Liar's Poker was the Wednesday Night Game on June 12th, 2013. Eleven players participated, and in the end it was Firefly who emerged victorious over runner-up Discord. Ten seconds after Discord's final challenge, just before I could post the final result, the MUCK crashed, presumably because of the temperamental draconequus wanting to deny the satisfaction of those who would make japery from the cloth of his defeat. It went back up not too many hours later.
Liar's Poker is a card game based on poker but played without the use of chips. One hand gets passed from player to player; each player discards, draws, and claims to have a better hand than the player before. Eventually someone challenges and someone is eliminated, or in this version, receives a strike--three strikes and you're out. The full rules may be listed here in time.
Is full rule listing time!!!! Now time for quoting erstwhile website.
LIAR’S POKER is an entertaining card game based on poker that I learned many years ago. It uses many of the same basic mechanisms as poker, but is not properly speaking a poker variant, because it does not involve betting. It can be played with a group of any size, and since it is a very quick game and involves only a single hand of cards which is passed from player to player, it can be played almost anywhere, such as in a restaurant or on a road trip. [Or on a PonyMUCK!]
The name Liar’s Poker also applies to a game played with dollar bills, which involves their serial numbers and is related to Liar’s Dice. Both games involve bluffing, psychology, and raising the bid, but that is where the similarity ends.
What follows are the rules to my own home-brewed version of Liar’s Poker.
A standard 52 card deck. Jokers are optional. [We play with two jokers on EqMUCK!]
One player draws a hand of five cards from the deck. She then declares what the hand contains, in poker terms, being as vague or as specific as she wants. She may, of course, be lying.
Three of a kind. Spade flush. Queens over fours. Queens over fours with a nine kicker (or backer). Ace of clubs, jack of diamonds, ten of diamonds, seven of hearts, three of clubs.
The player with the hand of cards is called the active player. The next player decides whether the active player is bluffing or not. She may either take the hand or challenge.
If she takes the hand, she becomes the active player. She may discard as many cards as she likes and refill her hand to five. She then makes a new declaration of what the hand contains. The next player must now decide whether to take the hand or challenge.
If, on the other hand, she challenges, the active player reveals the hand. If it is as good as the active player declared it to be or better, the player who challenged is out of the game. If it is worse than the active player declared it to be, then the active player is out of the game. In either case, the round is over and a new round begins. The player who won the challenge begins the next round.
The only restriction on the active player’s declaration is that the hand she names must be better than the hand the last player named. To be more precise: The worst possible hand the active player could hold and still be telling the truth must be better than the worst possible hand the previous active player could have held and still be telling the truth.
Example: Annie is the active player and declares that she holds two pairs. Bart accepts this and takes the hand. He discards and draws one card, and then declares that he holds two pair, sevens over threes. This is a legal declaration because the worst hand he can hold and be telling the truth is 7-7-3-3-2, which is better than the worst hand Annie could have held and be telling the truth, 4-3-3-2-2.
So, in general, to say the same thing as the last player but be more specific is legal. Note that the only two pair hand Bart could not have declared is threes over twos, because this would not necessarily be any better than 4-3-3-2-2.
Chrissie accepts the declaration and takes the hand. She chooses not to discard any cards. She declares that the hand is, in fact, sevens over threes with a jack kicker. Since this is better than 7-7-3-3-2, it is a legal declaration.
Dirk accepts this and takes the hand. He discards and draws three cards and then declares that he has three of a kind. He doesn’t need to name any specific cards because any three of a kind is better than two pair.
Ellie doesn’t think Dirk is on the level. She challenges, and he reveals Q-7-7-6-2. Ellie was right, so Dirk is out. Because Ellie was correct, she begins the next round.
RANKS OF HANDS:
Hands are ranked as in standard poker, with two exceptions: the color flush and color straight flush. Hand types are ranked below from lowest to highest, along with descriptions of which hands outrank other hands of the same type. (Because declarations of hands in Liar’s Poker often change only slightly from player to player, the tiebreak rules come into effect much more often than for ordinary poker.)
HIGH CARD: None of the other hand types apply. The rank of the hand is determined by the highest card, and ties are broken by the second-highest card, and so on. Thus, a declaration of "king high" can be followed by a declaration of "king-ten high," because this guarantees a better hand than "king high" guarantees. "King-ten high" cannot be followed by "queen-jack high," because that describes a worse hand.
PAIR: The hand contains two cards of the same denomination. The rank of the hand is determined by the rank of the pair, and ties are broken by the other cards, called kickers or backers, in order from highest to lowest.
COLOR FLUSH: All five cards are the same color. The rank of the hand is determined by the ranks of the individual cards from highest to lowest. The existence of a pair in a color flush is irrelevant—thus, Q-J-9-4-2, all red beats Q-10-10-4-2, all red. It is irrelevant whether the hand is red or black. Thus, if the last player declared Q-J-9-4-2, all red, then if you want to declare an all-black hand, it must be better than Q-J-9-4-2.
