Contributed by Gabriel Schwartz (email@example.com)
Pokex is a trick-taking game that involves poker hands.
Four, in two partnerships. Partners sit across from each other. See below for a two-player variant.
A standard deck of 54 cards (both jokers included). Cards rank exactly as in standard poker: The two is low and the ace is high, but can be used low in the case of an A-2-3-4-5 straight or straight flush. Jokers are always wild.
Rank of Hands
The hands rank exactly as in standard poker - five of a kind (high), straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, straight, three of a kind, two pairs, pair, high card (low). Wild cards can be used to represent any card. In cases where there are two identical hands under standard poker rules, the hand using fewer wild cards wins. If the two hands both contain the same number of wilds, they are considered tied.
Dealing the Cards
Each hand, the dealer deals 12 cards to each of the four players and 6 cards face-up to the center. This uses up the entire deck of 54.
Bidding and Naming the Wild Rank
After the cards are dealt, the bidding phase of the hand begins. Starting with the player to the dealer's left, each player in turn may increase the current high bid or pass. A bid is simply a declaration of the number of tricks, out of a possible six, that the player and his partner will attempt to win during the hand. One is the minimum bid, and six is the maximum. The bidding ends when one player makes a bid and the other three players subsequently pass. This player then becomes the declarer; the two opponents are the defenders. At this point, the declarer names one card rank as wild. All four cards of this rank, along with the two jokers, will be wild in the upcoming hand. If all four players pass, the hand is played with no wild rank, and each partnership scores as if they are the defenders (see Scoring).
Playing the Game
The dealer shifts over the leftmost of the six face-up cards to indicate that it is active for the current trick. The player to the declarer's right leads all six tricks in the hand, and is followed clockwise by each of the other three players. On a player's turn, he lays down in front of him two cards face-up. After all four players (ending with the declarer's partner) have played, the winner of the trick is determined by comparing two five-card poker hands. These hands consist of a player's two cards, his partner's two cards, and the single active card in the center. The partnership with the higher of the two hands wins the trick, and the active center card should be turned face down and laid either horizontally or vertically to indicate the winning partnership. Repeat this same procedure for all six center cards, in order. Remember that the player to the declarer's right will always lead, regardless of who won the previous trick. In the case of a tie between the two poker hands (see Rank of Hands), the trick is awarded to the declarer's partnership.
When all six tricks have been completed, points are awarded as follows:
- The defenders score points based on the number of tricks they win during the hand. 1 point is awarded for the first trick won, 2 for the second, 3 for the third, etc. To calculate the total score, simply add these numbers together, or see the table below:
- The declarer and his partner do not score any points if they do not take at least the number of tricks that the declarer bid. If they take exactly the number that the declarer bid, their score is the same as it would be for the defenders at that number of tricks (see above table). If they take more tricks than the number bid, they score exactly as above up to the bid amount, but not as much for each additional trick. Instead, for each additional trick above the bid amount, they score only the amount of the bid. For example, normally winning five tricks would score 1+2+3+4+5 = 15 points, but if the partnership winning those five tricks had only bid 2, they would score only 1+2+2+2+2 = 9 points. The table below contains all scoring possibilities for the declarers:
Ending the Game
A game is played to 33 points.
Pokex for two players
This variant was contributed by Richard Malaschitz (owner of www.littlegolem.net).
It is played with the same 54-card deck, the same scoring, the same bidding, and the same rule about wild rank as the 4-player game.
Each player is dealt a hand of 18 cards and 12 cards are dealt face-up to the center.
After the bidding, these 12 face-up cards are shuffled and this shuffled pack is put face-down.
Now there are 6 rounds, in each of which:
- two cards from the shuffled pack are turned face up.
- Each player plays three cards from their hand on the table. The cards are played one by one, alternately. The declarer's opponent always begins.
- The winner of round is the player with the better poker hand, consisting of the three cards they played together with the two common face-up cards.