When I was growing up, every Holiday was a time for the family and extended family to get together and eat. After dinner, we always played cards. Card games varied, although we normally played several variations of poker. It was relatively easy to learn a new card game and we normally passed the deck around in a clockwise motion, every participant getting a chance to deal and pick the game they wanted to play. There are hundreds of different “dealer’s choice” games, all with different variations. Once someone learns the concept of poker, it is simple to learn a new game or make one up.
One of my favorite games is called “Hidden Card.” This game is played with five cards. As with most poker card games, the players all put a designated “ante” in the center of the pot. This includes money or poker chips worth a certain amount of points. In our family, the “ante’ was usually a nickel and all bets were a nickel as we were not really playing for money, but for fun. The little bit of money we used made the game a little more interesting.
After each player put an ante in the pot, a card was dealt to each of us face down. This card was wild, which meant it could be used to pretend it was any other card. The four cards were dealt to the player face up. If one of the face up cards matched the down card, that card was wild as well.
When playing with wild cards, the highest hand someone can get is five of a kind, and it was not unusual for someone to win the pot with such a hand. Betting on this card game began after the second card was dealt to each player, which was face up. The dealer would then instruct the person with the highest card to bet. If two or more people had the highest card, the person who was dealt the high card first got to commence betting.
In our family, bets were normally a nickel. The person who began the betting could nor normally raise the bet; they would simply bet the ante, which was a nickel and minimum of what you had to pay to stay in the game. Other players would then have the option of “calling” or “raising.” If a person called, they simply put in whatever the existing bet was. If they had a particularly good hand, they may be tempted to “raise’ the bets. One of our big family scandals involved a friend I had over who “raised” the bets to 25 cents.
After each subsequent card was dealt, the players could then again bet. Each time, the person with the highest hand showing got to begin the betting. After all of the cards were dealt, and the betting was finished, it was time to “show” hands. As with any type of poker, the person who raised the bets was the first person to show his or her hand. Others who called got to follow suit. In many cases, the winner had five of a kind, using as many wild cards as he or she had.
Hidden Card is just another one of the many variations of poker card games that is fun for the entire family to play during the upcoming cold, Winter months.