Continuing our series of posts about games named after numbers (in the tradition of 13, 21, 31, and 99), now we have Twenty-Eight. Twenty-Eight, named after the number of points available in the game, is a four-player partnership game played with a stripped deck of only 32 cards.
Object of Twenty-Eight
The object of Twenty-Eight is to be the first partnership to score ten victory points by collecting jacks, 9s, aces, and 10s.
Twenty-Eight is played with a special 32-card deck. Starting from a standard 52-card deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, remove all of the 6s through 2s from the deck, leaving the 7s through 10s, the face cards, and the aces in each deck.
Twenty-Eight is a game for four players. The players divide into two partnerships, with partners sitting across from one another, so that the turn of play alters between partnerships when going clockwise.
Additionally, score is kept in Twenty-Eight, so you’ll need some way of keeping track of that. Most people will use pencil and paper, but there’s no reason you can’t do something like use the faces of a ten-sided die to keep score if you have one handy.
Shuffle and deal four cards to each player. The remainder of the deck is set aside for the time being.
Not only does Twenty-Eight use a 32-card deck, but the cards in that deck rank differently than in most other games. Jacks and 9s are placed higher than their conventional place in the ranking, giving us a ranking of J, 9, A, K, Q, 10, 8, 7. Suits are all equally important at this stage in the game.
After the cards have been dealt, bidding for the right to fix the trump suit begins. The player to the dealer’s right bids first, bidding any amount from 14 to 28, signifying the trick score that their partnership will collect on that hand. This player does not have the right to pass, although all subsequent players do. The next bid is then placed by next player to the right, and so on until three players have passed in succession. If the currently-active bid is your partners, you must bid at least 20 to overcall their bid. The final bid forms the contract for that partnership, which become the declarers, while the other partnership becomes the defenders.
Once the right to choose trump has been decided, the player with that privilege takes one card of the desired trump suit and places it face down on the table in front of them (although it is still considered part of their hand), keeping the suit secret from the other three players. At least initially, the trump suit will not be known by the other three players, and therefore will have no effect in the game. Once this is done, the dealer will deal four more cards to each player, giving each player a total of eight cards.
The player to the dealer’s right leads to the first trick. Players must follow suit, if able; the highest card of the suit led wins the trick. The player who selected trump may not lead a trick with the trump suit unless they have no other option, and they may not use the face-down trump card in a trick. Collected tricks are not added to the hand, but rather kept in a discard pile face down in front of one of the partners. The individual player that won the trick leads to the next one.
If a player is unable to follow suit, they call for the trump suit to be revealed, after which the face-down card is added to the bidder’s hand and can be played at any time. After this has occurred, any player who is unable to follow suit must play a trump if able; otherwise, they may play any card. A trump may only be played when a player cannot follow suit. When a trump has been played to a trick, the highest trump wins the trick, rather than the highest card of the suit led. If the trump suit was never revealed, the player who chose trump reveals the face-down card and plays it to the eighth trick.
After all eight tricks have been played, the declarers’ trick score is calculated from the cards captured in tricks:
- Jacks: three points
- 9s: two points
- Aces and 10s: one point
The declarers then score victory points as follows, depending on their bid:
Game play continues until one partnership has reached a score of ten victory points. The partnership with the highest score at that point is the winner.
Five-Card Draw Poker
Five-Card Draw was once the most popular form of Poker played in the United States, and it’s one that most casual players are still the most familiar with, due to the fact that it’s among the simplest forms of poker. Although it has long since been upstaged by Texas Hold’em and Omaha in both casino play and many home games, it still has a loyal following in dealer’s-choice home games. Five-card draw was also used the basis for video poker machines, which were invented by IGT in 1979 and became a fixture on casino gaming floors in the 1980s.
Object of Five-Card Draw Poker
The object of Five-Card Draw Poker is to have the highest-rank poker hand at the time of the showdown.
As with most forms of poker, Five-Card Draw uses the standard 52-card deck. As usual, it’s an excellent idea to choose Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, the most durable playing cards in the world. You will also need poker chips to bet with. Players should determine betting limits, if any, as well as if any cards are to be designated as wild.
All players ante. Shuffle and deal five cards, face down, to each player. The deck stub is set aside and becomes the stock.
After players have received their hands, a betting round ensues, following the usual norms for betting in poker.
Thereafter, the player to the dealer’s left is given the opportunity to discard any number of cards face-down from their hand, and are immediately dealt the same number of cards from the stock, restoring their hand to five cards. (Note: some players’ house rules state that the maximum number of cards that can be discarded is four, and the held card must be an ace; otherwise, a player may only discard three cards. This is to prevent the stock from depleting too rapidly and to discourage players from “sucking out” on the draw.) Should the stock be exhausted before all players have drawn, the discards are collected and shuffled, and further draws are dealt from the discards.
After the draw is completed, another betting round occurs. After this betting round, the hands are exposed, and the player with the highest hand, according to the standard rank of poker hands, takes the pot.
Follow the Bitch
Follow the Bitch is a variant of Seven-Card Stud with a curious mechanic for determining wild cards. Because which rank of card is wild can change—sometimes multiple times—during the game, hands that are strong early on can be utterly worthless by the time the showdown rolls around.
Object of Follow the Bitch
The object of Follow the Bitch is to have the highest-ranked poker hand at the time of the showdown.
Follow the Bitch uses a standard 52-card deck of playing cards. Don’t use a paper deck that will just get beat up, sticky, and gross. Use a washable, durable deck of deluxe Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards.
You will also need something to bet with, such as poker chips. Make sure to agree to betting limits (or lack thereof) prior to starting.
