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Beginners guide to Whiskey Poker Poker

Beginners guide to Whiskey Poker

by Manthra Koliyer Posted on 03 Oct, 2020

Gutshot is back with a poker variant yet again! Whiskey Poker is an American card game that is based on poker combinations and it’s mechanism is entirely different from poker. The game mentioned in card games books during late 19th century is classified as a commerce game; A game in which players improve their hands by exchanging cards with a common hand on the table.


The game can be played with a standard 52-deck cards amongst 2 to 9 people. The objective of the game is to collect the best 5-card poker hand, by exchanging cards with a spare hand dealt to the table. The first dealer is chosen by drawing cards (lowest deals). Before each deal, each player is supposed to contribute one chip to the central pool.

The dealer shuffles and the player to dealer’s right cuts. The dealer than deals out the cards, beginning with the player to dealer’s left. One more hand should be dealt than the number of players. The spare hand, is kept face down in the centre of the table. The deal continues until each hand has five cards.


First phase, the spare hand is face down: 

  1. Pass: You keep your cards, but reserve the right to exchange cards in the future. The turn passes to the next player.
  2. Exchange: You place your hand face up on the table, and take the spare hand in exchange. You are not allowed to look at the spare hand before deciding to do this, and you do not show the spare hand to the other players. Your discarded cards form the new spare hand, and the player to your left is next to play as usual.
  3. Knock: You keep your cards and give up your right to exchange. This causes the play to end before your next turn.

When it comes to the dealer’s turn, if no one has exchanged, and the dealer does not exchange either, then after the dealer has passed the spare hand is turned face up.

Second phase the 5-card spare hand is face up on the table:

  1. Exchange one card: You discard one card from your hand face up to the table and take a card from the spare hand in exchange for it.
  2. Exchange five cards: You discard your whole hand face up and take the whole spare hand in exchange for it.
  3. Knock: You keep your cards and signal that the play will end before your next turn.

The play continues until someone knocks and the other players then have one more turn. When the turn reaches the (first) player who knocked, everyone shows their cards. The player who has the best hand according to standard ranking of poker hands takes all the chips from the pool. An alternative method of scoring is where each player starts with a small number of chips, usually five. When the cards are shown, the holder of the lowest hand must pay one chip to a central pool. The first player to lose all five chips to the pool loses the game, and must pay for the whiskey consumed during the game. Now that’s how the game gets its name!

To learn more such variants, keep reading GutshotMagazine.com

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