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These are the rules we use in
our games in order to keep the fistfights to a
minimum. A lot of people ask about pigging, which
is an attempt to win both halves of a split pot
game. I wrote a special section below to clear up
any pigging confusion. Let
me know what you think!
- $20 buy in. We use chips representing
nickels, quarters, and dollars.
- Choose a seat, it's yours for the whole
night. Unlike some games, we don't let people
move around, except in the case of a fistfight.
A big fistfight.
- Someone grabs the cards and shuffles them.
He or she then deals each player a card. First
player to get a jack is the first dealer.
Dealing rotates to the left.
- The player to the right of the first dealer
of the night will be the last dealer of the
- Dealer's choice. You can call whatever you
want. But we reserve the right to groan and
bellyache so that you won't call that game ever
again. You'll find that we can be really
- Ante = $0.10 per player. Our dealer antes
for the full table, so with six players, the
dealer starts the pot with $0.60 just before
- Minimum bet is $0.05, maximum is $0.50.
However, the maximum bet increases to $1.00
- the final betting round; and
- the betting round immediately preceding
the declare, if any.
- Check and raise is permitted.
- If no one opens the first betting round, we
do not throw our cards in for a redeal. However,
the dealer may make this a feature of the game
if the dealer clearly specifies such a change at
the beginning. For instance, this rule is often
changed for draw games.
- Maximum of three raises per betting round,
with the opener not considered a raise.
Therefore, you may have to put in as much as
$2.00 in an early round and $4.00 during the
- A player may buy additional chips from
anyone at any time. We don't sell additional
chips from the bank.
- If a player runs out of chips during a hand
and is unwilling to buy additional chips from
another player, the player may remain until
showdown while the other players contribute
their subsequent chips to a side pot. The player
who ran out chips continues to receive cards and
can win the main pot but cannot win anything in
the side pot.
- Rank of hands, from high to low:
- Five of a kind (only possible if
wildcards are used)
- Straight flush
- Four of a kind
- Full house
- Three of a kind
- Two pair
- High card
- A tie is a tie. We don't break it by
referring to the number of wildcards used or by
the value of some other card in each players'
- Cards speak for themselves. If a player has
the best cards showing at the showdown, they
win, even if they were confused and mistakenly
claimed to have something else.
- Players surviving to the showdown need not
show their hands, but they should, given the
generosity of the cards speak rule.
- In games where the low hole card is wild,
the player may choose whether to treat a hole
ace as high or low.
- A-2-3-4-5 is the weakest straight possible,
just weaker that 2-3-4-5-6.
- At any point before the showdown, the
players involved in the pot may split the pot
amongst themselves as they see fit. If anyone
player still involved in the pot objects, the
game continues to the showdown.
- The best low hand is A-2-3-4-5 and is called
a wheel. The second best is A-2-3-4-6.
- Ignore all straight and flush issues when
evaluating a low hand.
- A pair of aces is lower than a pair of
- Some games allow one player to win half the
pot for having the best high hand and another
player to win the other half of the pot for
having the best low hand. These are called
- After what would normally be the final
betting round were the game merely straight high
or straight low, each player declares which half
of the pot the player seeks. To do this, players
each take two chips below the table
(denomination does not matter). Players now
bring one fist over the table and simultaneously
reveal the number of chips in the fist. Show
- Zero chips to win the low half of the
- One chip to win the high half of the pot;
- Two chips to win both halves of the pot
(known as "pigging").
- One final betting round occurs after the
declare. If one lucky player is the only one who
declared for a particular half of the pot, that
player is called the "lock" and gets to start
the betting round, typically by betting the
maximum. Otherwise, one of the players going for
the high half (including a pigger, if any)
begins the betting.
- If after the declare only two players
remain, neither pigged, and they are not
contesting a half of the pot, the hand is over
and the two simply split the pot.
- An ace is one higher that a king in high
hands and one lower than a deuce in low hands.
Note, however, that because aces "swing" in this
way, A-2-3-4-5 is a straight for purposes of a
high hand and a wheel for purposes of a low
- If there is an uneven amount of money in the
full pot making it impossible to equally split
it in half, the extra amount goes to the player
who won the high half.
