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Introducing Poker
Ranking Hands
The sequence of play
Betting Interval
Betting Small and Big Blinds
Table stakes
Using wild cards
Probability of holding
First betting interval
seven card stud
Other forms of poker
Texas Hold'em Basic Hand
Five - Six card Omaha
Poker Sense
Slow Playing
Other Gambling Card Game
Seven-card Brag
Gin Rummy

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Seven-card Brag

There are two versions of Seven Card Brag:

  • Players are dealt seven cards each from which they select their best three-card Brag hand, discarding face down the remaining four cards.  The betting then proceeds as in the parent game.
  • Players each put an agreed stake into a pot.  There is no conventional betting.  They then arrange their seven cards into two hands, discarding the odd card face down.  The two hands are also placed face down.  When all are ready, each reveals his better hand.  When the best hand is determined, all players reveal their second hand.  If the same player has the best hand in each case, he scoops the pot.  Otherwise the pot remains for the next hand, to which all contribute a second stale.  Thus with each deal which passes without a winner, the pot increases in size.

A player is not obliged to make his first hand the best possible.  For example, suppose his seven cards were as in the hand shown opposite.  His best hand would be a prial of aces, practically certain to win, with the second hand King high, almost certain not to.  His best bet, however, would be to make his first hand A, K, Q and his second ♥ A, ♥ 2, ♣ 3, discarding the third Ace.  This would give him an excellent chance of the pot.  Each player ’s first hand should remain exposed while the second hands are examined, to ensure the hands are played in the correct order.

Nine–card Barg

This is played in a similar way to Seven Card Brag.  Nine cards are dealt to each player, who makes three hands.  A player winning all three takes the pot otherwise the pot is strengthened and the deal passes to the next player.  The pot can get very large before somebody wins it.


Napoleon, usually called nap, is for two to eight players (it works best with about five), played with the standard pack of cards, which rank from Ace high to low.  The object for the declarer is to make the number of tricks he contracted for, and his opponents’ object is to prevent him.  Cards are cut for first dealer, after which the deal passes to the left.

The play

The dealer deals five cards to each player, one at a time.  There is then a single bidding round, in which each player, beginning with the one on dealer ’s left, has one chance only to bid or pass.  A bid is contract to make a given number of tricks.  The lowest bid is two, and the highest – five – is called ‘nap’.  If all poker players pass, the dealer as last to speak is permitted to bid one.  Any bid must be higher than a previous bid.
            The highest bidder becomes the declarer and he leads to the first trick, the suit of the card led being the trump suit. Players from his left play a card each to complete the trick.  The usual rules of trick-taking games apply:

  • Players must follow suit to the card led if able, otherwise they may play a trump or discard.
  • A trick is won by the highest trump it contains, or if none by the highest card in the suit led.


Settlement is made at the end of each deal.  The declarer receives money from the other players if he makes his contract, but pays them if he does not.

  • If successful, the declarer is paid one unit of cash by each player for each trick he contracted for; if he fails, he pays each player on the same scale.  Overtricks under tricks are of no significance: he either makes the contract or not.
  • If the declarer goes nap, and takes all five poker tricks, he wins ten units of cash from each player: if he fails, he pays them five only.


Some schools allow additional bids.  If during the bidding a player bids napoleon, or nap, a subsequent bidder may overbid with a bid of ‘Wellington’, which is also a contract to make all five tricks (it can happen, as the declarer chooses his own trump suit).  Another player could then overbid with ‘blucher ’ which outbids Wellington (Napoleon, Wellington and Blucher were the three principal commanders at the Battle of Waterloo, but the game was unknown until about 60 years later).  Wellington can be bid only after a bid of napoleon, and blucher only after Wellington.  Wellington and blucher, like nap, win ten units if successful, but if unsuccessful, the declarer pays each player ten units for Wellington and 20 blucher.
            Some schools allow a further bid of ‘misere’ or ‘misery’, an undertaking to lose all five tricks.  It ranks between bids of three and four, and is paid out at three units per player.  Usually it is played without trumps, but some schools prefer the first card led (as before, by the bidder) to denote a trump suit.

Red Dog

Red dog is a simple gambling game of little skill really a social game for enjoyment rather than serious betting.  It is best played if the dealer takes no part as the deal passes quickly round the table it is worth the inconvenience of not playing for a couple minutes.

