Paiute is a card game for two to five players, originating in Hawaii. As in Knock Poker, players work to improve their hand by drawing cards from the stock and discarding unwanted cards until they are satisfied with their hand. However, Paiute allows for six-card hands, which makes some of the hand rankings notably different from those in poker.
Object of Paiute
The object of Paiute is to be the player with the best combination of cards at the end of the hand.
Paiute uses one standard 52-card deck of playing cards. We sure would appreciate it if you used a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards for your game.
Paiute can be played just for fun or as a low-stakes betting game. Players should come to a mutual agreement as to whether or not betting should take place, and if so how much the ante should be. All players then ante the agreed-upon amount.
Shuffle and deal five cards to each player. Then, deal one card, face up, to the center of the table. All cards of this rank are wild for the remainder of the hand. Place the deck stub, face down, so that it partially covers this card, thereby forming the stock. Turn one more card face-up and place it next to the stock; this card forms the discard pile.
Game play begins with the player to the dealer’s left. This player draws one card from either the stock or the discard pile, then discards one card to the discard pile. At the end of your turn, the discard pile must always have a different card on top of it than the one that was there at the start of it. You cannot draw a card from the discard pile and then discard it on the same turn.
If the stock should run out before the end of the hand, set aside the top card of the discard pile, shuffle it, and turn it face down to form the new stock. (The top card of the discard pile remains face-up in the discards, keeping it available to be drawn.
When a player is satisfied with their hand, they say “Call” and place their hand face-up on the table. A calling player may discard their sixth card as usual if it is not part of the combination in their hand; if it is, they simply retain it without discarding. Each player then has one more turn to try to complete or improve their hand. If they have a combination that beats that of the previous player that called, they may call as well. This continues around the table to the dealer, with multiple players potentially calling with progressively better hands. The dealer is always the last player to play and get the opportunity to call. (If the dealer was the first to call, the dealer wins automatically, as no other players get a chance to call or improve their hands.)
Winning combinations in Paiute are:
- 1. Five of a kind
- Five of a kind consists of all four of a particular rank of card, plus a wild card (example: 9-9-9-9-2 if 2s are wild). Ties are broken by the rank of the cards (five nines beats five eights).
- 2. Royal flush
- A royal flush consists of A-K-Q-J-10 of the same suit. Competing royal flushes tie.
- 3. Straight flush
- A straight flush consists of five cards of the same suit in sequence (example: 4-5-6-7-8♠). Ties are broken by the highest card; competing straight flushes with the same top card tie.
- 4. Four/two
- A six-card hand containing four cards of one rank and two cards of another rank (example 8-8-8-8-4-4). Ties are broken by the rank of the four-of-a-kind.
- 5. Three/three
- Two three-of-a-kinds (example 7-7-7-3-3-3). Ties are broken by the rank of the higher three-of-a-kind.
- 6. Paiute (two/two/two)
- Three pairs (example Q-Q-10-10-6-6). Ties are broken by the rank of the highest pair, then the middle pair if there is a tie, then the lowest pair, if necessary. A paiute may only be called on the player’s first turn.
It bears mentioning that the traditional poker hands of flushes and straights are not considered winning combinations in Paiute.
The player or players who called with the highest winning combination win the game. If playing for money, the winner takes the pot (which is split if multiple players tie for highest hand).