Classic Game: Poker

Poker is played by using a single deck of 52 cards. The deck has four suits: clubs §, diamonds ¨, hearts ©, and spades ª. Each suit has 13 cards ranked two through ten, jack, queen, king, and ace (the ace can be the highest or lowest card).

Poker games always begin with a shuffle to randomly sort the deck. A brand new deck always has the 52 cards in suit and rank order.

The Shuffle

Most computer languages have a random function, which is critical to most games. A good idea is to set the initial randomizer to a truly unique number like the current time in military format—a 24-hour clock including hour (0 to 23), minute (0 to 59), second (0 to 59), and millisecond (0 to 999).

When the poker game is first entered and a poker variation is selected, the initial deck of suits and ranks in order should be initialized. Using two random numbers (called “A” and “B”) from 1 to 52 (positions of the cards in the deck), you can exchange the two cards so that card in position “A” is relocated to position “B” and card in position “B” is relocated to position “A.” The shuffle can repeat this exchange many times. Some designers like to make this number a prime or an odd number of exchanges. For the most part, a shuffle of 1,000 exchanges is fine.

After the first shuffle of the initialized deck, the remaining shuffles throughout the game start the next shuffle process with the current shuffled deck.

Hand Rankings

The following examples are in ranking order, meaning the best hand has a ranking of one and the worst hand is of rank ten.

Rank

Hand Name

Description of Hand

1

Royal Flush

A, K, Q, J, 10 of same suit 10ª, Jª, Qª, Kª, Aª

2

Straight Flush

Five same-suit consecutive cards 4¨, 5¨, 6¨, 7¨, 8¨

3

Four of a Kind

Four cards of the same rank 7ª, 7§, 7¨, 7©, 6©

4

Full House

Three of a kind plus a pair 3¨, 3ª, 3§, Kª, K©

5

Flush

Five cards of the same suit 3©, 7©, 10©, Q©, A©

6

Straight

Five cards in sequence 5§, 6¨, 7§, 8©, 9ª

7

Three of a Kind

Three cards of the same rank J©, Jª, J¨, 8©, 9ª

8

Two Pair

Two pairs of different rank 5©, 5ª, 9§, 9ª, 8©

9

One Pair

Two cards of the same rank Aª, A¨, 2©, 4¨, 8ª

10

High Card

None of the other rankings Kª, 2¨, 4ª, 6©, 8¨

Poker Variations

Poker has many variations with each variation having its own rules. The more popular poker variations are Draw Poker, Five Card Stud, Seven Card Stud, Chicago Hi, Chicago Lo, Texas Hold ’Em, and Omaha. Most poker variations can be played with two to eight players. The cards are shuffled and distributed by a player called the “dealer.” In all variations, the first card is given to the player to the left of the dealer. A round of betting consists of each player deciding whether he should bet (or raise after the first bet was made) an amount from the group’s agreed-to minimum to maximum, fold (quit this round of play), or check (agree to cover the current amount due to the pot). When three raises to the original bet have been made or all players have checked, the betting round is completed.

In Draw Poker, all players make a small blind bet or ante before receiving any cards. Then players, starting with the player to the left of the dealer, receive cards until each player has five cards. Players carefully look at their cards and determine which cards to keep and which cards to discard. Players can discard up to three cards, four cards if they are keeping an ace. Before discarding, each player may bet or raise, fold (quit this round of play), or accept the current bet amount (check). Then the remaining players discard their cards. Another round of betting occurs where each player can bet, fold, or check. After all players have checked or three raises have occurred, the players must show their cards and the player with the highest hand wins the pot (all bets made). If only one player remains (no showdown), he wins and his cards can remain unexposed.

One variation of Draw Poker commonly played is Draw Poker Jacks or Better, where to open the first round of betting, the player needs a pair of jacks or better (a better ranking like three of a kind) to bet. This lets the other players know that he has a hand containing a pair of jacks or better. If no player can bet (no hand has at least a pair of jacks), the cards are reshuffled and a new round begins (ante and all). This variation can build the pot quite large with antes, and players with bad hands can fold earlier.

