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Fun Home Poker Game Rules - Jackdaw

Fun Home Poker Game Rules - Jackdaw 0001

I've hosted and visited many, many home poker games over the past 34 years that I've been playing poker with people other than my family. In that time I've played over a hundred variations of poker. Other players usually introduced these games. I've always wanted to introduce a game that I invented that would become successful. The true test would be whether anyone other than I would call the game when it was their deal.

Unfortunately nearly every game that I created died. Though I tried all kinds of twists and turns, invariably I'd call the game and no one else would. They'd use their turn to call their lame game. Mine would die.

There is one exception however – a game I created and that actually caught on and became popular. It isn't yet a standard casino game – but I'm very proud of it and present it here for you to play in your own home game. It is called "Jackdaw".

Jackdaw is a variation of stud. It can be played just as stud can be played: 5-card, 6-card or 7-card – and high low, high low declare, or high low eight or better. What I'll describe for you is the game I most often call. 6-card Jackdaw high low declare.

In every respect, the game is exactly like 6-card stud. Players eventually end up with a down card, four up cards, and a final down card. Players declare whether they are high or low after they have completed their bet on the final down card. They then have a final betting round – with the pot being awarded to the best-declared high and the best declared low.

But there is an added twist that makes the game very different from a standard stud game. There is bidding for the upcards as I'll explain.

After each player receives one down card each, as they normally do in 6-card stud, a card is placed face up in the middle of the table. This card, rather than going to the first player to the left of the dealer as would be the case in a normal 6-card stud game, is instead awarded to the player willing to pay the highest price for the card.

Bidding begins to the immediate left of the dealer. Each player bids in turn, with the bidding going around the table clockwise, each player in turn getting an opportunity to outbid the last bidder. The bidding continues clockwise around the table, many times if necessary, until everyone has declined to bid higher than the last bid. The card is finally awarded to the highest bidder and the money bid for the card goes into the pot. Once the card is awarded, each player, beginning to the immediate left of the dealer, and skipping the player who has just bought his card, receives an upcard from the dealer.

Here's how this would work in a seven-person game of Jackdaw.

After dealing each of the seven players a downcard, the dealer deals the Ac in the center. This is a valuable card, potentially, since it can be used to make an excellent low or a high hand.

The player to the left of the dealer bids $1 for the card. The next player bids $2. The third player passes, the fourth player passes, and the fifth player bids $3. The sixth player passes. The seventh player passes. The first player, who had initially bid $1, now outbids the fifth player and bids $4.00. The second player passes. The third and fourth players pass again. But the fifth player bids $5. The sixth player, who hadn't bid the first time, comes in now with a bid of $6. The seventh player passes. The first player passes. Everyone passes around to the fifth player who bids $7. The sixth player passes and the seventh player passes. The fifth player wins the bidding, is awarded the Ac, and immediately places his winning bid of $7.00 in the pot. Each player, beginning on the dealer's left, receives an upcard. When the round is finished each player has one up card. A round of betting ensues.

This continues for each round of upcards. The only change is that the option to bid begins successively with each player starting two to the dealer's left – so the same player doesn't have to start the bidding on each betting round.

Let's look at a complete game, with you the reader getting to play a hand, so you can see how much action and what interesting twists are sometimes involved in this fascinating game.

This is a five-person game with a $2.00 limit on the first two rounds of betting and a $4.00 limit on the remaining rounds of betting.

The first card is dealt as follows:

SAM: (x)

TONY: (x)

You: ({a-Clubs})

FOOM (x)

GAXI: (x)

The first exposed card is dealt in the middle. It is the Ah. GAXI is the dealer so the bidding starts with SAM:

(Remember, these are not bets but bids for the first card)

Player name (hole) bid

SAM: (x) $1

TONY: (x) $2

You: ({a-Clubs}) $3

FOOM (x) $4

GAXI: (x) pass

SAM: (x) pass

TONY: (x) pass

YOU: ({a-Clubs}) $5

FOOM: (x) pass

GAXI (x) pass

SAM: (x) pass

TONY: (x) pass

You put your winning bid of $5 in the pot and are awarded the Ah (to go with your Ac, giving you a pair of Aces to start).

The remainder of the players gets their first upcard as follows:

SAM: (x){j-Spades}

TONY: (x){9-Spades}

You: ({a-Clubs}){a-Hearts}

FOOM (x){7-Clubs}

GAXI: (x){6-Diamonds}

You are high and bet $2.00.

You: ({a-Clubs}){a-Hearts} $2

FOOM (x){7-Clubs} Call $2

GAXI: (x){6-Diamonds} Call $2

SAM: (x){j-Spades} Call $2

TONY: (x){9-Spades} fold

There is a total of $13.00 in the pot (Your $5 winning bid and $2 from four of the five players).

The second round begins with an exposed card in the middle. It is: {2-Diamonds}.

The bidding would have started with TONY, the second player to the dealer's left (SAM, the first player to the dealer's left, started it on the first hand) but he has folded. So the bidding starts with you.

The bidding progresses as follows:

You: ({a-Clubs}){a-Hearts} $1

FOOM (x){7-Clubs} $2

GAXI: (x){6-Diamonds} $3

SAM: (x){j-Spades} pass

You $4

FOOM: pass

GAXI $5

You pass

FOOM pass

The {2-Diamonds} is awarded to GAXI, who places his winning bid of $5 in the pot. All remaining players are dealt an upcard as follows:

SAM: (x){j-Spades}{a-Diamonds}

You: ({a-Clubs}){a-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}

FOOM (x){7-Clubs}{6-Clubs}

GAXI: (x){6-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}

You are still high on board and you check.

