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Jesse May
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The Major Games
Wild Games
Private games organised within schools of poker players, whether in the casino or the home game, often think up novel changes to established games and also whole new games. They are called wild because most of them have complicated rules and the use of wild cards. Wild cards are cards which are nominated to be able to take on the value of any other card for the purpose of making stronger hands. They are generally much more unpredictable than the normal games and hence they are wild.

There are so many wild games in play that we can't go through them but we can show the ways players have livened up their games.

  • Jokers The most basic way to juice up a game is to play with a deck that has two extra cards, Jokers. A joker can become any card in your hand and therefore increase the number of chances you have of making a hand. Nowadays this is considered crass and would not generally be played by experienced players.
  • Wild Cards Instead of using the old fashioned Jokers, players now nominate a card or cards that become wild. For instance Deuces Wild is popular for draw games. Basically any deuce (a two) in a hand can be used as any other card. A pair of twos would be very strong because they are both wild.
  • Pairs Here the wild cards are any pair, trips (three of a kind) or quads (four of a kind). Sometimes games using this form of wild cards raise the best possible high hand to Five of a Kind. For example 2-2-2-2-Ace is Five Aces. So is 3-3-3-A-A.
  • Any Card Any one card can be wild.
  • Nominated Hand Choose only one type of hand to make. For example Pair Flush means any pairs, trips or quads are wild and the top hand is A-K-Q-J-T suited (not counting as a Royal flush).
  • Colours Hands must be made entirely from either red or black cards, hence this is sometimes called Red or Black. Various rules may apply here, for instance in 7-card stud you must have at least five of one colour to qualify, failure means you have no hand and lose.

Combining one of more of these rule variations into a game can really create a whole new way of playing poker. Purists will argue that it is not poker but private games want a friendly way to participate in a game of friends and the wild variations are a great leveller of skill. There is also fun to be had in bringing new ideas into the school.
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