedure

Starting with the player in seat one, each player is dealt two cards face down then one card up, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

A second up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit. Note: Unlike seven card stud for high only, even if there is an open pair on fourth street, all bets on this street will always be at the small bet limit. Action starts with the lowest hand showing (as in razz).

A third up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

A fourth up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

A third down card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

It is required of each player that they do not alter or obfuscate the order in which they have received their up cards.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best high five-card hand and the best California low hand split the pot. There is no qualifier for low. NOTE: This game is also known as Stud High/Low Regular.

Four Card Chowaha Eight-or-Better

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt four cards face down, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Three flops are dealt one above the other forming a $$3 \times 3$$ square of cards. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Two turn cards are dealt vertically to the right of the flop cards from the dealer’s persepective. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

One river card is placed to the right of the turn cards. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

At the showdown, the board will look like the following:

$$X \: X \: X$$

$$\: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: Y$$

$$X \: X \: X \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: Z$$

$$\: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: Y$$

$$X \: X \: X$$

The cards labelled $$X$$ are the flop cards, the cards indicated as $$Y$$ are the turn cards, and $$Z$$ is the river card.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best high hand and best California low hand of at least eight low or better splits the pot. Each hand consists of two cards from the player’s hole cards plus the cards from one flop, one turn, and the river. These may be played in any combination EXCEPT that board cards used CANNOT consist of the top row of the flop plus the bottom turn card or the bottom row of the flop plus the top turn card. That is, the flop, turn, and river must all be contiguous cards. Each player may create their best high hand and low hand using different hold cards and/or different board cards. Also, as in Omaha, each player must use exactly two hole cards plus three cards from the board to form each portion of their hand.

California Lowball

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt five cards face down, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Each player in turn discards zero to five cards from their hand. Once all of the discards have been announced, the dealer will deal each player an appropriate number of replacement cards. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

No check and raise is allowed. The Sevens Rule is in effect (see Appendix).

Lowball is played with a joker/bug. The joker is used as the lowest non-pairing card.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best five-card California lowball hand wins the pot.

Holdem High/Low Eight-or-Better

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt two cards face down, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Three community cards are placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

One additional community card is placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

One additional community card is placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best high five-card hand and best California low hand of at least eight low or better splits the pot. If no qualifying low hand is made, the high hand scoops the pot. Note: unlike Omaha, a player may use both, one, or none of the cards in his hand to make either the high or the low.

Five Card Stud

Forced Money

The game is played with antes. The low card on the board by rank first and then by suit brings it in. The $$2\clubsuit$$ is the lowest possible card followed by the $$2\diamondsuit$$ , $$2\heartsuit, 2\spadesuit$$ , and so on.

Dealing Procedure

Starting with the player in seat one, each player is dealt one card face down then one card up, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

A second up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit. Action starts with the highest hand showing.

A third up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

A fourth up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

It is required of each player that they do not alter or obfuscate the order in which they have received their up cards.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best high five-card hand wins the pot.

Two-or-Five Omaha Eight-or-Better

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt five cards face down, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Three community cards are placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

One additional community card is placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

One additional community card is placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best high hand and best California low hand of at least eight low or better splits the pot. Hands are made using either exactly two cards from each player’s hand and exactly three cards from the board or using all five cards in each player’s hand, whichever produces the superior hand. A player may use all five cards in one direction and use only two cards in the other. If no qualifying low hand is made, the high hand scoops the pot.

Example: One player is dealt $$A\heartsuit Q\heartsuit J\heartsuit T\heartsuit 2\heartsuit$$ . The board is $$3\spadesuit 5\heartsuit 7\clubsuit K\heartsuit Q\diamondsuit$$ . The player plays the $$A\heartsuit 2\heartsuit$$ from his hand to make a 7532A low, and all five cards from his hand to make a ace-queen high flush.