TWO PAIR: The hand contains two pairs. The rank of the higher pair is the first priority in ranking the hand, followed by the rank of the lower pair, and finally the rank of the kicker.
THREE OF A KIND: The hand contains three cards of the same denomination. The rank of the hand is determined by the rank of this set of three, followed by the two kickers in order.
STRAIGHT: The five cards are of consecutive denominations—for example, a 4, a 5, a 6, a 7, and an 8. The rank is determined by the highest card.
FLUSH: All five cards are of the same suit. The rank of the hand is determined from highest card to lowest card. No suit outranks any other suit.
FULL HOUSE: Three cards are of one denomination are two are of another. The rank of the hand is determined first by the group of three, then by the group of two. So, 8-8-8-4-4 beats 7-7-7-Q-Q.
COLOR STRAIGHT FLUSH: All five cards are the same color and are of consecutive denominations. The rank is determined by the highest card. Neither color outranks the other.
FOUR OF A KIND: The hand contains four cards of the same denomination. The rank of the hand is determined by the rank of the group of four, followed by the rank of the kicker.
STRAIGHT FLUSH: The five cards are all of the same suit and are of consecutive denominations. The rank is determined by the highest card.
FIVE OF A KIND: All five cards are the same denomination. Obviously, this is only possible when there are jokers in play. The rank of the hand is determined by the denomination.
The worst possible hand you can have is 7-5-4-3-2. The first player’s declaration must preclude her holding this hand. Therefore, the lowest declaration the first player can make is 7-6 high.
Aces are generally high, but can be low as part of an A-2-3-4-5 straight.
If jokers are used, they are wild in both suit and denomination.
Remember, if you challenge a player and she is lying, you’re still out if her hand is better than she said it was.
Some truthfully described hands can easily be improved upon (such as "three of a kind"), and some can’t (such as "three fours and an ace-king.") If the active player names a hand that’s difficult to improve on and you’re under the gun, you should usually challenge.
The flip side of this is that it sometimes pays off, when holding an easily improvable hand, to name a worse but less improvable hand in hopes of getting the next player to challenge. For example, instead of declaring 10-10-5-5-2, you might declare 10-10-A-K-J.
It often helps to have a plan in mind when you accept the cards. If you’re forced to bluff, it won’t look so contrived. [Less applicable online than face-to-face!]
If you want to try and knock out a player several seats away, try making an easily improvable bluff early in the round. The bluff may remain mostly unchanged until it stops being improvable, in which case someone is getting caught.
Another funny trick you can pull is to discard cards that are part of a set, and then name the same set with improved kickers, assuming the next player will routinely accept it, and planning to challenge if it gets around to you again.
If you accept a hand and it turns out that you’ve been lied to, you will often find it better to discard fewer cards and pretend the declaration was true than to discard more cards in hoping of genuinely improving the hand. This works better the more players remain.
Liar's Poker with Lives
In this less unforgiving variant, each player has a certain number of lives to lose before they're eliminated. When you would otherwise be out, you simply lose a life and remain in the game unless the life you lost was your last. 3 lives per player works well, especially with the next variant.
Liar's Poker with Chips
In this variant, each player is given three chips that they can use once each per game. Each player gets a Skip Chip, a Flip Chip, and a Double Dip Chip.
Skip: When it's your turn to decide whether to accept the cards or challenge, you may instead turn in your Skip Chip and pass the cards along to the next player instead. That player may not play their own Skip Chip in response.
Flip: After accepting the cards and improving your hand, but before naming the new hand, you may turn in your Flip Chip to change the direction of play. Until someone else plays a Flip Chip, the cards will be passed in the opposite direction. This continues even after the round ends. If someone Skips and the next player Flips, the player who Skipped must now act again.
Double Dip: After discarding and drawing, you may turn in your Double Dip Chip to discard and draw again.
In friendly poker games, the dealer is often given the choice of what variant to play. You can do something similar with Liar’s Poker. Before starting a new round, the active player gets to name variations on the rules in effect for that round. The following suggestions can also be used as permanent variants.
* Name wild cards for the round. * Limit the number of cards each player can discard after accepting a hand. * Require that each player discard at least one card after accepting a hand. * Allow each active player to discard and draw twice instead of once. * Increase the hand size to seven for the round. When someone challenges, the active player’s hand counts as the best combination of five cards. * Change the order or status of hand rankings. For example, "No color flushes," or "two pair beats three of a kind." * As part of the hand, deal one or more communal cards that all players can see. Specify whether or not the active player is allowed to discard from along the communal cards. * Combine two or more of these, or make up variants of your own.