Original Card Games by David Parlett
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Players 2   Cards 52 or 104   Type Making Poker combinations
One of my earliest original card games for two involves bluffing on Poker hands but is played for a point-score rather than for variable stakes.
Deal 10 cards each from a 52-card pack and stack the rest face down. (You can play with two packs shuffled together, but this reduces the element of skill involved in keeping track of which cards are no longer in play.) A game consists of as many hands as it takes to work once through the pack.
The aim in each hand is to score points for either making the best Poker combination, or bluffing your opponent into folding before a showdown.
Each in turn, Poker hands
Poker hands from lowest to highest: 1 pair, 2 pair, threes, straight, flush,
full house, straight flush. Greyed-out cards (idlers) can be any that do not
convert the hand into a higher one.
starting with the non-dealer, plays a card face up to the table. This may continue till you have both played five cards, in which case whoever produces the higher Poker combination wins. However, so long as you have already played at least one card, you may on any subsequent turn fold instead of playing a card. In this event the other player wins that hand and makes a score.
The winner's score for a hand is based on the total number of cards played to it by both players, at the rate of 1 for the first card, 2 for the second, 3 for the third, and so on. Thus the table of scores is:
Cards played =  2   10     
Score made =  3  10 15  21 28 36 45 55     
When a hand has been scored, all the cards played to it are turned down and each in turn, starting with the winner, draws one card from the top of the stock until either they have ten cards again or the stock runs out. The winner of each hand leads to the next. When no more cards remain, the hands are played out until one player has fewer than five cards left. At this point the game ends and the winner is the player with the higher cumulated score.
Special rule for doubled pack
If you're using a doubled pack of 104 cards you may never play two identical cards as your contribution to the same hand. (But this doesn't prevent you from playing the duplicate of one played by your opponent.)
Lowball option
If you have a low hand, or simply want to get rid of five indifferent cards in hope of drawing better ones, you can call "Lowball" on your turn to lead, and play a complete five-card hand either face up or face down on the table. Your opponent then has the choice of playing a five-card hand face up or down, or folding without playing any card, with one of the following possible results:
  • Opponent folds : You score 15.
  • Opponent plays face up : Whoever has the lower-ranking hand scores 30.
  • Opponent plays face down : You score 30 if you played face up, otherwise 5.
The cards are then removed and play continues as normal.