Five Card Draw

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt five cards face down, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Each player in turn discards zero to five cards from their hand. Once all of the discards have been announced, the dealer will deal each player an appropriate number of replacement cards. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

There are no restrictions on what the minimum qualifying hand is to open for a raise. This is often called “Guts To Open”, as opposed to “Jacks or Better”, where the opener must have at least a pair of jacks to open.

Draw is played with a joker/bug. The joker can only be used as an ace or to complete a straight or flush.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best high five-card hand wins the pot.

Deuce-to-Seven Razz

Forced Money

The game is played with antes. The high card on the board by rank first and then by suit brings it in. The $$A\spadesuit$$ is the highest possible card followed by the $$A\heartsuit, A\diamondsuit, A\clubsuit,$$ and so on. Note: Because the game is played using Kansas City lowball rules, aces are always high, so an ace is a high card for bring-in purposes.

Dealing Procedure

Starting with the player in seat one, each player is dealt two cards face down then one card up, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

A second up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit. Action starts with the hand showing.

A third up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

A fourth up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

A third down card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

It is required of each player that they do not alter or obfuscate the order in which they have received their up cards.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best five-card Kansas City low hand wins the pot.

Chowaha

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt two cards face down, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Three flops are dealt one above the other forming a $$3 \times 3$$ square of cards. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Two turn cards are dealt vertically to the right of the flop cards from the dealer’s persepective. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

One river card is placed to the right of the turn cards. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

At the showdown, the board will look like the following:

$$X \: X \: X$$

$$\: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: Y$$

$$X \: X \: X \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: Z$$

$$\: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: \: Y$$

$$X \: X \: X$$

The cards labelled $$X$$ are the flop cards, the cards indicated as $$Y$$ are the turn cards, and $$Z$$ is the river card.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best high hand wins the pot. The high hand consists of a player’s hole cards plus the cards from one flop, one turn, and the river. These may be played in any combination EXCEPT that board cards used CANNOT consist of the top row of the flop plus the bottom turn card or the bottom row of the flop plus the top turn card. That is, the flop, turn, and river must all be contiguous cards. Also, as in Omaha, each player must use both hole cards plus three cards from the board to form each portion of their hand.

Omaha Eight-or-Better

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt four cards face down, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Three community cards are placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

One additional community card is placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

One additional community card is placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best high hand and best California low hand of at least eight low or better splits the pot. Hands are made using exactly two cards from each player’s hand and exactly three cards from the board. Note: If there are not three unpaired cards eight or lower on the board, no low hand is possible. If no qualifying low hand is made, the high hand scoops the pot.

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt five cards face down, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Each player in turn discards zero to five cards from their hand. Once all of the discards have been announced, the dealer will deal each player an appropriate number of replacement cards. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Then there is a second draw, followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

This is followed by a third draw, followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best four-card hand using modified badugi rules wins half of the pot. The other half of the pot goes to the best Deuce-to-Seven lowball hand.

In badeucy, an Ace is a high card. A badugi hand consists of the maximum number of cards that can be played such that there is no duplication of rank or suit. Between hands of the same number of cards, the one with the lowest hand shall be the best hand. 5432 of four different suits is the best possible hand. AKQJ of four different suits beats any three-card hand. A three-card hand of 743 beats 752. See the appendix on Lowball Scales for more details.

Stud Eight-or-Better

Forced Money

The game is played with antes. The low card on the board by rank first and then by suit brings it in. The $$2\clubsuit$$ is the lowest possible card followed by the $$2\diamondsuit$$ , $$2\heartsuit, 2\spadesuit$$ , and so on.

Dealing Procedure

Starting with the player in seat one, each player is dealt two cards face down then one card up, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

A second up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit. Note: Unlike seven card stud for high only, even if there is an open pair on fourth street, all bets on this street will always be at the small bet limit. Action starts with the highest hand showing.

A third up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

A fourth up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

A third down card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

It is required of each player that they do not alter or obfuscate the order in which they have received their up cards.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best high five-card hand and the best California low hand with a qualifier of eight-or-better split the pot.

