OBJECTIVE OF ABYSSINIA: To survive the game with the highest hand or lowest hand and win the pot at the final showdown.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3-7 players

NUMBER OF CARDS: standard 52 card deck

RANK OF CARDS: A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2

TYPE OF GAME: Casino/Gambling/Poker



Abyssinia is a variation on Five Card Stud PokerUnlike traditional Poker games, which are “closed,” or cards are kept secret, in Stud Poker hands are open. Players keep hole cards which remain secret until the showdown.

Abyssinia specifically is a high-low variation on stud poker which resembles Buy Your Own Poker’s mechanism in that player begin the game with no cards and buy either known or unknown cards to create a poker hand.

Click here to learn more about Poker, Poker Hand Rankings, and Poker Betting Variations.


Players begin by placing their antes to the pot. The dealer then, after shuffling the pack, deals each player two cards face-down. Players examine their hands. Then, the dealer deals two more cards: the cards are placed on one side of the face-down pack of cards. The upcard nearest the deck costs two units and the upcard farthest the deck costs 1 unit.

Beginning with the player sitting to the left of the dealer, players take turns picking to either a) buy a card that is face-up or b) buy an unknown card from the deck. The price of a card depends upon its rank:

  • 2-5: 2 units
  • 6-K: 1 unit
  • Ace: 4 units

Cards bought from the deck are dealt face-up so that the proper price is paid out with accountability. If a face-up card is bought one from the deck is flipped over to replace it.

The Betting

After each player has bought their first card a round of betting occurs.  Betting begins with the player to the left of the dealer, players either fold or buy 1 of the 3 cards available. This goes on until all active players (those who have not folded) have 5 cards in hand. The highest ranking hand and the lowest ranking hand split the pot.


This game can be played with everyone’s hands revealed since, technically, everyone already knows what people have. On the other hand, players may conceal cards as they buy them for a secret hand. In this method of play, players must declare high or low before the showdown.

Nakoa Davis

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