All players ante. Shuffle and deal two cards face down to each player, then a third card face up.
If, at any time, a queen is dealt face up, the next card dealt face up after it becomes wild. For example, if Alpha is dealt a queen face up, and Bravo, sitting to their left, is dealt a 9, then 9s are wild. 9s will remain wild until the next face-up queen is dealt. If the final card dealt face up in a particular round is a queen (i.e. no cards follow it), then there are no wilds until the next queen appears.
The player with the strongest hand, when taking into account only their face-up cards, gets the right to bet first. Betting otherwise follows the usual norms for betting in poker. After the betting round concludes, two more cards are dealt to each player, one face down and one face up. Another betting round ensues, led by the current strongest player. One last pair of cards is dealt to each player (again, one face down and one face up), giving them an end total of seven cards. There is one final betting round, again led by the strongest player. Then all of the face-down cards are revealed. The player with the strongest hand, using five of the seven cards available to them, and taking into account whatever wilds happen to be at the end, is the winner.
Vanilla Follow the Bitch can often fall prey to limited betting, because one player is obviously showing a much higher hand than their opponents. To counter this tendency, it is often played with Low Chicago rules.
The Low Chicago is the lowest face-down spade. Not all spades will be contenders for Low Chicago; the lowest spade possible, the A♠, may well be in the deck stub, or be dealt face up. The A♠ would therefore not be eligible to win. If the A♠ is eligible, then it will be the Low Chicago. Otherwise, it will be the 2♠, or if it’s not eligible either, then the 3♠, and so on.
The Low Chicago is determined at the time of the showdown. The player holding the Low Chicago splits the pot with the winner of the normal Follow the Bitch game. The players will often be uncertain whether a player is betting because they have a strong hand, or because they have Low Chicago. As a result, the betting is livened up.
Of course, if one player has both the strongest hand and Low Chicago, they take the entire pot.
3-2-1 Drop is a simple poker game that only uses three-card hands. Like Iron Cross and 3-5-7 (which it greatly resembles), players are not directly betting against each other, but instead risking the amount in the pot for a chance at winning it.
Object of 3-2-1 Drop
The object of 3-2-1 Drop is to accurately judge whether you are likely to have the best hand, thereby winning money when you do and avoiding losses when you don’t.
3-2-1 Drop, like most poker games, requires the use of a standard 52-card deck of playing cards. As always when such a thing is needed, choosing Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards is an excellent option.
You will also need something to wager with. Chips are the best thing to use, but you could also bet with coins, Monopoly money, matches, or whatever is handy.
All players ante. Shuffle and deal three cards to each player, as well as an extra three-card hand to the pot.
All players examine their hands to determine what they hold. As this is a three-card poker game, straights and flushes do not count, and the highest hand possible is three of a kind. Additionally, the two red kings are wild. Players then decide whether to play or fold.
Now, each player holds their hand, face down, about an inch or so above the table (low enough that none of their cards are exposed but high enough that it’s clear they are not on the table). The dealer then calls “3…2…1…drop.” On “drop”, players wishing to fold drop their hand to the table; any player that keeps hold of their hand is playing it. The hands are exposed, with the highest hand taking the pot. Losing players pay the amount of the pot into the pot for the next hand, and players that folded are not required to pay anything.
In the event that only one person plays their hand, the extra hand dealt to the pot is exposed, with the lone player hoping to beat it. If the player wins, they take the pot, and all other players ante. If the player loses, they pay the amount of the pot, and the money remains there for the next hand.
Game play continues until the cows come home. The losers of the last pot of the session pay only half the amount of the pot directly to the winner of the final hand.
Iron Cross is a unique poker game involving five community cards. However, unlike Texas Hold’em and Omaha, you don’t get to use all of the cards…and you don’t even know what some of them are!
Object of Iron Cross
The object of Iron Cross is to win money by having the best poker hand possible using the four cards in your hand and a selection of the five community cards.
Like almost all poker games, Iron Cross uses the standard 52-card deck of playing cards. Like almost all poker games, you’ll have a better time if you’re using Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards.
All players ante. Shuffle and deal four cards to each player. Deal five cards face down to the center of the table in the shape of a cross, then turn two of the cards at the ends of the cross face-up. (Refer to the diagram for an example layout.)
Starting from the player to the left of the dealer, each player examines their hand and determines which of the community cards they will be using:
- Knowns: the two face-up cards.
- Unknowns: the three face-down cards.
- Row: the three cards (one face up and two face down) in the horizontal row. In the example image, this would be the 5♠ and the two cards to the right of it.
- Column: the three cards (again, one face up and two face down) in the vertical column. In the example, this would be the 8♦ and the two cards below it.
Players also have the option to fold.
After each player has declared, the hands and the face-down cards in the cross are revealed. Whoever has the best poker hand, using the four cards in their hand and the cards they selected from the table, wins the pot. All other active players (not the ones who folded, however) pay the amount of the pot into the center of the table, forming the pot for the next hand. (Option: the amount that is paid can be capped at the amount in the first pot, to keep betting amounts lower, if desired.)
In the event that only one player doesn’t fold, or if all players but the dealer fold (the dealer being compelled to play if all other players fold), that player plays “against the pot”. After their hand is revealed, four more cards are dealt to the board (forming a three-by-three grid) and the player’s hand is compared to the best five-card hand that can be formed using the nine cards on the board. If the player wins, which is unlikely as they are facing a best-out-of-nine-card hand, they win the pot and all other players must ante again for the next hand; otherwise, the pot remains for the next hand and they pay the appropriate amount into the pot.
Game play continues until you’re sick of it. For the final hand, losers pay half of the amount they would otherwise pay to the winner of the final pot.