Crazy Pineapple Eight-or-Better

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt three cards face down, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Three community cards are placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit. Before the next board card is revealed, all players in the hand must discard one of their cards. This is typically done by placing their discard underneath chips that are placed in the pot on the flop.

One additional community card is placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

One additional community card is placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best high five-card hand and best five-card California low hand of at least eight low or better splits the pot. Hands are made using either zero, one, or two cards from each player’s hand and the remaining cards from the board. Note: If there are not three unpaired cards eight or lower on the board, no low hand is possible. If no qualifying low hand is made, the high hand scoops the pot.

Omaha High Only

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt four cards face down, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Three community cards are placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

One additional community card is placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

One additional community card is placed face up. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best high five-card hand wins the pot. Hands are made using exactly two cards from each player’s hand and exactly three cards from the board.

Duck Flush

Forced Money

The game is played with a button and blinds.

Dealing Procedure

Each player is dealt five cards face down, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Each player in turn discards zero to five cards from their hand. Once all of the discards have been announced, the dealer will deal each player an appropriate number of replacement cards. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

Then there is a second draw, followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

This is followed by a third draw, followed by a round of betting a the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best five-card high hand wins the pot, with the restriction that the qualifying hand is a flush or better. If there are no qualifying high hands, then the best five-card Kansas City low hand wins the pot. Notice that this is NOT a split pot game.

Example: Player A makes $$A\heartsuit Q\heartsuit J\heartsuit T\heartsuit 2\heartsuit$$ and Player B makes $$K\clubsuit J\clubsuit 8\clubsuit 5\clubsuit 3\clubsuit$$ . Both players qualify for a high hand with their flushes and Player A wins the pot with a better high hand.

Example: Player A makes $$8\heartsuit 5\diamondsuit 4\clubsuit 3\spadesuit 2\diamondsuit$$ , Player B makes $$8\clubsuit 6\diamondsuit 5\spadesuit 4\heartsuit 3\clubsuit$$ , Player C makes $$7\heartsuit 6\clubsuit 5\heartsuit 4\spadesuit 3\diamondsuit$$ . Player A wins with the best Kansas City low hand. Notice Player C’s straight does not qualify as a high hand.

Seven Card Stud

Forced Money

The game is played with antes. The low card on the board by rank first and then by suit brings it in. The $$2\clubsuit$$ is the lowest possible card followed by the $$2\diamondsuit$$ , $$2\heartsuit, 2\spadesuit$$ , and so on.

Dealing Procedure

Starting with the player in seat one, each player is dealt two cards face down then one card up, followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit.

A second up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the small bet limit. If a player shows an open pair a bet or raise may optionally be a big bet. In this case a small bet can be met by a big bet raise. A big bet may never be met with a small bet raise. Action starts with the highest hand showing.

A third up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

A fourth up card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit.

A third down card is dealt to all active players. This is followed by a round of betting at the big bet limit. This is followed by a showdown.

It is required of each player that they do not alter or obfuscate the order in which they have received their up cards.

Evaluating the Showdown

The best high five-card hand wins the pot.

Lowball Scales

In this game, a badugi is defined as a four-card hand that contains no pairs and no repeated suits (i.e. rainbow ). The best hand in most badugi games is 432A rainbow. In badeucy, which is a split-pot game based on badugi and deuce-to-seven triple draw, the game is modified so that 5432 rainbow is the best badugi, in order to make a “nut-nut” hand possible in that game.

The weakest badugi hand is KQJT rainbow. It would beat any non-badugi hand. If no one makes a badugi, the best three card hand wins. The best three-card is 32A rainbow. If two players have the same three-card, the fourth card is NOT used. For instance, if Player A has $$7\spadesuit 3\spadesuit 2\heartsuit A\diamondsuit$$ and Player B has $$3\clubsuit 3\diamondsuit 2\spadesuit A\heartsuit$$ , they would split the pot with 32A. If Player A has $$7\spadesuit 4\clubsuit 2\heartsuit 2\diamondsuit$$ , they have 742 and beat Player B with $$7\diamondsuit 5\clubsuit A\heartsuit A\diamondsuit$$ , which is a 75A. If no one has a three-card hand, then best two-card hand is used, and so on.

