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How To Play 52 Poker
Tuesday, 15. December 2009
52 poker is sometimes also called Guts or Balls, presumably because a great deal of gumption is required to play this variation of poker. This game is a variation of 5-card draw poker, but it has two major differences. First, there are three wild cards per game. Secondly, any player who loses a round has to match the pot. This can make the game very risky.
To play 52, each player antes up. Then, the dealer declares three cards that will be wild cards and then deals each player five cards. Each player looks at their cards and considers the possible hands that can be created from the five cards they have been dealt. Each player can now discard up to three cards and will be dealt up to three cards as replacement.
Now, each player places a coin in front of them and puts their hand over it so that no one can see whether the coin has been placed heads up or down on the table. If a player places their coin heads up then they are stating their intentions of drawing cards and staying in the game. If a player places their coin tails up on the table they are declaring their intentions of folding for the round. When the dealer tells everyone to do so, the players remove their hands from their coins, showing the other players what they intend to do for the round. Players who chose to stay in the round show their cards. The player with the highest hand wins the entire pot. Those players who stayed in but lost must match the pot. If the pot was $40, for example, the winner takes the $40, but each person who has lost the round must put in their $40, creating a new pot for the next round of play.
At this point, the player to the original dealer’s left hand becomes the new dealer. The new dealer shuffles the cards and deals five cards to each player face down. Even those players who chose to fold in the last round are back in the game, since in this poker game, players only fold for one round. The wild cards remain the same as those in the last round until the pot is empty. The game continues on, with each round being played the same way. Eventually, the game ends when only one person only stays in the game. Usually, this happens when the pot grows very large and frightens away all but the very bravest.
Some poker players set a pot limit in this game to prevent the pot from growing too large. Whether you do or not at your own poker games, it’s important to remember when playing this game that all the wild cards mean that very strong usually win. It is rare to win 52 with a weak hand. Since there is no penalty for folding for a round and since it costs so much to lose the showdown, it is best to fold weak hands rather than play them. Of course, you can only win the large pot at the end by staying in the game when every other player has dropped out, hence the guts needed to stay in this game. In some cases, players with very weak hands stay in and win simply because they are willing to lose a lot.
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