OBJECTIVE OF BASEBALL POKER: Bluff everyone out of the round, or win the pot by having the best hand
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 – 9 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 52 cards
RANK OF CARDS: (low) 2’s – Aces (high)
TYPE OF GAME: Poker
INTRODUCTION OF BASEBALL POKER
Baseball is a variant of stud poker that adds special rules for the 3’s, 4’s, and 9’s. These card ranks were selected because of their numerical relevance to the game (three strikes, four balls, nine innings). Baseball rules can be played with both five card and seven card stud. The instructions below will detail how to play stud poker with five cards.
THE DEAL & THE PLAY
Each player should begin the game with the same total value of chips or whatever is being wagered.
This game uses a standard 52 card French deck. Any player at the table may shuffle the deck and begin dealing one card at a time to each player. The first player to receive a Jack becomes the first dealer.
The dealer decides the ante for the round although an ante is not required. The value of chips they throw in as the ante must be met by anyone who wants to participate in this round.
Dealer shuffles the cards thoroughly and offers a cut to the player on their right. The player may cut the deck or refuse.
Moving left around the table, the dealer doles out one card face down to each player. This is called the hole card, and it should not be shown until the showdown. Following that, dole out one card face up to each player. After each player has been given their first two cards, the first betting round may begin.
The player with the highest card showing bets first. If more than one player shows the same highest ranking card, the player closest to the dealer’s left bets first. After that player bets, each player gets a chance to fold or meet the bet. Once the first betting round has been concluded, dealer doles out one card face up to each player giving them a hand of three cards.
Another betting round begins with the player showing the highest hand betting first. That player may bet more chips or check. Each player after may fold, check, or bet. If a player bets, that bet must be met by any player who wants to stay in the hand. A player cannot check if any previous player has bet. They can only meet the bet or fold. Once the second betting round is complete, dealer doles out a fourth card face up to each player.
Another betting round ensues beginning with the player who has the best poker hand showing. After the betting round ends, dealer doles out a fifth card to each player that is also face up. One more betting round is completed. Afterward, it is time for the showdown. Any player who has not folded reveals their cards. The player with the best poker hand takes the pot.
As stated above, 3’s, 4’s, and 9’s are special cards that affect the game.
A player who receives a 3 as their hole card may use that 3 as a wild.
Any player who receives a 3 face up has two options. They may match the pot by throwing in an amount of chips equal to the current total of the pot. Doing so makes all 3’s wild. If the pot is matched, no other player must meet the bet. The second option for the player is to fold. This keeps the threes from becoming wild.
Any player who is dealt a 4 is immediately dealt another face up card. No matter how many cards a player has at the showdown, they can only choose five.
All 9’s are wild.