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Elimination

This game was contributed by Arthur Buderick as one of the options in his Dealer's Choice Poker game. Although it is played as part of a poker session and uses poker betting, it is not based on poker hands. Instead the aim is to have the highest or lowest numerical total of cards in your hand of five or fewer cards. It probably works best for around 5 to 8 players.

A standard international 52-card pack is used. The pip cards 2-10 have face value, Aces are worth 1 or 11 at the choice of the player, and picture cards (K, Q, J) are worth 10 or 0.5 at the choice of the players. The dual values of the A, K, Q, J make it possible for the same player to have both the highest and the lowest hand, by choosing the appropriate values.

After all players have placed their initial bets (ante) in the pot, the dealer deals 5 cards to each player and a row of 5 cards face down to the table. There is then a first round of betting. All betting rounds are begun by the player to dealer's left.

The dealer then turns up the first of the five table cards, and everyone who has any cards of the same rank must discard those cards. For example if a Queen is turned up all Queens must be discarded. There is then a second round of betting.

The dealer turns up the next table card, and if it is the same rank as an already exposed table card, turns up cards from the top of the undealt part of the deck until a new rank is found. Players holding cards equal in rank to the newly exposed card must discard them. There is another betting round.

The above process is repeated until either

  • there are five different ranks face up on the table and the sixth betting round has ended (most frequent case), or
  • there is only one surviving player who has not folded and wins the pot, or
  • a player's five cards are all eliminated (rare), in which case that player automatically wins the whole pot.

Surviving players, who will have from 1 to 5 cards, then declare by holding coins in a closed fist whether they want to compete for lowest (1 coin), highest (2 coins) or both (3 coins). A player who goes for both (also known as 'pig') must win both high and low to take the whole pot - if they lose or tie in either competition they win nothing.

If no one goes for both and wins both, there is a competition for high between the players who chose high and a competition for low between the players who chose low, each for half of the pot. In case of a tie in either competition that half of the pot is shared between the winners. If no one goes for high the winner of low takes the whole pot and vice versa.

Arthur Buderick's experience is that low is usually won by a hand with 10 points or less, and high by a hand in the mid 20's or higher.

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Last updated: 20th January 2021

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