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Indian Poker: Card Game Rules & How To Play?

Poker is arguably the most popular card game in the world! But there are many spinoffs and variants to it. Indian Poker is one of the most unusual as it flips many of traditional Poker conventions on its head. 

Before we talk about the rules, let’s take a deep dive and look at the game itself. 

What Is The Indian Poker Card Game?

What Is The Indian Poker Card Game?
Image Credit: www.tracy-carter.com

Indian Poker is a very interesting game, sure to liven up any traditional Poker game. In Indian Poker, players stick or hold a card to their forehead. This is said to represent an Indian feather or headdress, hence the game’s name. 

You can add this new gameplay mechanic to many Poker-style games like Stud, Texas Hold ’em, and others. However, when many people refer to Indian Poker, they usually mean one card Poker. 

This game is a simpler version of traditional Poker; however, it’s also played very differently because you have a card constantly on show. In addition, the game starts with every player placing an initial bet/ ante. 

Every player is dealt a single card facedown. Then, each player must carefully turn their card upwards and hold it to their forehead. Every player should be able to see the card you’re holding, but you can’t see it! 

Once this is set up, the betting phase begins. A player can call, raise, or fold during this part of the game. We’ll talk about these in the rule section below. Once the betting round is over, the remaining players will enter the showdown! 

Yes, this sounds very Wild West, doesn’t it? But what it means is the player with the highest-ranking card takes the pot. If two players have the same value hand/ card, the pot is split. 

Under standard rules, there is no ranking of suits; however, some rule variants change this. Before we look at the rules in more detail, let’s look at what you need to play Indian Poker. 

What You’ll Need To Play? 

To play Indian Poker, all you need is a deck of cards and a group of friends. While it would make a good two-player card game, it’s better with a larger group. If you are playing down at the pub, and Indian Poker makes a great pub game, then we recommend waterproof playing cards. But any deck of cards will do the job. 

These Bicycle Muralis Playing Cards will be a great choice if you want something extra-special. The more vibrant design is sure to look stylish on any tabletop. Of course, you can also use Poker Chips too. 

On Sale Bicycle Muralis Playing Cards

While they aren’t essential to the game, you can also use Poker Chips. These will make the betting phase of the game much more straightforward. This colored set of 160 Poker Chips would make a great choice. 

On Sale Colored Poker Chip Set

Rules and Gameplay

Indian Poker Rules and Gameplay

The Aim of The Game 

To win Indian Poker, you need to have the best card. Well, technically, that’s not true; you need to outwit your opponents. This game is tricky because every player can see their opponent’s card, but not their own. 

So, you need to think carefully when betting. Your opponent’s cards might not seem impressive, but they could still be more valuable than yours. Let’s look at how you set up a game of Indian Poker and take a more in-depth look at the rules. 

The Set-Up 

The first thing to do is choose a dealer; this can be done in any way you want. There are no advantages/ disadvantages that come with being the dealer. The dealer should shuffle the deck well and then deal a single card to each player facedown. 

Carefully each player should lift their card to their forehead and hold it in place. It’s essential that each player doesn’t see their own individual card when doing this. Once every player is holding their card, the round begins. 

Playing Indian Poker 

The first thing to do is open with the starting bet/ ante. Every player should place their chips/ money in the center. This begins the proper betting phase, and in your turn, you can call, raise, or fold.

1. Call

This is simply betting the amount wagered by the player before you. It’s normal for many players to call during the betting phase. 

2. Raise

You can raise the bet, and then other players will have to meet the raised amount to stay in the game. However, you can only raise by betting an equal amount to the current wager.

3. Fold

If you don’t think you’ll win the round or can’t meet the bet, then you can fold. You will forfeit any money/ chips you already bet if you fold. 

The betting round will continue until players have raised, called, or folded. It might last several turns or be over quite quickly. Once the remaining players raise, the betting phase is over, and showdown commences. 

On the showdown, all remaining players show their cards. The card with the highest value wins the round and takes the pot. If two players have the same value card, they split the pot between them. Under standard rules, the card ranking is the standard Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and then the 10 – 2 numbered cards. Joker cards aren’t typically used.

Rule Variations 

There are quite a few rule variations to Indian Poker. One of the most common is to include the two Joker cards in the deck. The Joker cards become the most valuable cards in the deck if you do this. 

Another rule is to rank the suits before you start playing. This adds a lot more variety to the card rankings. For example, you could say red suits are higher than black suits or rank all four suits individually. 

Indian Poker – A Fun Twist On Traditional Poker

Indian Poker is quick and easy to play and a lot of fun! It’s a great party game that can be enjoyed with larger groups and holds a surprising amount of strategy.

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