A poker-like game, in which four Aces don't mean a thing. The aim of the game is to win with the highest straight. Contributed by Wayne Ozarko .
This game is intended to be played with a special 55-card pack. In addition to the 52 cards of the international pack there are three extra cards marked with the letters "S", "T" and "R". The letters are not strictly necessary - packs quite often come with a few spare cards marked as jokers or with scoring tables, and any three extra cards will do, provided that they have the same backs as the other 52 cards. Alternatively, the game can be played with just 52 cards, by omitting points 9 and 10 of the hand ranking rules below.
Playing the Game
- The dealer is determined by the highest card dealt around. This player receives the dealer button. An ante is placed in the pot by each player, and each player is dealt two cards face down.
- Two cards are then dealt to the table, the first card face down, known as the key card, with the second card face up.
- There is a betting round beginning with the player to the left of the dealer. Betting continues clockwise and players may check bet/raise or fold.
- At the conclusion of the betting round, the third card is dealt to the table, face up, and there is a second betting round.
- The fourth card is dealt to the table face up, and there is a third betting round.
- The fifth card is dealt to the table face up, and there is a fourth betting round.
- At the conclusion of the fourth betting round, the "key" card on the table is then turned face up, and a final round of betting takes place.
- If more than one player is still in, there is a showdown and the winning hand is declared and takes the pot.
Ranking of Hands
- Each player makes the longest possible straight from the seven available cards: the two dealt to the player and the five on the table.
- Straights consist of two or more consecutive cards. Ace can count as high or low but not in the middle of a straight.
- Any straight with more cards beats any straight with fewer cards. For example a straight of K / Q would lose to a straight of J / 10 / 9, which in turn would lose to a straight of 5 / 4 / 3 / 2.
- Between straights of equal length, a straight in a single suit (straight flush) is higher than a straight with mixed suits. So for example 6c / 5c / 4c / 3c is better than 9h / 8s / 7d / 6h.
- Between two mixed suited straights of equal length or two straight flushes of equal legth, the straight with the higher top card wins.
- Between otherwise equal straights (same length, equal top cards, both straight flushes or both with mixed suits), the suit of the top card of the straight decides which is better. The order of suits from high to low is Hearts/Spades/Diamonds/Clubs. So for example a straight of 9d / 8h / 7d / 6d would lose to a straight of 9h / 8s / 7d / 6h.
- In the event of a tie in which the winning hand is a straight whose top card is on the table, the winner is determined by the highest card belonging to the straight that is in either player's hand. This is called the priority card. For example if Player A has Qs / 9d, Player B has Qd / 3s and the table shows 5c / 4d / 3d / 2h / Jh, player B wins, because player B can make a straight containing the 3s, which is higher than the 3d.
- The only way two players can have identical straights is if the winning straight is entirely on the table. In this case the winner is the player who has the highest card in hand, using suit to break the tie if two players have equally high cards. For example, with 10s / 9s / 8h / 7s / 4d on the table, a player with Kh / 2c beats a player with Kd / Qd because the king of hearts has a higher suit. A similar rule applies if no one has a straight at all: the highest card in any player's hand wins the showdown.
- The S, T and R cards are of no value except as part of the special four-card combination consisting of S, T, R and any 8. S-T-R-8 is the highest hand of all, beating any straight of any length. If two players have S-T-R-8, the higher 8 by suit wins.
- If the S-T-R-8 combination is formed on the table, and no player has a higher 8 in hand than the one on the table, there is no winner. All players must pay one chip penalty to the pot, and the pot carries over to the next deal.
Note that it is impossible to have a split pot in this game. Except in the case of rule 10 above, there is always a single winner.
In principle any of the poker betting structures could be used. Wayne Ozarko offers two possibilities:
- In Limit Straights a maximum of two raises in any betting sequence, is permitted.
- In No Limit Straights any number of raises in any betting sequence is permitted.
In either case, the first bet in each betting round is equal to the ante, and each raise is twice the previous bet or raise.