As much as hardened poker players adore their favourite game, it doesn’t hurt to occasionally indulge in a busman’s holiday and explore a new variation. Pyramid Poker has evolved from the Oriental game of Pai Gow which is popular in China, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada. With simple rules that use three cards, it still requires strategic skills and betting and is sure to become a great favourite in online poker sites.
What Is Pyramid Poker?
Pyramid Poker uses a regular fifty-two card deck without the jokers. Winning ranks are the same as in the standard game of poker except there’s no room for flushes or straights. Aces are always counted as the highest and players still bet in rounds with the usual options of placing a bet, calling, raising or folding. The number of players can be as low as two, but the most enjoyable games have up to nine. Informal live games allow the players to choose a dealer from amongst themselves, but casino based or online versions will provide a dealer. Players have to aim at building two hands from three cards, in the form of one hand with one card and one hand with two. Cards are dealt face down and arranged in the shape of a pyramid, hence the name, and there are community cards that can help players while they are assembling their hands. Both play and betting go in a clockwise direction.
How To Play Pyramid Poker
In its simplest form, everyone is dealt three cards including the dealer themselves. The cards are arranged with two on the lower row and one above as in a pyramid shape. When players build their hands, the single card hand should always be lower in value than the two card hand. To win, a player must have a higher value hand in both the one and two card hands than in the dealer’s set. If the player beats the dealer’s value in only one hand, its declared a tie or a push. The player loses if neither hand beats the dealer’s. When a player’s hand and the dealer’s are exactly equal, for instance if they both have a king in the one card hand, the result is known as a copy. And all copies are awarded to the dealer giving a 35% edge to the House.
Playing Pyramid Poker With Community Cards
After betting and receiving three cards arranged in two rows, play then continues in rounds, with players being dealt four cards. The dealer then places six cards face down and arranged in a pyramid shape with one card in the top row, two in the middle row and three on the bottom row. Players can use one card from each row to build their hands. Players can raise, check or fold before the dealer reveals the middle row of cards and the centre card in the bottom row. After more bets have been placed, the dealer shows the top card, followed by more betting and the turning over of the remaining two cards at the bottom of the pyramid. Community cards are available to all players. Different variations have evolved including a hand with four cards that then takes an additional three from one edge of the pyramid for players to build a hand of five cards and another where players use a card from each of the rows within the pyramid.
Pyramid Poker Tips
With three single cards, a player should play the one of middle value in the one card hand except in the following instances when the lowest card should then be played in the one card hand instead:
- If dealt a two, three and a third card with a value of five or more.
- If dealt a two, four and a card ranked queen or above.
When receiving a pair amongst the three cards, players should keep the pair in the two card hand except in the following instances:
- A pair of jacks and a single card between two and four.
- A pair of queens and a single card between five and seven.
- A pair of kings and a single card of either eight or nine.
- A pair of aces and a single card of either a ten or a jack.
Many classic online poker games rely on rules that are challenging yet entertaining and Pyramid Poker is no exception.