One of my favorite poker card games is also one of the oldest forms of poker played. It is called “Jacks or Better to Open, Trips to Win.” This is standard draw poker and can be played with five or seven cards, although is more fun with five cards.
The players put an ante in the pot, which is an amount of money that has been predetermined prior to the game. The dealer then deals five cards to each player, in clockwise rotation, all face down. The players then look at their cards and, beginning with the player to the left of the dealer, get a chance to “open.”
To “open,” means to commence betting. Players cannot open unless they have a pair of Jacks or higher in their hand. If a player cannot open, he or she passes the option on to the next player, until someone has a pair of jacks or higher and can open the game. If someone opens, they normally bet the amount of the ante and the other players follow suit or fold, which means they drop out of the game. After betting is finished, the players are then allowed to discard three cards (four if they have an Ace in their hand) and get new cards from the remainder of the deck. At this time, the players, beginning with the person who opened the game and rotating clockwise, once again bet.
The thing that makes this game so exciting is that someone has to have trips or better, which means three of a kind or greater, to win the game. Many times someone can open with a pair of Jacks, but not get the third jack in the draw. In many cases, no one can claim the pot and the cards are then returned to the dealer and dealt again. This also happens during the first round if no one can open. No one wants to fold as if they do, they are out of the game completely, even if the cards are all returned to the dealer. This form of draw poker is one that is best played with friends who don’t mind losing a little bit of money.
There are many strategies in playing poker, but regardless of skills, card players still have to rely on luck. When playing poker for money, players should be careful not to get carried away and bet more than they can afford to lose. Although you may be holding a very good hand, you have no guarantee that someone else does not have a better hand.
There are generally two types of poker: Stud poker and Draw poker. In stud poker, the players must keep the cards they are dealt. There is no discarding any cards or getting new cards, as in draw poker. Both stud poker and draw poker can be played with either seven or five cards, but only five cards count as the player’s hand. The highest hand one can get in poker is a straight flush. If wild cards are used, five of a kind is the highest hand one can attain.
Poker is generally the most fun when playing with family and friends for only a small amount of money.