Poker Hands Form the Basis for This Fun Asian Playing Card Game

David Pham, Johnny Chan, J.C. Tran, Scotty Nguyen, J.C. and the list goes on. Three of these poker players, Pham, Nguyen and Tran are ranked in the World Top 10 Poker Players by World Poker Rank. Johnny Chan holds the distinction of being the only poker player to win two consecutive World Series of poker Main event Championships. One reason why these poker players and so many others from Asian countries have experienced success on the World Poker Tour and in the World Series of Poker might be the games that they played as children. Asian children are playing Big 2, Thirteen Card and other card games that involve knowledge of poker hands. These games require recognition of poker hands and developing an aggressive playing strategy. They also teach patience and knowing when to take control and to begin aggressively attacking your opponents. I was recently introduced to Big 2 while visiting with some Asian acquaintances. They taught me a version of Big 2 that is non-competitive and is excellent for family members of all ages.

Let’s begin with the mechanics of the game. The Deuces are king in Big 2. They are the highest ranked cards able to beat Aces. The suits also have strength. Spades are the strongest suit followed by Hearts, Clubs and Diamonds. Therefore, the Deuce of Spades is the highest ranking card in the deck. To illustrate, the Deuce of Spades beats the Deuce of Hearts, Deuce of Clubs and the Deuce of Diamonds. The Heart Deuce beats the Club and Diamond Deuce. The Club Deuce beats the Diamond Deuce. This pattern continues through all the card ranks.

‘Big 2’ is a card game for family members of all ages. The number of players can include as many players as you would like to accommodate. For larger numbers of players simply add more decks of cards. Each hand involves the players trying to be the first to lay down all of their cards. Play continues until there is only one player left holding cards. That lucky person gets to deal the next hand.

The hand commences with all the cards being dealt out to the players clockwise around the table. Depending on the number of players, one or more players may receive an extra card. Players should then sort the cards in their hands arranging them into poker hands in groupings of single cards, pairs, two pairs, triples, four of a kind and five-card groups. Sorting your cards and planning the order in which you might wish to play them is an important aspect of strategy.

The first round of the hand begins with the player holding the weakest card in the deck, the Three of Diamonds, leading that card. The Trey of Diamonds may be played as a single card or in any legal card grouping that is, a pair, two pair, triple, for of a kind, or five-card combination. Play proceeds around the table with each player in turn playing the same number of cards, as initially led, that are of greater value than the previous played card(s). Both rank and suit must be taken into account. For example, a pair of fives, 5 of Hearts and Five of Clubs, would lose to a pair of fives of a higher suit, 5 of spades and 5 of Diamonds. The 5 of Spades is the strongest card in the two sets of pairs. A pair of Fives would also lose to a pair of a higher rank, for example, a pair of sixes beats the pair of fives because the sixes are the higher ranked pair. Cards are played on top of the pile of previous cards played in the middle of the table. Players need not play when their turn comes up, they may pass instead. Passing is either a play of necessity, when the player is unable to beat the previously played card(s), or strategic, i.e. the player is able to beat the previous card, but does not wish to break up a poker hand such as a pair, triple, flush, etc, to do so. However, the player may choose to play if play continues around the table and returns to that player.

The first round continues until no player is able to beat or chooses not to beat the previously played card(s). The player who made the last play now controls play and leads the first card(s) to start play for the second round. This player may lead with any of the one of the legal card combinations. Strategy comes into play in knowing when to split a poker hand or when to make a strategic pass. Having power allows you to proactively control how you play your cards. In some instances, this may require giving up power if you are confident that you can regain power at the critical time. At the critical time, playing first will enable you take control and play a series of strong hands in succession that will allow you to run out your cards. In the final showdown at the end of the hand, the player who leads the final card or cards wins even if the other player is able to defeat the played card or cards.

For each of the ensuing hands, the players who are the first to play all of their cards will initiate play in the next hand whether or not they have the Trey of Diamonds. That player will also be dealt the first card by the losing player from the previous hand. In this fun game, if a new player enters the game, that player deals the cards and the opening play will then revert back to the player with the three of Diamonds initiating play.

This is a fun family game that can continue as long as there are people who wish to play. Scores are not kept so players can join in or drop out as they see fit. This is the family friendly, fun version of Big 2. With slightly different rules it is also a fun adult game that is played for wagers. Whatever your preferences it a fun game that can help the player develop their poker hand knowledge and develop card playing strategies.

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New Card Game – How To Play Crazy

Want to learn a new card game? One that’s easy to learn to play? When I joined a local social club, the members were playing a game called “Crazy”, and now my group of friends get together most weekends to socialize and have some ‘Crazy’ fun.

Crazy is fast, fun and can be played with any number of people from 4 to 8. If you had to, you could even squeeze in 1 or 2 more.

You play it with 2 decks for 4 players, 3 decks for 5 or 6 players and 4 decks for more than 6. You also use 2 jokers per deck.

This game resembles Gin Rummy, but there are a few rules that differ.

To start the game, one of the players deals a card face up to each player. High card deals. In case of a tie, the players tied get another card until the tie is broken. The high card is the dealer, and deals 10 cards to each player.

The reason this is called ‘Crazy’, is that the cards can be dealt any way the dealer wishes…forward, backwards, any number at a time to any player, any way you want to until each player gets 10 cards. Each person counts their cards face down, and if there is a mis-deal to anyone, the dealer either takes back, or deals more cards until each player gets 10 cards.

The dealer then determines the wild card, by turning over, or cutting the cards. So, if a 5 of spades is selected, ALL fives are wild regardless of suit. Jokers are also wild. If a Joker is selected, only Jokers are wild.

The players pick up their cards and sort their hands. Runs must be a minimum of 3 cards, and must be the same suit. Sets must be a minimum of 3 cards, which must be all different suits. No sets or runs are played until the end of the hand.

The player to the left of the dealer draws off the deck. If the deck is split so it’s easier for the players at the ends of the table to reach, any player can draw a card of either stack when it’s their turn.

The player can either keep the drawn card and discard another card into the middle of the table, or can discard the drawn card. If a player discards a wild card by mistake, all the other players immediately stand up and give him/her a round of applause.

Cards cannot be picked up from the discard pile. They are now dead.

Play continues around the table. You do NOT have to wait until the player before you has drawn and discarded…you can draw a card ahead of time, so when it’s your turn to play, you will already know which card to discard. HOWEVER, don’t put the drawn card in your hand. Look at it, but leave it face down on the table in front of you. If you do put it in your hand, and a player ahead of you goes ‘Out’, you have to count all of the cards in your hand.

As soon as a player can lay down ALL 10 of his/her cards by making runs or sets, and still have a discard, the hand is over. All the other players then lay down whatever sets or runs that they have. The rest of the cards are then counted…10s and faces are worth 10, Aces are 1, and the rest are face value. Wild cards, including Jokers, are 0.

One player keeps score…players names across the top, and the scores beneath their names.

The game is to 100. When a player goes over 100, he/she can ‘Buy Back In’ at the next highest player’s score. The game ends when all the players go over 100 except one. That player is the winner.

We play for ‘units’. These ‘units’ can be matchsticks, tokens, chips or (I hope I don’t get in trouble by suggesting this) cash.

The game costs 3 ‘units’ to play. The first ‘Buy Back In’ is free, succeeding ones cost 2 ‘units’.

A running tally is calculated at the end of each game.

Whoever wins the first game, is the dealer for the next game.

A fun night with good friends… a few drinks… perhaps a snack…

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