Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Confusion (100x9)

Confusion: five card stud, high-low, roll your own. You get two down cards, and turn one up. Bet. Another down card, roll one, bet.. Repeat twice, until you have one down card and four up. Key concept: your hole card and all others like it in your hand, are wild. Another twist: now you can replace one card, up or down, for a buck. Bet, then declare: one chip in you hand, you’re going high; none, low; two, scoop. But if you try to scoop, you must win both ways, or you win nothing. Final bet. Let’s see the cards.

Process Reflection: This is the compact, freeze dried, 100-word explanation of my favorite poker game, which we call "Confusion" for reasons which become increasingly clear every time you play it. Poker purists sometimes object to wild card games, but this is a game that combines strategy and luck. It's a game which involves a lot of strategic moves as you are creating your hand (by rolling your up cards and choosing which card to discard) and leads to dramatic and surprising showdowns. In the hands pictured, for example, the apparent heart flush (5-6-8-K) looks like a loser to the apparent full house. But if the down card in the heart flush is a king, it's really a 5-6-7-8-9 straight flush, which would usually be a pretty good hand, except that the hand at the top of the screen (Jd, Jc, Qc, Kc) could in fact be a royal flush if the down card is a jack. And worse, the apparent full house (K-K-7-7) may very well be five of a kind, if the down card is a seven or a king. The heart flush is a guaranteed winner for half the pot, since it's the best low hand, but if he gets greedy and tries to scoop, he'll lose everything if either of the other two people have made their hands.

Full disclosure: those of you who are paying close attention to the picture have probably figured out that this isn't a game of confusion at all. It's a game of six card Anaconda, with two cards left to roll. But the picture serves to illustrate the possibilities.

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