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Tony '6 and 1' Brown

Invented by Jonathan Robinson and Thomas Little.

Tony ‘6 and 1’ Brown is predominantly a gambling card game, though it can also be played casually for fun.

A standard deck of 52 playing cards is required for the game.

Before the cards are dealt, the two players must choose their roles: one of them will be “Tony” and the other will be “the Banker”. Tony will play with one card and the Banker will have six cards, and Tony wins if the Banker cannot make a five-card poker hand from these six cards that beats Tony's single card.

Before the deal Tony puts up a stake. If the Bank wins, the Banker will collect this stake. If Tony wins, the Banker will return Tony's stake along with winnings paid out according to the table of odds given below.

After the cards have been shuffled thoroughly, the Banker deals out the first six cards in the deck, placing them face down in two rows of three. The Banker then deals Tony the next card in the deck.

Tony looks at this card and can accept or reject it, the aim being to get as high a card as possible (Ace being high). If Tony rejects the card, the Banker deals Tony another card, and if that is also rejected a third card, and so on up to a maximum of six rejections. Tony cannot go back to an earlier card if the following cards are worse. Having rejected six cards Tony must accept the seventh card whatever it is. The more cards Tony rejects, the lower the odds become if Tony wins.

As soon as Tony accepts a card, the Banker's turn begins. The banker's six cards are revealed in order from from top left to bottom right. The first three cards to be revealed are referred to as the Sock. The next two cards to be revealed are the Sandal (a common variation of this is to refer to the 4th card as the heel, and the 5th card to be revealed as the toe). The final card to be revealed is called the Brown. The Banker's cards must be revealed in this order. [This is presumably for dramatic effect. Since there is no decision to be made at this point, it would make no difference to the outcome if the six cards were turned in any order, or even all at once. JM]

The Banker wins if a five card poker hand can be made from the Banker's cards that beats the single card that Tony accepted. In practice this means that the Banker always wins if the Banker has two or more cards of the same rank, or five or more cards of the same suit, or a five-card sequence (counting Ace as high or low). If the Banker has none of these then the Banker's highest card is compared with Tony's card and the higher card wins.

Exception - wild cards. The Three of Clubs is wild for Tony and the Three of Spades is wild for the Banker. If just one player has their own wild card, that player automatically wins, irrespective of what the other player has. If both players have their own wild card, the Banker wins.

Ties. If Tony's card is equal in value to the Banker's highest card, and the Banker does not have a poker combination (pair, straight or flush) or wild card, the game enters a second phase known as a Heathrow. The Banker’s first six cards are discarded, and the Banker must deal a further six cards. Tony continues to play with the same card as before, and the winner is determined as before. If the result is again a tie there is another Heathrow, and this continues until a winner is determined.

Example #1 - Tony has the King of Diamonds. The six cards the banker reveals are, 4 of diamonds,  5 of diamonds,  Queen of Spades,  Jack of Clubs,  2 of Hearts and the 8 of diamonds. The best hand the Banker can make is Queen high, which is beaten by Tony’s King high.

Example #2 – Tony has the Ace of Clubs. The banker’s six cards are, Queen of Hearts, Jack of Hearts, 5 of Clubs, 7 of Spades, Jack of Spades, and 10 of Diamonds. In this example the Banker can make a pair of Jacks, beating Tony’s Ace high.

Example #3 – Tony is dealt the Ace of Clubs. The banker’s six cards are, King of Hearts, 2 of Spades, 4 of Clubs, Queen of Hearts, 5 of Diamonds, Ace of Hearts. Both players’ best hand is Ace-High, so there is a Heathrow. The next six cards the banker receives are: King of Diamonds, 3 of Diamonds, 4 of Spades, 8 of Clubs, 9 of Hearts and Jack of Hearts. The player acting as Tony wins with Ace high, betting the Banker’s King high.

Betting odds. The standard betting odds for Tony '6 and 1' Brown are as follows, depending on the number of cards Tony rejects before accepting a card and whether Tony wins with a wild card. Players may agree to vary these, but these are the recognized odds.

Number of
cards rejected
Tony wins with
the wild club3
Tony wins with
any other card
6 to 1
12 to 1
3 to 1
11 to 1
3 to 1
10 to 1
3 to 1
9 to 1
3 to 1
8 to 1
3 to 1
7 to 1
3 to 1
6 to 1

In case of a Heathrow, the payout odds are different.

If Tony wins on the first Heathrow, the Banker pays 20 to 1.

If Tony wins on the second Heathrow, the Banker pays 30 to 1.

If Tony wins on the third Heathrow, the Banker pays 40 to 1.

[The rules as supplied also give odds of 50 to 1 for the fourth and subsequent Heathrows, but in fact there can never be more than three Heathrows, because there are only three other cards of the same rank as Tony's card in the deck. JM]

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Last updated: 17th May 2013