September 08, 2008

Funny joker—introduction of wild card

Due to personal hobbies, I always look for weird things and exceptions to satisfy my curiosity. Anyway, we are all geeks in some way. And here is what I find in poker game: some card that can be designated as any card you wish. Yes, it’s the "magic" wild card.

In most cases, wild cards are jokers, or they can be any cards agreed upon by the participating players. Poker rules make it clear that there are two kinds of functions for wild cards: "fully wild" cards and the "bug". A card that is fully wild can be designated by its holder as any cards he chooses with no restrictions. Under this rule, for example, a poker hand with a natural pair and a wild card becomes three of a kind. With wild cards in play, the best possible poker hand is a five of a kind. While the more common application of the wild card in casinos is that it plays as a bug, which is given the rank of ace unless designating it as a different card would complete a straight, flush, or straight flush. Under this rule, a hand such as T-T-Joker-7-3 is just a pair of tens (with an ace kicker), but any four same-suit cards with a bug make a flush, and a poker hand such as 8-Joker-6-5-4 makes a straight.

In particular, five-card draw is traditionally played with a joker in California (which plays as a bug), and also plays well with deuces fully wild. Seven-card stud plays well with one or two bugs, especially when played high-low split. Other games such as Texas Hold 'em and Omaha do not play well with wild cards.

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