Did you ever play Omaha in a casino poker game and wish that you could use more than just two of your hole cards? That, I think, was the rationale of the poker player who invented this poker game – 2-1-3 — one that I've played with enormous pleasure in a fairly large pot limit game that used to meet weekly in the Boston area.
Each player receives five cards face down. A board is dealt face down at the same time as follows:
X X X
Players may use their hole cards and any vertical or horizontal combination of the cards on the board to make a five card hand. They must use the number of cards from their hand that, when added to the cards in the vertical column or horizontal row on the board, adds up to exactly five cards.
So, for example, they may use two hole cards and the three cards in the first column. Or they may use three hole cards with the two cards in the first row. Or, similarly, they may use four cards with either the one card in the second row or the one card in the third column. Get it? Pretty tricky I think. And that's why I like it.
Players may also replace one card before the final row is revealed. This is not a separate betting round, but they are charged $5.00.
Let's look at a sample game.
You dealt the following hand as follows, clockwise to your left:
DOC (X X X X X )
MING (X X X X X )
JELLA (X X X X X )
JIM (X X X X X )
RICH (X X X X X )
BOB (X X X X X )
The way the game is played, the dealer antes $2.00 and the betting is pot limit. The betting starts to the left of the dealer on the first round. Thereafter, the first bettor is the player who initiated the last betting action.
Doc, to your immediate left, is the first to act:
DOC (X X X X X ) Check
MING (X X X X X ) Bet $2
JELLA (X X X X X ) Call $2
JIM (X X X X X ) Call $2
RICH (X X X X X ) Call $2
BOB (X X X X X ) Call $2
YOU Call $2
DOC (X X X X X ) Call $2
Pot $2 ante plus 7 X $2 = $16
The board cards are revealed one row at a time with betting after each row. There is no declare. The game is played hi-lo with an 8 qualifier as in Omaha8.
X X X
This is a very good flop for you – though not a perfect one. With your hand of As2sAc2cKs You have made three Aces for high going across. Someone could have made an Ace high flush or a straight however.. You made no low going across the top, but you have the potential for a good low going down the first column with you're A and 2 combined with that 3. You also made at least three Aces going down the second column, but it will take you to the last row to see if you made a full house.
The betting starts with Ming since he initiated the last raise.
BOB Bets $10
YOU Calls $10
DOC Calls $10
MING Calls $10
JIM Calls $10
Pot = 5 X $10 plus $16 = $66
X X X
Bob initiates the betting again because he started it last time and it wasn't raised. This card wasn't very good for you. Though you're heading toward the best possible low in the first column, anyone with a 7 low or better in the first row will beat you for low. And the 8 doesn't help your high at all. You'd like to get to draw and see the last row cheaply.
BOB Bets the pot of $66
Pot = 4 X $66 + 66 = $330
Fourth (and final) Round
The replace starts to the dealers left.
DOC replaces for $5
JIM replaces for $5
BOB does not replace
YOU replace the 2s for $5 and receive the 3c
The final row on the board is revealed as follows:
7s 6d Kc
You have hit the perfect card. You now have As 2c Ac Ks 3c. With your Ace, Ace and 3 you have Aces full of 3s going across the top row. You have a qualifying but lousy low going down the first column – though it is the best low anyone can make in that column. But you know someone is bound to have a low that can beat it going across the top, going down the second column or even going across the second row. Still, you are very pleased. Maybe if you can knock out other players with low hands you can scoop the whole thing.
BOB is first to act since he initiated the last round of betting and no one raised.
BOB Bets the pot of $330
YOU Raise the pot by $970, making the bet $1100
DOC Calls $1100
JIM Calls $1100
BOB Calls $970
Pot is 4 X $1100 plus $330 + three $5 replace fees = $4730
BOB reveals 2d 4d 5c 8h 8d
YOU have As 2c Ac Ks 3c
DOC reveals 2h 4c 4s 6c 7h
JIM reveals 3d 4h 5d Jc Kd
BOB, using his 2d, 4d and 5c with the top row makes a wheel.
YOU, using your As Ac and 3c across the top make Aces Full
DOC, using 2h 4c 6c makes 6432A (second best low) across the top
JIM, using his 5,4, and 3 makes a 6543A in the second column.
YOU and BOB split the pot and take down $2,365 for your efforts.
As you can see, the game twists and turns many times before the final conclusion. Still, there is a lot of thinking that goes into it. It was always one of my favorite games in this pot limit poker contest. If you like it, please email me if you're coming to New England. Maybe we can get you to sit down and play it with me and my buddies for real.