You: ({a-Clubs}){a-Hearts}{q-Diamonds} Check

FOOM (x){7-Clubs}{6-Clubs} Bet $2

GAXI: (x){6-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds} Call $2

SAM: (x){j-Spades}{a-Diamonds} Call $2

You Raise to $4

FOOM: Call $2

GAXI: Call $2

SAM: Call $2

There is now $34 in the pot. $13 from the last round plus the $5 winning bid and $16 bet.

The third round begins with an exposed: {2-Spades}

The bidding starts with FOOM this time.

FOOM (x){7-Clubs}{6-Clubs} Bids $1

GAXI: (x){6-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds} Bids $2

SAM: (x){j-Spades}{a-Diamonds} Passes

You: ({a-Clubs}){a-Hearts}{q-Diamonds} Passes

FOOM: Bids $3

GAXI Passes

SAM Passes

You Passes

The {2-Spades} is awarded to FOOM, who places his winning bid of $3 in the pot, and everyone else receives a card as follows:

SAM: (x){j-Spades}{a-Diamonds}{10-Spades}

You: ({a-Clubs}){a-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}{q-Spades}

FOOM (x){7-Clubs}{6-Clubs}{2-Spades}

GAXI: (x){6-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{a-Spades}

You are high with your pair of Queens and bet as follows:

You: ({a-Clubs}){a-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}{q-Spades} Bet $4

FOOM (x){7-Clubs}{6-Clubs}{2-Spades} Call $4

GAXI: (x){6-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{a-Spades} Raise to $8

SAM: (x){j-Spades}{a-Diamonds}{10-Spades} Call $8

You Raise to $12

FOOM: Call $8

GAXI Raise to $16

SAM Call $8

You: Call $4

There is now $101 in the pot: $34 from the prior round, $64 from the betting on this round, and $3 from the winning bid.

The fourth round begins with the exposed {10-Clubs}. SAM, holding (x){j-Spades}{a-Diamonds}{10-Spades}, bids $5 and is awarded the {10-Clubs}.

The rest of the cards are dealt as follows:

SAM: (x){j-Spades}{a-Diamonds}{10-Spades}{10-Clubs}

You: ({a-Clubs}){a-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}{q-Spades}{7-Hearts}

FOOM (x){7-Clubs}{6-Clubs}{2-Spades}{3-Clubs}

GAXI: (x){6-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{a-Spades}{5-Hearts}

You are high with your pair of Queens and begin the betting as follows:

You: ({a-Clubs}){a-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}{q-Spades}{7-Hearts} Bet $4

FOOM (x){7-Clubs}{6-Clubs}{2-Spades}{3-Clubs} Call $4

GAXI: (x){6-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{a-Spades}{5-Hearts} Raise to $8

SAM: (x){j-Spades}{a-Diamonds}{10-Spades}{10-Clubs} Call $8

You Raise to $12

FOOM Call $8

GAXI Raise to $16

SAM Call $8

You Call $4

FOOM Call $4

$170 is now in the pot: $101 from the prior round plus $64 from this round of betting and the $5 winning bid.

Each player receives a downcard: You are still high and have the first option to bet:

You: ({a-Clubs}){a-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}{q-Spades}{7-Hearts}({j-Clubs}) Bet $4

FOOM (x){7-Clubs}{6-Clubs}{2-Spades}{3-Clubs}(x) Call $4

GAXI: (x){6-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{a-Spades}{5-Hearts}(x) Call $4

SAM: (x){j-Spades}{a-Diamonds}{10-Spades}{10-Clubs}(x) Raise to $8

You Call $4

FOOM Call $4

GAXI Call $4

There is now $202 in the pot: $170 from the last round plus $32 in this round.

This betting round is followed by a declare round, which will be followed by a final betting round. If one player is the only player going high or low then he must call all bets but he cannot initiate the betting or raise.

SAM: Declares High

You: Declare High

FOOM Declares High

GAXI Declares Low

The betting begins with the high of the high hands, which is you. GAXI, as the lone player going low, cannot raise.

You: ({a-Clubs}){a-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}{q-Spades}{7-Hearts}({j-Clubs}) Check

FOOM (x){7-Clubs}{6-Clubs}{2-Spades}{3-Clubs}(x) Check

GAXI: (x){6-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{a-Spades}{5-Hearts}(x) Check

SAM: (x){j-Spades}{a-Diamonds}{10-Spades}{10-Clubs}(x) Bet $4

FOOM Calls $4

GAXI Calls $4

You Call $4

$218 is in the final pot, $202 from the prior round plus $16 in this round.

Players reveal their hands as follows:

SAM: {j-Hearts}{j-Spades}{10-Spades}{10-Clubs}{10-Hearts} Tens Full WINS $108 for HIGH

You: {a-Clubs}{a-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}{q-Spades}{j-Clubs} Aces Up

FOOM {7-Spades}{7-Clubs}{6-Clubs}{2-Spades}{2-Hearts} 7s Up

GAXI: {7-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{a-Spades}{5-Hearts} 7 low WINS $108 for LOW

This game, as in many games that involve unconventional twists and turns, favors the smart and attentive player who can figure out the twists and their implications more quickly than the less facile player. The bidding gives the attentive player extra information with which to judge his opponent's cards. He needs to remember what cards he bid on and use his recollection of how the hands developed to determine the likely down cards. It's also necessary, when playing with skilled players, to sometimes make early bids to mislead opponents into thinking you are going one way when you are actually going another.

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