California Lowball, aka Ace-to-Five or A-5

In California Lowball, 5432A is the best hand, often called the wheel . Aces count low, straights and flushes DO NOT count against for evaluation of the best lowball hand. Think of your hand as a five-digit number with the Ace being a one.

If all players at showdown are paired, the lowest pair would win. For example, AA765 would beat 22345. If players have the same pair, then the lowest remaining part of the hand would win. So AA654 would beat AA732.

If the joker/bug is being used, it is used as the lowest card that does not pair any other card held. If you held 653A-Joker, you would use the Joker as a deuce and your hand would be 6532A.

This scale is used in California Lowball, Badacey, Hold’em High/Low Eight-or-Better, Omaha Eight-or-Better, Binglaha, Oklahoma, 2 or 5 Omaha Eight-or-Better, 4 Card Chowaha Eight-or-Better, Razz, Razzdugi, Stud Eight-or-Better, and Stud High/Low No Qualifier.

In most split pot games played with the California Lowball scale, an Eight-or-Better is needed to qualify for the low hand. If no player has an Eight-or-Better, then the high hand will scoop the pot. The worst lowball hand that will qualify in Eight-or-Better is 87654.

California Lowball, Badacey, Razz, Razzdugi, and Stud High/Low No Qualifier do not use Eight-or-Better in evaluation of the low hand. California Lowball traditionally uses the “Sevens Rule” and no checkraise.

Kansas City Lowball, aka Deuce-to-Seven or 2-7

In Kansas City Lowball, 75432 (not single suited) is the best hand, also often called the wheel . Aces count high, straights and flushes DO count against for evaluation of the best lowball hand. Again, think of your hand as a five-digit number, but the Ace is no longer a one and straights/flushes are bad.

Note that A5432 is NOT a straight in deuce-to-seven. It is a perfect Ace high (see below) and would beat all other ace-high hands and any paired hand.

Again, if all players at showdown are paired, the lowest pair would win. But 22345 would beat AA765, as 22 is the lowest pair and AA the highest pair. If somehow all players remaining have a straight, the lowest straight wins. 76543 would beat 87654. Similarly, if all players remaining have a flush, the lowest flush wins. 86543 flush would beat 95432 flush.

The joker/bug is rarely used; if it is used, it is used as the lowest card that makes a low hand. For example, if you held Joker-6543, you would use the Joker as an eight and your hand would be 86543. You would not use the Joker as either a deuce or seven because in this case, either of those ranks would make a straight.

This scale is used in Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, Badeucy, and Deuce-to-Seven Razz. Checkraise is allowed and no analog of the “Sevens Rule” exists.

Another common game with this scale is No Limit Deuce-to-Seven Lowball, played with a single draw. Traditionally, players must enter the pot for at least a minimum raise in this game (i.e. no limping allowed).

London Lowball, aka Ace-to-Six or A-6

This variation is seldom seem in games played in American casinos. It is similar to California Lowball in that the Ace is low, but unlike California Lowball and similar to Kansas City Lowball in that straights and flushes count against you. The best hand is 6432A (not single suited).

This variation has not been yet used in any BARGE tournament. Probably the most common game that uses it is called London Lowball , which is razz played with the Ace-to-Six scale and usually played pot limit rather than fixed limit.

Smooth Hands/Rough Hands/Perfect Hands

You will often hear words such as smooth , rough , or perfect used in describing a lowball hand. Let’s consider California lowball as an example. A smooth seven would be a seven-high hand that is one of the lowest sevens, for example 7543A. The “smoothest” seven is called a perfect seven, which would be 7432A. Conversely, a rough hand is one of the highest sevens, such as 76432. The “roughest” seven would be 76543.

