I was traveling to New York City for a conference. A bunch of us came back to the lobby in our Times Square Hotel at 11:30 PM or so after a long dinner and some drinks afterwards. We were all a bit wired from the day and decided to relax after our night on the town. We decided to play some poker.
Just a conventional game would not do for the occasion. We wanted to play something that reflected the environment in which we found ourselves. I decided to play a game I picked up at the International Hotel in Budapest during my travels there a few summers ago. It had a Hungarian name I didn't know and don't recall. They told me it meant something about the "ladies of the evening" who constantly approached us outside the lobby door. I call it "Pimp My Hand". It is, if nothing else, unique.
Essentially, it is a draw poker game, with a serious, major league twist that makes it different from any game I have ever seen. We generally play it high-low declare – and sometimes we play "roll your own". But for the sake of simplicity I'll just illustrate a high version.
Each player is dealt five cards, as in regular 5-card draw. There is a betting round, beginning to the left of the dealer – again, as in regular draw.
After the draw, however, the game changes, at least briefly. Any player who remains may say, "I pimp my hand", at which point he must put a pre-determined amount of money in the pot, turns his hand face up, and auctions off his hand to the highest bidder – who upon winning the auction may select one card from his exposed hand in exchange for the amount he bid.
Players make the election to "pimp" in sequence, beginning with the first player to the left of the dealer. And they complete this process before any bidding begins. Players may only win one auction per hand. Once they have purchased a single card they may not bid on any future pimped hands. If they do not purchase a card they are awarded a sixth card for free from the top of the deck.
There's then the betting round after the draw, beginning to the left of the dealer. The pot, including all of the fees, goes to the winning hand.
Here's a sample game to give you an understanding of how the game is played.
In this example we are playing $5/10 Pimp My Hand, with a $5 pimping fee. (You want the fee to be high enough to discourage folks, at least to some degree, from just playing for the pimping. On the other hand, you don't want to make it so high that you're just playing draw. I find that the lower tier of betting is about right most of the time. But you might want to adjust it to suit your game conditions).
Here's the line up:
Before the draw:
BIFF Bet $5
SUERTE Call $5
ZULA Call $5
MIKA Call $5
CAJON Call $5
ZULA Discards all but the and draws 4
MIKA Discards the and
CAJON Keeps the pair of 7s
BIFF Keeps the pair of Ks
SUERTE Keeps the pair of Ks.
The Result of the Draw
ZULA Pimps and pays $5 into the pot
MIKA Pimps and pays $5 into the pot
CAJON Doesn't pimp
BIFF Doesn't pimp
SUERTE Doesn't pimp
ZULA's hand is put up for auction:
The three remaining players: CAJON, BIFF, and SUERTE may bid on the hand, beginning to the left of the dealer. Bids are in $1 increments and continue around the table until no one continues to challenge the last bid.
BIFF Bids $1 (he sees that the Ace in ZULA's hand would give him Aces Up)
SUERTE Bids $2 (to block BIFF, who seems interested, and to drive up the price).
BIFF Bids $3
CAJON Bids $4
BIFF Bids $5
BIFF is awarded the hand and picks the As. He gives $5.00 to ZULA.
CAJON, as the second highest bidder is offered the remainder of the hand for his $4.00. He declines.
MIKA's hand is then opened for bidding.
BIFF cannot bid on MIKA's hand because he has already been awarded a card from ZULA's hand.
The bidding is between CAJON and SUERTE
CAJON Bids $1
SUERTE Bids $2
CAJON Bids $3
CAJON is awarded the hand for $3.00. He selects the and pays MIKA $3.00.
SUERTE receives a card from the top of the deck for free. He receives the Qd
CAJON, BIFF, and SUERTE now bet. The betting begins with CAJON, who is to the dealer's left.
BIFF raise to $20
CAJON Call raise of $10
BIFF wins the hand with Aces and Kings.
As I said earlier, the game is often played high-low declare – which makes it even more likely that the hands put up for auction will get significant bids. The game also generates even more action when you add the extra betting rounds of a "roll your own game" when the betting starts when the competing players have stacked up their hands and then turn over their cards one at a time.
As it was, the game kept us thoroughly amused well into the wee hours. This kind of pimping was also a lot safer than the type going on outside our hotel lobby.