Black Rat

Contributed by Alan Kross-Vinson

This is a wagering game that is not quite poker, but somewhere between blackjack and baccarat, but not played against the house or dealer. [There is also a coincidental resemblance to 7-27 - JM.]

It is a game for more than two players.

Prior to the game, determine a large ante and small ante. Before the game, each player contributes a large ante to the pot. Set this pile aside.

Each player is dealt two cards down to start. Cards have the same value as in blackjack (ace is 1 or 11, face cards count 10). Players keep their cards hidden from each other.

Now there is a series of rounds in which an extra card is dealt to any player who wants one - one extra card per player per round. Immediately before each of these rounds, everyone remaining in the game (everyone who has not folded) places an additional small ante in the pot, even if they do not want another card. Even if only one out of six players is still taking cards, everyone must ante before the card is dealt. Players may fold at any time.

Once all players have stopped taking cards, any player whose cards total exactly 33 must declare Black Rat, show their cards, and collect the original ante pot (or split it with any other black rat). Black Rats are out for the remainder.

The remaining players bet on their hands (check, bet, or fold) starting with the last player to receive a card and going to the left. After all bets and raises are called, hands are shown, and the winner(s) collects or splits the pot. Here is the rank of hands:


So the aim is to be as close to 21 or 32 as possible, without going over those numbers. A total less than 21 is better than a total the same amount below 32.

Anything over 33 is bust (and cannot win the pot in a showdown against anyone who is not bust), but bust players may remain in the game to continue to bet, aiming to bluff the other players into folding. In the rare case of a showdown where all the players who have stayed in are bust, the pot is split between them (all totals of 34 or more are equally bad).

In a showdown, the winner will take the pot consisting of the small antes and the bets.

If no one wins the Black Rat pot - players need to agree before the game if the not-won Black Rat pot (the original antes) is to be folded into the pot on the table, or held out and added to the next game's Black Rat pot.

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Last updated: 17th August 2004