This page is based on a contributions from P.J.Ackerson and Bill Maher, supplemented with information from Peter Sarrett's poker variations web site.
- The cards
- The deal
- The betting
- Asking for an extra card
- The showdown
- Other web pages about 7-27
Seven Twenty-Seven is an American vying game for 4 to 10 players, in which players try to make a hand whose points total as near as possible to 7 or 27 points. There are several variations, especially on what counts as nearest, so it is essential to agree on the house rules you will use before beginning to play. You also need to agree the amount of the initial stake (ante) and the betting limits (the minimum and maximum amount by which the bet may be raised at one time).
A standard 52 card pack is used. In this game kings, queens and jacks are worth half a point each, and the numeral cards are worth their face value. Aces are worth 1 or 11 points each - and you are allowed to count the same ace as 1 for the purpose of making 7 and as 11 for the purpose of making 27. Thus five-ace-ace is a perfect hand that totals exactly 7 and 27 at the same time.
Everyone places the agreed initial stake in the pot and the dealer gives one card face up to each player and then one card each face down. The players look at their face-down cards and then each player in turn, starting with the player to dealer's left, may ask for an additional card, face-down.
Variation: Many play that each player is initially dealt two cards face down and one face up.
There is then a round of betting, which works in the same way as Poker betting, as follows. The player to dealer's left may either pass or bet any amount within the agreed limits, placing the amount of the bet next to the pot. If this player passes, the next player in clockwise rotation has the same options, and so on round to the dealer. If everyone passes the betting round is over.
If someone bets, subsequent players in rotation have the following options:
- to fold - which is to drop out of the play, abandoning any money already bet on the hand;
- to call - which is to stake additional money, so that the total amount you have stakes is equal to the total amount staked by the last player who bet or raised;
- to raise - which is to put in the amount needed to call, plus an additional stake anywhere between the agreed minimum and maximum.
If all the players except one fold, the remaining player takes all the bets, the cards are thrown in (without showing any of the face-down cards) and the next player deals.
As long as more than one player remains in the game, the betting round continues until the stakes of those remaining in the game are equalised - which occurs when after one player bets or raises all the other players fold or call. The game then continues to the next stage - asking for an extra card.
Asking for an extra card
After each round of betting, if more than one player remains in the game, the remaining players, beginning with the one nearest to dealer's left and continuing clockwise around the table, can each ask for an extra card to be dealt face down or keep their hand as it is.
If no one wants an extra card there is a showdown. If one or more players do take extra cards there is another round of betting followed by another chance to take a card. It is legal to pass your chance to take a card, and then to take a card on the following round.
Everyone who has not folded exposes their cards. The winners are the player whose total is nearest to seven, and the player whose total is nearest to twenty-seven. They each win half of the money in the pot. In the case of a tie, the tieing players split the relevant part of the pot. For example if two players had 6.5 points and one had 25, then the player with 25 would take half of the pot (for being nearest to 27) and the players with 6.5 would take one quarter of the pot each (for being equally near to 7).
Some play that extra cards requested to the players are dealt face up rather than face down.
Some play that a player who has refused to take an extra card on two consecutive occasions is 'frozen' and cannot add any more cards to their hand.
Some play that the turn to start the betting round moves to left after each betting round - i.e. the first betting round starts with the player to dealer's left, the second betting round with the second surviving player from dealer's left, and so on.
Rather than splitting the pot between 7 and 27, some groups require the players to declare which total they are going for, with the option of going for both. As in High-low Poker, declarations can be simultaneous or sequential, and a player going for both has to win both to take the pot, otherwise they win nothing. See the poker betting page for further details.
Some who play with declaration nevertheless play that a player whose hand scores exactly 7 and 27 wins the entire pot even if another player ties for either 7 or 27.
Players disagree about how to treat totals that are near 7 or 27 from above rather than from below. This is where it is really important to agree which version you play before beginning. The main possibilities I have seen are as follows:
|Variation||Explanation||Example: if four players have 5.5, 7.5, 26, 28, who wins?|
|Nearest wins||Just the difference from 7 or 27, above or below, counts||7.5 wins half the pot, 26 and 28 split the other half|
|Over is bust||You have to be below or equal to the target to win. You can't win the 7 pot if you are over 7 or anything at all if you are over 27||5.5 and 26 win|
|Under beats over||If the differences are equal, it is better to be under the target number than over it.||7.5 and 26 win|
Other possibilities (over beats under, inside beats outside, outside beats inside) are mentioned on Peter Sarrett's web page.
Some play that in case of a tie, a hand with fewer cards beats one with more: for example 27 made up of four cards beats 27 made up of five cards.
Some play that picture cards (K, Q, J) can be counted as either 0.5 or 10 (a player with more than one picture can count some as 0.5 and others as 10).
The "over is bust" version is from P.J.Ackerson's contribution. In this version it is possible that the 7 pot will not be won, if no one who stayed in is below seven. Presumably if no one is below 7 the whole pot will be won by the player nearest to 27. When playing "over is bust", anyone who draws a card that takes their total over 27 must immediately fold their cards and drop out. Thus it is possible that the hand ends in the middle of the process of taking extra cards, because all players except one is bust. The last remaining player then takes the pot.
Other web pages about 7-27
There was a short description Seven Twenty-Seven on Peter Sarrett's Game Report site.