OBJECTIVE OF NAPALM: Increase and win the pot, as well as try to win side bets.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4-7 players

NUMBER OF CARDS:  standard 52-card

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




Napalm is a poker variant with an unknown origin. It is believed to have been created in the Northeastern United States. The game is popular on college campuses in the Northeast, such as Brandeis University in Massachusetts. The interesting aspect of the game is the need for consistent bluffing and moving a large amount of money quickly. The game also bears another name, Whipsaw, and has similarities to games named 3-5-7. 

The goal of Napalm is to win the pot, which increases gradually, by collecting an agreed upon number of tokens. Also, players will attempt to win side-bets, each of which matches the amount staked in the pot.


Prior to starting the game, each player must place an ante (typically one chip). Players must have poker chips and tokens. Tokens do not have monetary value, but, if you collect five you win the pot.

First Stage

The dealer begins by passing each active player two cards. Players examine their cards.

Beginning with the player to the left of the dealer and moving clockwise, each player declares “yes” or “no.” This indicates if they believe they have the best two card hand. A pair of Aces is the highest, pairs beat single cards, and highest value single cards win if there is no pair. Two card flushes and straights do not have value.

Players only have one chance to declare, except for the dealer, who may declare “Yes” after everyone else said “No.” Players can then challenge the dealer by changing to a “Yes.”

After all the declarations are completed, there are several options:

  1. If a single player has said “Yes,” they are awarded one token.
  2. If 2+ players have said “Yes,” they secretly show each other the cards in their hand. Whoever has the highest value hand earns a “side bet” that is equivalent to the size of the pot.
  3. In the event of a tie between Yes hands, no chips are paid out to the players. If there are players with worse hands who have said “Yes” as well, they pay each winner chips equal to the size of the pot.
  4. However, if none of the players declared “Yes,” there are no payouts.

Second Stage

The second stage begins with the dealer dealing each player 3 additional cards to their hands. Players make declarations again. However, players declare based on if they think they have the lowest five card hand. Aces are still high and straights and flushes count. The best low hand is: 2-3-4-5-7. Tokens and side bets follow the same mechanism as stage one.

Third Stage

The dealer deals each player a final 2 cards. Players now have a seven card hand. Players make declarations based on if they believe they have the highest five card hand. Tokens and side bets are squared away as usual. After, cards are thrown in. The hand is finished, cards are shuffled, and the deal moves to the left. A new hand starts at stage one and players place another ante.


Players place an ante with each new dealer. Once a single player collects five tokens, or another target number of tokens, the game ends and they win the whole pot.




Nakoa Davis

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