Poker variant idea: even/odd straights

I mostly like to play NLHE, and haven’t played a lot of other styles of Poker. I’m familiar with draw, stud, and omaha, mostly enough to know that they exist, and that they’re not as interesting (draw, stud), or are outright bewildering and unplayable for me (omaha).

I’m a game designer, and I was thinking it’d be interesting to experiment with a poker-like game, where there are an additional two types of “made hands”: Even Straights and Odd Straights.

An Even Straight is a consecutive series of 5 even-valued cards of any suit: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10. Conversely, an Odd Straight is: Ace, 3, 5, 7, 9.

We could potentially further develop this idea to include the face cards in the range of even and odd straights, but I don’t like the idea of having to remember that Jacks and Kings are odd, and Queens are even.

I’d say that if we’re looking at the no-face variant of this hand, then the even straight is stronger than the odd straight, since 10 is higher than 9.

But if we wanted to play with odd/even applied to the face cards, we’d have the Odds series: Ace, 3, 5, 7, 9, J, K and the Evens series: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, Q. In this case, comparing two hands making an even vs. odd straight, which ever of the two has the higher valued top card would be the winning hand.

I’m curious to know if perhaps this hand is used in any actual poker-like games already.

I’d need to crunch some numbers to determine what the ranking of these types of hands should be. I’ll have to sit down and do that sometime soon. My hunch is that without face cards included in the ranges, that these would be rarer than regular straights, and possibly rarer than a straight flush. So I’m not sure where to rank them among the traditional poker hands yet.

There’d also be even and odd straight flushes, which would be even rarer, as rare as the Royal flush, but ranked just below it.

Apart from my curiosity about the odds, and whether anyone has played a game like this before, I’m curious to know if anyone finds the idea appealing. Would you be interested to try a game with these rules? Basically Hold-em (or take your pick if you prefer another poker game), with even/odd straights thrown into the mix of regular hands, ranked appropriately according to their probability weight? Why or why not?

Yes, there are, but they are seldom played in any but “home games.” If you look up Optional Laws and “special hands” in poker, you’ll find four-flushes (beats a pair, loses to two pairs), blazes (all face cards but no full house, beats two pairs, loses to trips)), big and little cats (sometimes called tigers), big and **little dogs, skeets (a/k/a pelters), Around-the-corner straights (the A is an internal card, as in Q-k-A-2-3 for a 3-high straight), and skip straights using only the odds or evens (these are sometimes called Dutch straights or Kilters). A skip straight beats trips, loses to a real straight. One oddity, the skeet (a 9, a 5, and a 2, plus a card between the 9 and 5 plus a card between the 5 and 2) ranks ABOVE the straight but below a flush–but, a skeet-flush BEATS a straight flush. No doubt there have been other “non-standard” hands played in private games, but these were all played widely enough to make it into rule books. Keep in mind Americans have been playing poker for more than 200 years; somebody has tried darned near everything.
ADDED: And, no, although I have played these hands in home games decades ago, I would NOT want to see them played in a more formal setting. It’s tough to remember all the hands and all the what beats whats. Too much chance for confusion and fights. Consider these just “odd and interesting facts.”


This is a link to the most complete set of definitions of poker terms and hands I’ve been able to find. It lists all the weird and wonderful optional hands–and how they rank, both against standard hands and against each other.
There’s some odd stuff in here. Enjoy.

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[quote=“Alan25main, post:2, topic:11439, full:true”]
Keep in mind Americans have been playing poker for more than 200 years; somebody has tried darned near everything.[/quote]

I kinda figured. Thanks for the info and the history lesson!

One thing about these even/odd straights, if you leave out the faces, it makes rag hands more playable. It’d be interesting to see what a game like this would look like in practice, after people have played long enough for advanced strategies to emerge. I don’t know that it’d be better than the already-popular games (I rather suspect not) but it’d interesting to toy around with these ideas.

We sometimes used what we called “skip straights” in our wild home games, and that is the same as an odd/even straight.

We also sometimes played where a “wrap around” is legal. So a hand like QKA23 was considered a straight.

Yup, way back when we used to call them Kangaroo straights. Of course this was at a time when we were all looking for a reason to bet on nearly anything. One of the only goofy things I still find myself playing from time to time is the 7/2 bonus - where if you win the hand with 7/2 (you must show it), everyone at the table has to pay you a bonus. I don’t think these variants would work here but I think that pretty much every variant of the game has been tried by someone at some time.

