OBJECTIVE OF ITALIAN POKER: Form the best hand and win the pot at the final showdown. 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2-9 players 

NUMBER OF CARDS: A modified 52-card deck, chips or money, and a flat surface 

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

TYPE OF GAME: Poker Card Game



Italian Poker is a poker game for 2 to 9 players. The goal of the game is to make bets and win.  

Italian poker is a betting game. Players should determine maximum and minimum bids as well as a common ante for each round.  


The deck is modified based on the number of players. The lowest rank card included is found by subtracting the number of players from 11. For example, in a 5-player game, the lowest card included is the 6. This means there will be a 36-card deck containing cards ranked from 6 (the lowest) to Ace (the highest).  

before the deal, each player pays the ante to the pot. Typically, the ante is equal to the minimum bet. 

After, begin the deal by shuffling the cards and cutting the deck. The dealer passes each player one card, face-down, at a time until each player has a hand of 5 cards. Players examine their hands and a round of betting begins. 


Starting with the player to the dealer’s left, after everyone has looked at their cards betting begins. If everyone checks (or passes) in the first round, all hands are thrown in, and the cards are dealt by the new dealer (the player to the left of the first dealer). The pot stays and players place a new ante. 

To make an opening bid a player must hold at minimum a pair of jokers. If a player does not, they cannot place an opening bid. Once an opening bid is made however all players may participate in the betting regardless of cards held.  


If after the first round of betting there are more than 1 active player, players that have not folded may choose to discard 0 to 4 cards from their hand to gain new cards from the dealer.  

Starting with the player left of the dealer the player may announce how many cards they would like to exchange. If exchanging 1 to 3 cards the player discards facedown to the dealer the cards, they wish to get rid of and the dealer in exchange passes them replacement cards from the remaining deck. When a player wants 4 cards exchanged, they may exchange the first 3 cards, and then once all other players have been serviced, they can have their 4th card replaced. If at any time there are not enough cards in the deck to exchange with the dealer may take all discarded cards and reshuffle them to make a new deck to exchange with.  

If the opening player wishes to exchange the cards that were used to meet the minimum opening requirement, they must declare this before discarding and keep the discarded cards next to them in case they need to prove the opening requirement was met.  

Once all cards have been exchanged and players each have a complete 5-card hand, the next round of bidding begins.  


After each player has had a chance to exchange the second round of betting commences. It begins with the player who started the first round of betting, or the next player in clockwise order if they have folded. Bets can be between the minimum and maximum limits, and the limits are typically doubled in this round. 


After the second round of betting, if the pot has not been won already, active players reveal their hands starting with the last person who bet and moving clockwise. The player with the best hand wins the pot. 

The suits rank Hearts (highest), Diamonds, Clubs, and Spades (lowest). This is used to break ties in equally ranked hands.  

The hands rank Straight Flush (highest), Four of a kind, Flush, Full House, Straight, Three of a kind, Two Pair, Pair, and High Card (lowest).  

For Straight flushes, the minimum possible straight flush will beat the maximum possible straight flush. The maximum possible beats all other straight flushes, and any other straight flush beats the minimum straight flush.  

The player with the highest-ranked hand is awarded the pot.  

Amber Crook
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