            Up to ten players can play poker and they bet against a pool rather than a banker or each other, and all must contribute equally to the pool.  If there are ten players, each might contribute two or three units to the pool; if only three or four, perhaps five or six units.

The play

  • The first dealer is chosen by any convenient method and, after shuffling and a cut by the player on his right, he deals five cards to each player, excluding himself, face down (if there are between eight and ten  players, four cards each would be better).  The dealer places the remaining cards face down before him to form a stock.
  • The player on the dealer ’s left looks at his cards and bets any amount from one unit to the entire amount in the pool that he has a card to beat the top card of the stock.  To beat it he must hold a card of higher rank in the same suit.  To make his bet the player pushes his stake towards the pool.
  • Once the bet is made, dealer faces the top card of the stock.
  • If the player has a card to beat it, he exposes it.  The dealer then adds an equal amount from the pool to the player ’s stake and the player withdraws it.  His cards, and the top card of the stock, are collected up and go face down onto a discard pile.  The other players do not see his unused cards.

If the player cannot beat the card exposed, his stake is added to the pool.  He must expose his whole hand face up so that the other players can note the cards he held and then his hand is collected up and discarded face down.
If his hand is so poor that he is unlikely to beat any gambling card game, a player may pay one unit to the pool instead of betting, and his cards are discarded unseen by other players.  A player cannot gain from this, but some think it worthwhile as it prevents the others knowing which cards were in his hand, which they would do if he bet and lost.

  • Then it is the next player ’s turn.
  • Once all of the active players have had their turn, the deal passes to the player on the first dealer ’s left, who shuffles and cuts again.

* Filling the pool

           If at any time the pool disappears by virtue of a player winning it, all players must contribute equally as before to form a new pool of the same amount.
            If at the changeover of dealer the pool has become low (say no more than one chip per player) then the pool should be replenished by all contributing the same number of chips again.


Some schools allow a player to bet that he cannot beat the top card.  If he bets that he will lose, his entire hand must be exposed before it is discarded, whether he wins or not.
            As players need hold no more than two Aces, or perhaps a card higher than 8 in each suit, to have a better than even chance of beating he dealer ’s up-card, the pool gets taken regularly and players find it tedious to continually replenish it.  A betting limit can therefore be imposed players can bet, say, up to five units only.  This cuts down the number of times the pool needs replenishing.


Rummy is really a whole family of card games, which have proliferated in the last 150 years or so, possibly from the old Mexican game of Conquian.
            A popular version is described here, suitable for from three to six players (two players might prefer Gin Rummy, which follows).  The standard pack of 52 cards is used, ranking from King (high) to Ace (low).  The players draw cards to pick the first dealer –lowest deals.  He shuffles and the player to his right cuts.

The object of the game

Each player ’s object is to get rid of all the cards in his hand by laying down sets (melds) of either:

  • Three or four cards of the same rank.
  • Sequences of three or more cards of the same suit.

The play

  • With three or four players, the dealer deals seven cards one at a time to each player, including himself (with five or six players, he deals six cards each ).  The remainder of the pack is placed face down on the table to form the stock, and the top card is turned face up and placed beside the stock to begin a discard pile.
  • Each player in turn, beginning on dealer ’s left, draws a card either from the top of the discard pile, or from the top of the stock.  If he draws from the stock, he does not disclose the card to other players.
  • At this point he can lay down in front of him any melds he has in his hand, and can add a card or cards to an existing melds of his own, or lay off cards on to melds of other players.  He can do any or all of these things on the same turn.
  • He then discards a card from his hand to the discard pile.  He may discard the card that he drew if it is of no use to him.

The first player thus to get rid of all his cards wins the hand.  On his last turn, if he wishes, he can meld all the cards in his poker hands without making the usual discard.
            Should the stock become exhausted before a player has gone out, the discard pile is turned over to become the stock, play continuing as usual.


When one player has gone out the other players are debited with all the unmelded cards left in their hands, on the following count:

  • Court cards (K, Q, J) – ten points.
  • All other cards – pip value.
  • Aces – one point.

Settlement is made after each hand at the rate of one unit of cash per point, or if preferred one per ten points, with the total rounded up to the nearest ten.

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