Here’s a Kansas City lowball example: 85432 is the perfect eight. 86432 would be described as a smooth eight, and sometimes even a hand like 87432 would be described as a smooth eight-seven. A hand like 87642 is a rough eight. Note that 87654 is NOT a rough eight, but a straight that would be an extremely poor hand! It is up to debate at what point a hand is no longer smooth but is now rough .

Rank of Lowball Hands

In lowball, it is traditional to speak of strong hands as “# $$x$$ ”. For example, if a player announces their hand as “# 4”, in California Lowball they would have 6542A, and in Kansas City Lowball 76542. Of course, in the table below the hand cannot be single-suited (a flush) to qualify in either Deuce-to-Seven or Ace-to-Six. Notice the Ace-to-Six hands are obtained merely by subtracting one from each “digit” of the corresponding Deuce-to-Seven hand.

Notice in Ace-to-Five there is one five (the wheel or nuts), 5 sixes, and 15 sevens, for a total of 21 hands that are a seven-or-better (i.e. where the Sevens Rule would apply). There are 35 eights, so a total of 56 hands that are Eight-or-Better.

In Deuce-to-Seven, there are four sevens, 14 eights, and 34 nines, for a total of 52 hands that are nine-or-better. Number #53 is the perfect ten, in case Bill Chen quizzes you. The same is true in Ace-to-Six; again, merely subtract one from each of these ranks.

# California Ace-to-Five Kansas City Deuce-to-Seven London Ace-to-Six
1 5432A 75432 6432A
2 6432A 76432 6532A
3 6532A 76532 6542A
4 6542A 76542 6543A
5 6543A 85432 7432A
6 65432 86432 7532A
7 7432A 86532 7542A
8 7532A 86542 7543A
9 7542A 86543 75432
10 7543A 87432 7632A
11 75432 87532 7642A
12 7632A 87542 7643A
13 7642A 87543 76432
14 7643A 87632 7652A
15 76432 87642 7653A
16 7652A 87643 76532
17 7653A 87652 7654A
18 76532 87653 76542
19 7654A 95432 8432A
20 76542 96432 8532A
21 76543 96532 8542A
22 8432A 96542 8543A
23 8532A 96543 85432
24 8542A 97432 8632A
25 8543A 97532 8642A
26 85432 97542 8643A
27 8632A 97543 86432
28 8642A 97632 8652A
29 8643A 97642 8653A
30 86432 97643 86532
31 8652A 97652 8654A
32 8653A 97653 86542
33 86532 97654 86543
34 8654A 98432 8732A
35 86542 98532 8742A
36 86543 98542 8743A
37 8732A 98543 87432
38 8742A 98632 8752A
39 8743A 98642 8753A
40 87432 98643 87532
41 8752A 98652 8754A
42 8753A 98653 87542
43 87532 98654 87543
44 8754A 98732 8762A
45 87542 98742 8763A
46 87543 98743 87632
47 8762A 98752 8764A
48 8763A 98753 87642
49 87632 98754 87643
50 8764A 98762 8765A
51 87642 98763 87652
52 87643 98764 87653
53 8765A T5432 9432A
54 87652 T6432 9532A
55 87653 T6532 9542A
56 87654 T6542 9543A

Sevens Rule

Most California cardrooms have something called the sevens rule. After the draw, you must bet a seven or better (Note: there are 21 such hands in California Ace-to-Five lowball) whenever you are either first to bet, or those ahead of you have passed. If you do not, you cannot win any action after the draw, and, in some clubs, you forfeit the entire pot. Of course, if you have a seven or better and someone bets ahead of you, you can throw the hand away if you do not think it will win.

Strictly speaking, you can pass a seven or better after the draw, and then call with it. If you do, though, all you can do is lose. Here’s why. If someone bets after you, and hers is a worse hand (and you call), the rules let her remove her money from the pot. If hers is the better hand, however, and you call, your money stays in the pot. In those few clubs in which you lose the entire pot by passing a seven, if you inadvertently make the mistake of passing, just quietly throw your cards away. Don’t make a fuss. They won’t change the rules just for you.