Five Card Stud is a variation where each player receives his first card face down (called the “hole”), the next three cards are dealt face up, and the last card is dealt face down. The player to the left of the dealer receives the first card. The player with the lowest first card must bet the minimum. Some variations have all players at the start ante up (a small bet). After all players have received their up card (cards two through four), a round of betting occurs. Then after the fifth card (a down card) has been received by all players, the last round of betting occurs. In each betting round after the first, the player with the highest ranking hand showing (only the up cards) starts the betting process. If only one player remains, he wins the pot and his cards can remain unexposed. Otherwise, the remaining players show all five cards, and the player with the highest ranking hand wins the pot.

Seven Card Stud is a variation where the first two cards are dealt face down (the “hole”) and the third card is dealt face up. On the first card up, the player with the lowest card must make the minimum bet. Each player must either bet (raise), fold, or check. After the first round of betting, the player with the highest ranking hand of shown cards opens the betting round. Cards four through six are dealt face up, and after all players have received that round’s card, betting occurs. The last card (the seventh card) is dealt face down unless in an eight-player game all eight players remain; then the last card is dealt as a community card (shared by all players). If only one player remains, he wins (no showdown) and his cards may be left unexposed. Otherwise, all remaining players must show their cards, and the player with the highest ranking hand wins the pot. If more than one player has the highest ranking hand, they split the pot or the player with the highest suit wins. The suit order is usually spades (the highest), hearts, diamonds, and clubs (the lowest).

Chicago Hi plays exactly like Seven Card Stud, except the player with the highest spade in the “hole” splits the pot. The ace of spades is the highest card. If the last card (seventh card) is a community card, it cannot be used as a “hole” card.

Chicago Lo plays exactly like Seven Card Stud, except the player with the lowest spade in the “hole” splits the pot. Players must decide whether the ace of spaces is the lowest card or the two (deuce) of spades is the lowest. If the last card (seventh card) is a community card, it cannot be used as the “hole” card.

Over the last few years, Texas Hold ’Em and Omaha have become popular variations. Texas Hold ’Em is a seven card poker game where each player receives two down cards and the remaining five cards are called “community cards,” which are shared by all of the players. Each player must make his best five-card poker hand using five out of the seven cards (his two cards plus the five community cards). After the two down cards have been dealt to all of the players, the player to the left of the dealer must make a small blind bet. Then a round of betting occurs where each player must bet (raise), fold, or check. Then five cards are placed face down in the center as community cards.

The middle three community cards are turned over (face up) and another round of betting occurs. Then the first community card is flipped over (face up) and another betting round occurs. Finally, the fifth community card is turned over (face up) and the final round of betting occurs. If more than one player remains, the player with the highest ranking hand wins the pot. Any combination of the player’s own two down cards and the five community cards can be used to make the best five-card poker hand. The pot is split if a tie occurs.

Omaha is a form of Texas Hold ’Em that is popular in casinos and on “poker night.” Omaha is a nine-card poker variation where each player is dealt four down cards and the remaining five cards are dealt face down as community cards (for all players to use). Each player must create the best ranking poker hand by using two of their four cards plus three of the five community cards. Just as in Texas Hold ’Em, after the first four cards are dealt, the player to the left of the dealer must make a small blind bet. Then players must bet (raise), fold, or check. The middle three community cards are turned face up and another round of betting occurs. The first community card is flipped and another round of betting occurs. The last (fifth) community card is turned over and the last round of betting occurs. The players remaining show their cards, and the player with the best ranking poker hand wins the pot.

Special Considerations

A deck of cards contains 52 cards. If there are eight players playing Seven Card Stud, the number of cards needed is 56. If all eight players are still in the game, the seventh card dealt is dealt as a “community card,” where all players must use the same card as their seventh (or down) card.

The same scenario can occur in Five Card Draw poker where there are eight players with five initially dealt cards and each player discards three cards, thereby totaling 64 cards needed. If additional cards are needed in Five Card Draw poker, then before a player’s discarded cards are added to the pile of discarded cards, the pile of discarded cards are shuffled and the discarding player receives his replacement cards. Then the discarded cards are added to the pile of discarded cards. This way no player can receive his discarded cards, and each player will receive replacement cards.

A player’s hand is defined as nine cards, where the first seven cards are used to analyze the player’s hand value (ranking). A hand can hold five cards (Five Card Draw and Five Card Stud), seven cards (Seven Card Stud, Chicago, and Hold ’Em), or nine cards (Omaha), so the maximum would be nine.



Game Design Foundations
Game Design Foundations (Wordware Game and Graphics Library)
ISBN: 1556229739
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 179

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