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Killer Home Poker

You watch TV poker and think you’re not ready for your first tournament experience. So you go sit with your folks and watch the game. What are they playing? It’s not Texas Hold ‘em but it is poker. You need help!

Home Games are considered somewhat less serious games that are typically played in non-tournament surroundings at small stakes. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s less opportunity for skillful play, just that the games are seen as more social than competitive.

To help grow the betting pot in a home game, one can add a variant known as the “kill card” to the rules. Kill cards work best with stud games or shared card games as no one player can control when the kill card is played.

One popular kill card game is called Chernobyl Cowboy. The Hot card is the king of hearts. Whenever the king of hearts appears face up in a stud or shared card game the game is dead. All bets remain in the pot and the game begins again with a new ante and a new deal. Anyone who folded is out until the game concludes. So in a seven-card stud game each player gets two cards down, then four cards up, then one final card down. In a seven-card stud game with a Chernobyl Cowboy, if the king of hearts comes up during the time the four up cards are dealt, the game is killed and everyone who is still in antes again for a new round.

Shotgun—Roll 'em out and Skinny Minnie

This is a draw game that plays much like a stud game. First five cards are dealt to each player, followed by a betting round, and a draw. Now, in place of a second round and showdown, there is a rollout phase, which begins with the players arranging their five cards in any chosen order, placing them face down in front of themselves. Each player’s top card is now revealed, followed by a betting round. Then each player reveals his next card, followed by a betting round. Then a third, followed by a betting round, a fourth, and a betting round, and finally a showdown. Players may not change the order of their cards at any time during the rollout phase.

This game can be played for high or low, when played at high low split it is called Skinny Minnie.

Anaconda—Pass the trash

Seven cards are dealt to each player. Before the first betting round, each player examines his hand, and removes three cards from his hand and places them on the table to his left. After each person has discarded, players pick up the cards discarded by his right-hand neighbor and places them in his hand. Each player must discard before looking at the cards he is to receive. After the first pass, there is a betting round. Then a second pass occurs, each player passing two cards now to the right. A second betting round is followed by a third pass, each player passing one card, again, to the left. Finally, a fourth betting round and a showdown, in which the player with the best five-card high hand he can make out of the seven in his hand wins the pot.

In some casual games, the showdown is replaced by a rollout phase, as described above in Shotgun. This makes a total of eight betting rounds in the game, which generally destroys any chance for skillful play in the later rounds.

Hope that helps, now turn off that TV and go play mom and dad.

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