- If there is an uneven amount of money one
half of the pot that must be split between two
or more players, the extra amount is returned to
the center of the table and will be won during
the next game.
- Some people just aren't happy winning just
one of two halves of a split pot. Such a greedy
person can win the whole pot if they have the
best hand for each half.
- This gets pretty complicated. Essentially,
we punish piggers who tie or lose to someone
else by denying the pigger any claim to the pot.
If a pigger ties a non-pigger for one side of a
hand, the non-pigger wins that half. The other
half goes to the best player (other than the
pigger) who sought the other half. The pigger
- If two piggers tie either side, neither wins
anything. Note that if the two piggers tie
either side and there is no one else in the
showdown, the pot remains to the next
- If a pigger has more than five cards at the
showdown, the pigger can use one set of five for
the high half and a different set of five for
the low half.
- I find that this rule is best understood
using examples. Assume that the game is five
card stud and the hole card is the one in
- Pigger wins it all:
- Marmaduke has K-K-Q-Q-(Q) and declares
- Fred Basset has A-2-3-4-(6) of different
suits and declares low.
- Farley has A-2-3-4-(5) of clubs and
- Farley gets the entire pot because his
straight flush beats Marmaduke's full house
for the high half and Farley's wheel beats
Fred's 6-4 for the low half.
- Pigger ties, loses all (one opponent):
- Drabble has A-2-3-4-(5) of different
suits and declares low.
- Ratbert has A-2-3-4-(5) of clubs and
- Drabble gets the entire pot because
Ratbert declared high-low and Ratbert's bid
for the low half of the pot, a wheel, tied
with Drabble's wheel. Ratbert gets
- Pigger ties, loses all (two opponents):
- Hagar has K-K-Q-Q-(2) and declares
- Linus has A-2-3-4-(6) of different suits
and declares low.
- Daisy has A-2-3-4-(6) of clubs and
- Linus gets the low half of the pot
because pigger Daisy tied Linus's low. Hagar
gets the high half of the pot, even though he
was beaten by Daisy, because Daisy tied for
low. Daisy gets nothing.
- Conservative players beat pigger, share the
- High has K-K-Q-Q-(Q) and declares
- Lois has A-2-3-4-(6) of different suits
and declares low.
- Chip has A-2-3-4-(5) of different suits
and declares high-low.
- High gets the high half of the pot
because his full house beats Chip's straight.
Lois gets the low half of the pot, even
though Chip's wheel beats her 6-4 low,
because Chip declared high-low and his
straight lost to High's full house. Chip gets
- Conservative player wins pot as piggers beat
- Calvin has 2-3-4-5-(A) of different suits
and declares high-low.
- Hobbes has A-2-3-4-(7) of spades and
- Snoopy has 2-3-4-6-(A) of hearts and
- Calvin gets nothing because his bid for
the high half of the pot, a straight, loses
to another player's bid for the high half of
the pot. In fact, Calvin's straight is lower
than the hands of two others interested in
the high half, as both Hobbes and Snoopy have
- Hobbes gets nothing because his bid for
the low half of the pot, a 7-4, is beaten by
Calvin's wheel, and Calvin bid for the lower
half of the pot.
- Snoopy gets the entire pot because the
other two players declared high-low and
neither won beat their competition for both
- Note that if Snoopy had not made it to
the showdown, the pot would remain and be
played for as part of the next game.
- Note that while some authorities would
divide the pot in thirds because no player
won in full accordance with his or her
declaration, our game does not follow this
- After the last hand has been played, each of
us counts our chips. Each of us places the
amount over the last dollar into the center of
the pot. One player acts as the dealer, shuffles
the cards, and deals five cards face up to
everyone who put money in the center. High hand
wins all the money in the pot. This exercise of
pure luck is sometimes played as a game,
typically called Straight Poker or Cold
- Done properly, this should result in no one
needing any change from the bank.
- We cash out beginning from the person with
the fewest chips. That way, if the bank is
short, it is most likely to hurt the big winner