Poker Bull

Other Names: Liar Poker, Poker Bluff.

This is a game that combines the games of Bull and Poker together. I learned this game in my junior year, while I was with Manuel in Penn State for a math contest several years back. Us two and some other people, like Joshua, Anna and Justin had fun for hours.

Players: At least 3 players.
Cards: Standard deck of 52 cards with or without jokers. Best if the jokers aren't taken out. (Usually played with 2 jokers)
Ranking of Cards: Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 (low). In addition, Ace can also be low in straights and straight flushes (5-4-3-2-A), which would be the lowest ranking straight [flush].
Ranking of Hands: 5 of a kind (highest) [and with jokers only], Royal Flush, straight flush, 4 of a kind, full house, flush, straight, 3 of a kind, 2 pair, pair, high card (lowest). Also, natural hands beat the same hands with jokers, and likewise one-joker hands beat the same two-joker hands. (Example: four sixes and a king beats three sixes, a king and a joker.)
Variation #1: Some play that either a Natural Royal Flush (or even a Royal Flush with Jokers) is higher than 5 of a kind.
Variation #2: Some play that with-jokers hands are better than no-joker hands, and that hands with 2 jokers beat the equivalent hands with 1 joker, etc.
Order of Suits: Spades (high), Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds (low).
Variation #3: Some play Spades (high), Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs (low).
Object: To be the last one with cards remaining.

Initial Deal: Dealer deals five cards to each person (if 7 or more players, deal four or less cards to each player), beginning to his left.
Play of the first hand: The player to the dealer's left begins by saying an unguaranteed poker hand which can be made from all the cards being held by the players, say, a flush of clubs. (If there are more than 13 cards, he can't say a pair, since there is guaranteed to be a pair in all the cards combined.) The next player to his left then has to say a higher or more specific hand. And what I mean by specific is you have to say a hand which equals his, but adding at least one more element in the hand, say if he says a flush of spades with a jack, six and four, the next person is being more specific if he says a flush of spades with a jack, nine, six and four. He is not being specific if he says a flush of spades with a jack, nine, seven and three. (But he is saying something higher, though.)
End of hand: The bidding of hands continues until the person who has to say a hand says "call" or "bull." When this happens, everybody shows their cards and tries to make the hand that was called from all the cards being shown. If the called hand can be made, the caller loses a card in the next hand being dealt. Otherwise, the person who was called loses a card in the next hand being dealt. If a player loses his last card, he is out of the game.
Variation #4: Some may play that a higher hand than the one which got called can be made, the caller loses a card. (This is a rule from a game called Liar Dice.)
Subsequent Deals: The dealer deals the same number of cards to each person, except to the one who has just lost a challenge. That person will receive one less card than he did the previous deal.
I once played where when there is a certain number of cards left, then something happens:
Variation #5a: If there were jokers in the beginning, then there are no more jokers for the rest of the game.
Variation #5b: Once the total number of cards the players are holding reaches a certain number the first time (say, 20), then a recharge happens. A recharge is that every player who is still in the game gets one extra card.
Play of Subsequent Hands: The person after the person who called in the previous hand begins the next round. Otherwise, play is outlined under "Play of first hand."
Winner: The winner is the one who has cards left after all of the other players have lost all of their cards.

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Page last updated on: November 27, 2008

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