There actually are an extremely few instances in which it is mathematically sound to pass and then call with a seven (because you lose less than if you bet). An explanation of when you can profitably do so is way beyond the scope of the early part of this series. I mention it only because renowned poker theoretician David Sklansky has written about when to make the play. For all practical purposes, however, if you just assume that it is never correct to pass and call with a seven or better, particularly in no-limit lowball, you won’t make many mistakes.

Players are likely to inadvertently pass sevens (or better) in two situations:

1. A new player gets flustered and forgets the rule. He passes without thinking. Sometimes he remembers the rule before the next player has acted, and tries to un-pass, with some such remark as, “`I forget about that sevens rule. Can I make a bet now?” Sometimes he remembers after the next player has acted, often after the next player has already passed, and now when he tries to bet, an argument ensues. No matter how it happens, however, he gives away his hand, and chills the after-the-draw action.

2. A player draws several cards, usually three or more, and passes without looking at her cards, unconsciously concluding that she could not possibly make a seven or better drawing that many cards. Of course, the time she passes blind is often the time she makes that miracle draw. What often happens is that she ends up losing money, because someone would have called a bet.

There are two obvious countermeasures for these situations.

1. The first is always be aware of the sevens rule. Remember that it is in force in almost every California cardroom that has lowball. Be aware of what your hand is when it is your turn to act, and don’t pass if you have a seven or better.

2. The second is, when you take multiple cards, don’t pass blind; don’t assume that you can’t possibly make a hand. Look at your cards and, again, if you have a seven or better, bet.

How the sevens rule comes into effect when you call an all-in bet that is less than a full bet: You can inadvertently run afoul of the sevens rule in the following way.

If someone makes a bet in turn that is less than a full bet, and you just call (rather than completing the bet) with a seven or better, and someone calls or raises behind you, that person gets his bet back (unless he has you beat, of course).

Example: The limit is $20. Four players call, so the pot now contains$80. (For simplicity, lets assume that three of the players are the blinds.) After the draw, John, directly to the left of the button, has only $15 left, which he bets. You, on the big blind, who drew two cards, got lucky and made a wheel. You don’t want to scare either of the two remaining players, so you just call, knowing that you can’t win any more from John. Cindy, who had originally opened the pot and was pat, says, “I complete the bet”, and puts in$20. Henry, on the button, who had drawn one card, now raises, by putting in $40. A side pot is created. The bet skips John, who is out of chips. You say, “I raise”, and someone at the table informs you that since check-raising is not permitted, all you can do is call. Cindy, though, reraises, and Henry just calls the bet. You call the extra bet. The hands are shown. John made an 8-4, and is out of contention. You show your wheel, and start to reach for the pot. Cindy shows a 6-4 and Henry shows 6-5-4-3-2. The house dealer pushes all of Cindy’s and Henry’s post-draw betting back to them, and pushes the center pot to you, consisting of that initial$80, plus the $30 that constitutes the$15 that John bet and you called. You don’t win the extra $120 that Cindy and Henry put in, because what you did is a violation of the sevens rule. Had you completed the bet by putting in an extra$5 with your $15, you would have won a lot more. So here’s what to remember. If someone goes all in ahead of you and that bet is less than a full bet, be sure to complete the bet if you have a seven or better. That is, put enough into the pot to turn your call into as much as the limit of the game. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from completing the bet even if you have worse. The same thing holds in no-limit lowball. If someone goes all in ahead of you and that bet is less than the minimum bet for the game, be sure to complete the bet if you have a seven or better. So, for example, if the blinds were$5-$5-$10, the minimum bet would be $20. If after the draw the player ahead of you goes all in for$15 and you have a pat wheel and at least one player remains behind you, make sure to put in at least \$20. Since its a no-limit game, you can of course put in as much more as you like.

From Michael Wiesenberg’s “Go For Low” column in Card Player Magazine

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