Notice. This edition of the Rules for Red Carpet is copyrighted by Mike Church (firstname.lastname@example.org) © 2003. You may freely use and distribute these rules as you wish, but commercial use of this game or these rules without his permission is forbidden. Non-commercial use and distribution of Red Carpet and its rules, however, is encouraged.
I developed Red Carpet in October 2003 in Budapest, Hungary. It’s a bidding-based poker-like game with, at this point, almost no play-testing. I would very much appreciate feedback on this game.
Number of players: 2-4. Two decks would presumably allow for a greater number of players.
Thirty-two cards, the A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, and 7 of each suit, are used. The other twenty cards may either be set aside or used to keep track of "bidding points".
The first player to reach a predetermined total of points (250?) wins.
The Deal and Play
A round begins with the dealer (this designation should rotate with each round) giving two cards to each player. They may look at these cards at any time, but should keep them hidden from other players. Since the goal of each player is to form the best possible four-card poker hand, players clearly want to attain more cards.
Each player has twenty bidding points, with which they will purchase more cards. One may keep track of bidding points using poker chips or coins, or by using the 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of the card deck (all cards are exposed to start; symbols are covered as points are spent).
The dealer removes the top two cards from the deck and reveals them to all players. The players may now bid on this pair of cards, starting with the player to the dealer’s right, and ending with the dealer. Note that s/he is not required to bid on these cards.
Bidding starts at two bidding points (exception: A player may open bidding at 1 if and only if s/he has only one bidding point left). Each player, in turn, may announce a higher bid (by at least one point) or pass. Once a player passes, s/he may not re-enter the bidding. Players may not bid more points than they have.
If a pair of cards has been bid-on at all, bidding terminates when all players but one have passed, and is won by the last (and highest) bidder. S/he spends that number of bidding points, and wins the two cards being bid upon. S/he may assimilate them into his/her hand (they will be placed face-up next to the two face-down cards) or "junk" them - that is, throw them into the discard pile. (The reason a player might do this is to prevent another player from getting the cards, but may not want them in his/her hand.) A player can have a hand of no more than eight cards, so a player with eight cards already must junk any new cards purchased. S/he may NOT junk one card and keep the other; the two cards must be junked or kept as a unit.
If all players pass on a pair of cards, they are thrown into the discard pile.
After each bid, the winner of the bid removes two more cards from the deck, and reveals them to all players. The player on his/her right now opens bidding (by announcing a bid or passing).
The bidding terminates when:
- The pack of cards has been exhausted, or
- No player has any bidding points remaining, or
- All players have a hand of eight cards.
Once bidding is terminated, all players reveal their two face-down cards. With up to eight cards in his/her hand, each player forms the four-card poker hand that will provide for him/her the highest score. Scoring is as follows:
Each card has an intrinsic value:
- Aces are worth four points,
- K, Q, J are worth three points,
- 7, 8, 9, 10 are worth two points.
The poker hand in which a card appears is a multiplier. A pair doubles the value of the cards in it, and a 3-of-a-kind, 4-card straight, or 4-card flush triples it. A 4-of-a-kind or a 4-card straight flush multiplies the value of its component cards by five. Finally, the "Red Carpet" (both red aces and both red sevens) is worth 100 points, the highest-scoring hand of all.
- A-K-10-8 is worth 11 points (4 + 3 + 2 + 2)
- K-K-9-7 is worth 16 points (2*(3 + 3) + 2 + 2)
- K-K-9-9 is worth 20 points (2*(3 + 3) + 2*(2 + 2))
- Q-Q-Q-A is worth 31 points (3*(3 + 3 + 3) + 4)
- Q-J-10-9 is worth 30 points (3*(3 + 3 + 2 + 2))
- A-K-Q-J is worth 65 points (5*(4 + 3 + 3 + 3))
- A-A-A-A is worth 80 points (5*(4 + 4 + 4 + 4))
- A-A-7-7 is worth 100 points (the "Red Carpet").
Scoring the Round
Each player scores, at the end of each round,
- 1 point for each bidding point remaining, plus
- the point value of the 4-card poker hand s/he presents, plus
- 25 points if s/he has the highest-scoring hand of the round (if there are ties, split these points among the high-scoring players, rounding down).
Play continues until at least one player reaches 250 or more points. At this point, the player with the highest total wins.
Feel free to email me, with questions or comments, at email@example.com. I hope you have enjoyed Red Carpet, will send me feedback on the game, and will recommend it to friends.