This page is based mainly on information from Derek Bal, Malia Pugh and Pomai T.
This Hawaiian draw and discard game has some slight similarity to Knock Poker, but with the difference that it is possible to go out after drawing with a six-card hand.
Paiute is played by from 2 to 5 players, using a standard international 52-card pack, ace ranking high.
The dealer shuffles, the player to dealer's right cuts, and the dealer deals five cards to each player, one at a time. After the deal, the next card is placed face up on the table and becomes a wild card - for example if is a three, all the remaining threes are wild for that deal. The remainder of the deck is placed face down on top of the wild card (with part of the wild card still showing) to form the stock.
The play goes clockwise beginning with the player to the dealer's left.
On each turn, a player takes one card: either the top of the face down stock pile or the top card of the face up discard pile. The player must then discard one card face up on the discard pile. If you pick up from the stock you may discard the card you just picked up or a different one; if you pick up from the discard pile you must discard a different card. Therefore until there is a call, players will always have five cards at the end of their turn.
A player who has a winning combination after drawing can call. If the caller is not the dealer, the current round of play is completed, each player up to and including the dealer having one turn to try to make a better winning combination.
A winning combination consists of either five or six cards. It is not obligatory to call when you have a winning combination - you could continue playing and try to improve it - but if you do call you place the combination face up on the table. If it is a five-card combination you then discard your sixth card. If it is a six-card you do not discard on that turn, and the next player as usual may either draw from the stock or take the top card of the discard pile, which is the card discarded by the player before the one who called.
After a player has called, other players in turn around to the dealer can also call if they have a combination that equals or beats the highest combination shown so far.
The winning combinations, in order from high to low, are as follows:
- Five of a Kind: Five cards of the same rank.
- Royal Flush: A-K-Q-J-10 of a single suit.
- Straight Flush: Five consecutive cards of a suit. 5-4-3-2-A of a suit is the lowest straight flush.
- Four / Two: Four cards of the same rank, plus a pair of cards of a second rank - for example 9-9-9-9-K-K. If two players have a four / two, the player with the higher four of a kind will win.
- Three / Three: Two sets of three of a kind - for example Q-Q-Q-6-6-6. If two players have a three / three, the ranks of the higher three of a kind held by each player are compared to decide who wins.
- Two / Two / Two: Three pairs, such as J-J-7-7-3-3. This hand is called "paiute" and can only be called on a player's first draw. If two players call a paiute, their highest pairs are compared first, then if these are equal the middle pairs, and if these are equal the low pairs.
Poker players should note that regular straights (five consecutive cards of mixed suits) and flushes (five cards of a suit not in sequence) have no value in this game.
If the stock pile runs out, the cards of the discard pile, other than the top card, are shuffled and stacked face down to form a new stock pile.
Paiute is usually played for small stakes. Before each deal, each player pays an equal stake - say 25 cents - to the pot. The pot is taken by the winner - the player who called the highest hand. In the rare case where two players call equally high hands, they split the pot equally between them.
Some play that if two players have equally high hands, the first called wins and the other loses.
Some use a deck with jokers, and use these as the wild cards instead of turning up a card after the deal.
Paiute is sometimes played by six or more players, in which case a Paiute is allowed at any time, not only on the first round.
Some play that only the cards of the same rank and opposite colour to the turned up card are wild. For example if the five of spades is turned up, only the fives of hearts and diamonds are wild; the five of clubs is a normal five.
Some play that a royal flush is the highest combination, beating 5 of a kind.
In some groups the winner is paid by all the other players on a scale depending on the winning hand. In 25 cent Paiute a Paiute wins 25 cents from each opponent, 3/3 50 cents each, 4/2 75 cents, straight flush or Royal Flush $1.00 each, Five of a Kind $1.25 each. In this version, any call on a player's first turn pays double, so in practice the lowest payment is 50 cents each for a Paiute on the first round or a 3/3 later (unless you are playing the variation that allows Paiute after the first round).
A short description of Paiute was published in 2002 in the United Poker Forum.