Though the name of this card game uses a very familiar phrase – “poker”, Whiskey Poker is unlike traditional poker in that there is no “drawing” from the dealer, but from the “kitty” hand in the center of the table. This game allows up to nine players at any time, making it a great at-home game to enjoy.
To play a game of Whiskey Poker requires a standard deck of fifty-two playing cards with the jokers removed. Additionally, players will need chips to make their bets. Each player begins the game with five chips, and each time the cards are finally shown, the player with the lowest hand must place a chip in the pool.
The object of the game is to get the best traditional poker hand possible by exchanging cards from the kitty in the center of the table.
The game begins when the dealer gives five cards to each player; all face down and then adds the five card kitty hand to the center of the table as well. Once all cards are dealt, the players can look at their hand.
The player next to the dealer is the one with the first chance to bet on their hand, and they can do one of three things:
• Pass – this allows the player to keep their cards, make no bet and enter into the next round of betting should the hand continue.
• Exchange – this requires the player to lay their full hand face-up on the table and take the kitty hand from the center. The discarded hand is now the kitty hand.
- Knock – the player knocks on the table, which means they are keeping their cards, but bringing the hand to a close. A player who knocks does not get another chance, and all other players have only a single bet left.
- This brings the game into the second phase, and players can do the following:
- Take a single card – this requires the player to discard one card and take a single card from the kitty.
- Take all five cards – this is the same as the initial round, but now the cards are face up.
- Knock – this too is the same as the first round, and signals an end to the hand. Each player remaining must make their last turn.
At this point the hands are shown. The player with lowest hand must submit a chip into the pool, and the winner gets the entire pool. The chips are submitted by each player who enters into the game. For example, a game of Whiskey Poker with the maximum of nine players would have a pool with nine chips plus the loser’s chip, which means a total of ten chips. Because each player receives five chips to begin with, it can take only three hands to see a player eliminated. Once a player has no more chips remaining they must exit the game (or buy the next round of drinks, which is another traditional price for losing).