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That might be simple here to do …
Instead of an “antee”, from your chipstack you refill a bonus. It sits there hand after hand untill someone wins and shows with 7-2… then is refilled. I love to show 7-2 without showdown, just to beg for my bonus…


@puggywug - here’s an interesting variation that seems to be gaining popularity but isn’t firmly established in the US yet, short-deck poker. Played with 36 cards - the 2-5 of each suit is taken out. In this game, a flush beats a full house because they are much harder to make. The A also wraps around to make a straight with the 6,7,8 and 9. I watched a session of it being played and its really high-variance with people seeing tons of flops. Apparently its already been a thing in Macau at very high stakes but is just starting to migrate here.

Another amusing game we used to play is called Southern Cross.

This plays like Hold’em, but the flop is 3 horizontal cards and 1 card above the middle flop card, 1 below in a + pattern. Turn and river add 1 to each line, so you end up with 9 common cards in a cross pattern.

You can only use cards from either the horizontal or the vertical line to make your hand. (not some cards from each line)

Interesting idea! I’ve never heard of that one.

Years ago, we played a variant of this with 5 cards in hand and 9 on the board (5 horizontal + 4 vertical [2 above and 2 below the center horizontal board card]), but we turned the cards 2 at a time (1 from each leg) and the center card was turned last. With a bet before the first cards are turned, there were 6 bets total. We called it “Fiery Cross” or “Big Cross.” SPG, are you thinking 2 card private hands (Hold’em) or 4 cards (Omaha), or 5 (Poker)? With 2 or 4 card hands, there could be a table of 9 seats, but with 5 card hands, there can only be 8 places at the table. Another related variant was “Little Cross,” that only had a 5-card board, and you could seat 9 for that one (those turned 1 card at a time, center card last), so still 6 bets. A note of caution: in a game with this many bets and this many cards, you REALLY want fixed limit betting. The winning hands will average very, very high.

We played with 2 hole cards each.

I will share one of the most bizzare varients I can think of :
The % Bankroll Table/SnG/MTT … I know what you’re thinking :face_vomiting:
This is much more applicable to SnG/MTT, than to Ring… but it is adaptable…

The premise is :
All players entering or buy’n onto the table take the exact same risk.
All players buy-in or Buy-on in the form of a % of thier Bankroll…
All players place thier bet in the form of a % of thier Chipstack…

So the example is :
Bankrolls - Player A ( 20,000 ) , Player B ( 20,000,000 ) , Player C ( 20,000,000,000 )
Sample Buy-ins( of Bankroll ) 10% - A ( 2,000 ) , B ( 2,000,000 ) , C ( 2,000,000,000 )
Sample bet( of Chipstack ) 5% - A ( 100 ) , B ( 100,000 ) , C ( 100,000,000 )

You might say, well that would never happen… Player C would never risk that much to win that little… while I agree, that was just an example… usually most players would end up playing other players with simmilar Bankrolls… But if that #25 ranked player just won’t shut up on how good they really are, a lesser rank’d player can call them out to a fair fight.

Too offen you see 3 players ( or more ) with rediculiously different “ranks” playing on the same table, obviously taking much different risk. like a Rank-750 player , with a Rank-6750 player, and a Rank-825,000 player …Yes the buyin might be only 50,000, but only the Rank-825,000 player is take’n any “real” risk here.

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I’ve forgotten who told me about this a few months ago, but I saw a YouTube video of a game. It looks interesting, but changes the odds so drastically, I wouldn’t want to play it for money anytime soon. Apparently, it’s mostly played in/around southeast Asia at the moment… David Spanier wrote about a similar variation popular in the UK in the 70s where, in some card clubs, they stripped out all the 2s, 3s, and 4s for draw poker games only, but straights didn’t turn the corner in that version and the normal full house continued to beat a flush.

This is a weird idea, but an interesting one. As a game mechanics designer, I can see that the end result of this would be that stacks would be irrrelevant, so the number of chips could be discarded entirely, replaced with a percentage. The result would be an emphasis on the present hand, and the game ends as soon as someone goes all-in and one player wins it all. Probably not too fun.

Yeah, its a wild looking game with tons of variance. A gamblers game for sure. The commentators on the session I watched were talking about how popular it is in Macau at “nosebleed stakes”. Now I don’t know what those stakes are but apparently a $10K entry tournament wasn’t enough to interest many of the top players.

I could see it being really popular on this site where people want to see lots of flops and gamble it up. It would be a nice compromise between NLHE and Royal, IMO.

“prolly not too fun”
@puggywug ,
It would be refreshing to have everyone @ the table,
taking the same risk to play. I did say it was a bizzare
variant, kinda like any Restricted BR games, I can
see 2-3 viable formats, all with same premise…
Equal Risk, Equal Reward.

Someone likes the idea because Upswing Poker just put out their 1st strategy article about it:

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Thanks. Seems like a good basic article. I bookmarked it so I can find it again.

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Some really cool hands at high stakes if you’re interested in watching some of it. It looks like a lot of fun to me. I might enjoy this variation of the game when I’m in a gambling mood: