OBJECTIVE OF BUDDHA’S FOLLY: Create the highest ranking hand by accepting or rejecting cards.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2-8 players

NUMBER OF CARDS: 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



Buddha’s Folly is a poker variant that is played in many homes or gambling venues in The United States. It requires poker players who are patient and experienced as it is a game requiring significant strategy. Buddha’s Folly is played with match pot betting, similar to the game Guts


The players place the ante, a fixed entrance bet pre-determined by players before the start of the game.

The dealer proceeds to deal each player 5 cards face-down. Players examine their hands but keep them secret from the other players. For the first hand, the dealer is chosen randomly.

After, the dealer flips over the next card at the top of the deck. With the card face-up, the dealer offers it to the player to either their left or right. The player may:

  • accept the card, put it in hand, and discard 1 card from their hand to the offered up to the next player by the dealer, or
  • they may reject the card and pass it on to the next player on either the left or right.

The next player in line has the same options, they may reject or accept the card offered up to them. This continues on around the table, taking possibly several revolutions, until a card is rejected by every player.


At this point, players may decide if they are in or out. This may be done all at once or in a predetermined sequence declared by the dealer at the start of the game. Players who remain in the game reveal their hands. The player with the highest ranking five card hand takes the pot. To learn about poker hand rankings, click here. Players who remained in the game at showdown but lost must pay to the pot the amount equal to what is in it. This will form the pot in the next deal.

Note, if players choose to declare if they are in or out simultaneously and all the players try to drop out, the player with the highest ranking hand pays the ante for all the active players in the next hand.

Nakoa Davis

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