Contributed by Steven Metzger , who writes: "I came up with the game idea on a lark sometime in 2005, as a combination of standard Poker and Scat. All of my friends, my girlfriend, and much of my family have also taken to the game. The name is derived from our favorite restaurant (and place to play), Taqueria Los Pericos."

The resulting game has some similarity to Whisky Poker, but the draw and discard mechanism is different and the jokers in Perico introduce extra possibilities.

Players: 2 to 6.

Cards: 54 cards are used, a standard 52-card deck, supplemented with two jokers.

Objective: To have the best standard poker hand at the end of a round (including five-of-a-kinds). The standard poker hands, in order from best to worst, are:

  • Royal Flush (complete)
  • Five-of-a-Kind (complete)
  • Straight Flush
  • Four-of-a-Kind
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Three-of-a-Kind
  • Two Pair
  • One Pair
  • High Card

If two or more players have the same type of hand, the player with fewer jokers wins the hand.

If players are still tied, poker-style hand ranks are used to determine the winner. Aces are always high, and jokers are always low.

  • In straights, flushes, and straight flushes, this is done by ranking the best cards in the hand against each other.
  • In "book" hands ("of-a-kinds," pairs, and full houses), this is done by ranking the larger book (the triplet in a full house or the higher of two pairs), then the smaller book (only in two pair and full house), then the remaining cards in the hand.

If two players remain tied after all tie breaking options have been exhausted, then the hand is considered drawn, and no player wins.

Deal: 5 cards are dealt to each player. One card is placed face up (discard pile), and the rest are placed face down (stock pile). First dealer is agreed upon by the group, but round winners are given the task of shuffling and dealing the next round.

Play: Play begins to the dealer's left and continues clockwise. On a player's turn, they may:

  1. Take the top card from the draw pile and discard a card from their hand, or
  2. Take the top "x" cards from the discard pile and discard "x" DIFFERENT cards in any order they wish, or
  3. Knock on the table, provided there are at least 5 cards in the discard pile.

Ending a Hand:

Knocking: A player may use their entire turn to knock, provided that there are 5 cards sitting in the discard pile. The "knock phase" ensues, and play goes around the table once more, but once it is the knocking player's turn again, the round is over (provided there are still 5 cards on the table). The player with the best hand at the end of the round is declared the winner.

Completion: If, at any time, a player achieves a Royal Flush or a Five-of-a-Kind, the round is over and that player is declared the winner. No knocking is required. If a player continues to play with a complete hand, they are disqualified from winning the round.

Jokers: Jokers are wild cards, and may represent any card in the deck (except in the case of a five-of-a-kind, when the joker may represent a non-real card and result in a complete hand). When a joker is placed on the TOP of the discard pile, the discard and draw piles are reshuffled, one card is placed face up in the discard pile, and play continues to the next player as usual. If a joker is used in this manner during a knock phase, the knock phase is cancelled. Play continues after the reshuffle as if the knock had never occurred. If a joker is the first card on the discard pile, it is reshuffled back in and a new card is placed face up. Jokers also weaken hands. If two players have the same type of hand, but one has a joker and the other does not, the "natural" hand beats out the "un-natural" hand.

Aces: Aces may be used either as the top or bottom card in a straight, but their value is always the highest in the game. Therefore, a straight or straight flush of A-2-3-4-5 (lowball) will beat K-Q-J-10-9. Aces may not be used as a "bridge" between the King and the Deuce. The highest incomplete hand in the game is an A-2-3-4-5 Straight Flush.

Scoring: A player receives one point for winning a round, and zero points for any non-winning result (this includes ties/draws, which are recorded, but do not result in any points). Often, the first player to 5 points is declared the winner of the set or match, regardless of group size, but players may decide on a different goal.

Scoring Variation: Point-scoring may be done, with players given as many points as the number of other players they outrank in a single round. Draws may result in points, and scoring is much more amplified. This is not a suggested scoring format, however, as some of the most exciting and intriguing play comes from all-or-nothing stakes.


6-card "Perico"

This is actually the game that we play most often now, because of the added complexity and longer game length. The basic rules for 6-card Perico are the same as for 5-card Perico, with these significant differences:

A) Maximum 5 players (instead of 6).

B) Two more jokers are added for a total of four jokers, and a 56-card deck.

C) Straights, Flushes, and Straight Flushes (including the Royal Flush) must use all six cards in the straight and/or flush. Royal flushes are A-K-Q-J-10-9, and lowballs are A-2-3-4-5-6.

D) Hand ranks are as follows:

  • Royal Flush (complete)
  • Six-of-a-kind (complete)
  • Straight Flush
  • Five-of-a-kind
  • New House [Four-of-a-kind and One Pair]
  • Crazy House [2 Three-of-a-Kinds]
  • Four-of-a-kind
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Old House [includes one non-booked card]
  • Three Pair
  • Three-of-a-Kind
  • Two Pair
  • One Pair
  • High Card

E) Six cards (instead of five) are required to be in the discard pile before, during, and after the knock phase.

F) The usual goal to win a set is six points, instead of five.

Note: Three-and-three (a.k.a. "Crazy House"), and Three Pair will improve to New House and Old House respectively when a joker is added to them. Since jokers are an integral part of the game, there is never a situation where a joker is a bad thing (when going for book-type hands). The rankings are the way they are for that reason. The placement of the Straight and the Flush are chosen to retain some normality compared to the Old House and the Four-of-a-kind. The Full House dominates play in 5-card Perico, and this placement in the 6-card version encourages straight-flush play.

Last updated: 30th July 2007