Non-poker Poker Variants

List maintained by Peter Sarrett at Last modified: Aug. 23, 1995 (8/23/95).

Non-poker Games

This class includes games which do not use the standard poker hand rankings to determine a winner.

Seven Twenty Seven (7/27)
Screw Your Neighbor
Boo Ray

Seven Twenty Seven (7/27)
INITIAL DEAL: two cards down, one card up to each player
PLAY: The object is to get as close to 7 or 27 as possible. As in Blackjack, Aces are worth 1 or 11 and numbers are worth their face value. Face cards, however, are worth half a point (.5). The player to the dealer's left is the lead player, with the lead rotating each round. Each round, each player starting with the lead has the opportunity to take one additional card. The lead then starts a round of betting. This continues until nobody takes an additional card. After a final betting round, players declare high/low/both and hold a showdown.
WINNER: Closest to 7 and closest to 27 split the pot. 5-A-A wins the entire pot, even if other players have 7 or 27. 6 and 8 are equidistant from 7 and would split half of the pot.

  • Low beats high (so 6 beats 8, 26 beats 28)
  • High beats low (8 beats 6, 28 beats 26)
  • Inside beats outside (8 beats 6, 26 beats 28)
  • Outside beats inside (6 beats 8, 28 beats 26)

    PLAYERS: 4-8
    INITIAL DEAL: five cards to each player and seven down cards on the table
    PLAY: A card on the table is turned over. Anyone holding cards of the same rank must discard them. There follows a round of betting (each round uses a rotating lead, beginning with the player to the dealer's left). After each round another card is flipped over and like cards discarded. If a card of the same rank as a previously flipped card is turned over, a new card is flipped from the top of the deck until an undiscarded rank is revealed. Thus, seven different ranks will always be discarded. If anyone loses all his cards, they instantly win the pot. Otherwise, after all cards have been turned up and the last betting round concludes, players declare high, low or both and have a showdown. Aces are worth 1 or 15, face cards are worth 10, and all other cards are worth their face value.
    WINNER: Highest and lowest totals split the pot.

    Screw Your Neighbor
    PLAYERS: 4-8 (more possible, but it would be a LONG game)
    INITIAL DEAL: 1 card down to each player.
    PLAY: This game has no ante. Instead, each player places three of the highest-ranking chips in front of him. The lead begins to the left of the dealer and rotates with each hand. Each player in turn may opt to keep his current card or exchange it with the player to his left. If someone tries to take your card and you have a King, you may stop him from doing so by revealing your King. The last player may keep his card or exchange it for the top one from the deck. When all players have gone, everyone reveals their cards and the lowest card (Aces are high) tosses a chip into the pot. When you run out of chips, you're out of the game.
    WINNER: The last person remaining gets the pot.

  • Aces are low.
  • Instead of 3 chips which are lost one at a time, losers pay a higher amount and are knocked out immediately. This yields a faster game.
  • When down to two players, the last player has an advantage-- if the first player exchanges with him, he knows what all the cards in the game are and can make a more informed decision. To cancel this advantage, when only two players are left the second player can't look at his card until after the first player has chosen to exchange or hold.

    Boo Ray
    PLAYERS: 4-10
    INITIAL DEAL: 5 cards down to each player.
    PLAY: Top card of the deck is flipped over, and the suit of the flipped card becomes the trump suit for the hand. Players secretly put a chip in their fist if they want to stay in, or form an empty fist if they don't. Players open their fists simultaneously. Players who stayed in may then exchange cards (as many as can be allowed by the remaining deck size and number of players who stayed in). Boo Ray is a trick-taking game. The lead player (which rotates each hand, starting with the player to the dealer's left) leads by playing a card from his hand. All other players do the same in turn. If they can, players must play a card of the same suit as the card which began the trick. If a player has no cards of that suit, he may play any card. The highest card of the led suit takes the trick, unless a card of the trump suit is played in which case the highest trump card wins the trick. The winner of the trick begins the next trick. Whoever takes the most tricks wins the pot. Anyone who stayed in but took no tricks must pay the Boo Ray amount ($1.00, $2.00, or whatever you agree on at the start of the game) to the pot. If tricks are split 2-2-1, nobody takes the pot. The game continues, with new hands dealt to all players, until the pot is gone.
    WINNER: Taker of the most tricks

    This list is maintained by Peter Sarrett (
    Thanks to CMU's Gaming Club for getting me started with their list.

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