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Bargain Bin

Contributed by Kewlio

This game requires 4 to 10 players, and one standard deck of 52 cards. Each card has a point value: black cards are positive and red cards are negative. Cards 2 to 10 are face value, aces 1, kings, 12, queens 12, jacks 11. So for example the jack of hearts is -11 and the five of clubs is +5.

The game itself is very simple. Each player is dealt five cards. The player to dealer's left begins and the turn to play passes clockwise.

On your turn, you may play one of your cards face up in front of any player, including yourself. Black cards increase that player's score, and red cards decrease it. At the end of each hand, when everyone has played the five cards they were dealt, the values of the cards in front of each player are totalled, and the two players with the highest scores in card points get one game point each. If there's a tie for second place, only the top scorer gets a game point, and if there's at least a three-way tie for first, nobody gets a point.

After scoring, all the cards are shuffled and the next dealer deals. All player's card point totals start from zero again.

Further deals are played playing until one player reaches 10 game points. Once this happens, that player and the player with the next highest amount of game points win the game. However, again, if there's a tie for second, only the top scorer wins the game. (It is impossible for there to be a three-way tie at 10 points, so no worries there.)

Optional rules:

Selfless: You may play a card on anyone *but* yourself.

Joker: Add a Joker to the deck. When played, it is worth 20 points, plus or minus; the person who plays the card decides which.

Vegas Rules: Determine a "unit price". (Say, 10 cents.) At the end of each hand, each player has to pay the difference of card points from the highest score into the Bargain Bin. (So, if the highest hand score is 10, and your hand score is -5, at a unit price of 10 cents, pay in $1.50.) Whoever wins the game takes the money from the Bargain Bin. If there are two winners, the pot is split in half.

Note: The nature of this game is likely to lead to negotiations, bargains, promises and threats of retaliation between players. These should be kept within reason and players should keep in mind that it's just a game. If the majority agrees that someone starts to get way too offensive or personal, take away their hand for a round and give them a warning. Those cards are discarded. If they persist again, they are removed from the game. If three players have to be removed in this way (two if it's a four player game), the game is cancelled and there is no winner. In this case, if being played for money, everyone gets back exactly what they lost.

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Last updated: 17th January 2012