How to Play
In order to join the table, each player must put in an amount known as the ante, which can vary from table to table and is also the smallest amount for future bets. Once all antes are in, the cards are dealt.
All players roll a d20 to show the state of their hand, which is not shown to the other players. The first betting round then begins.
From the player to the dealer’s left, then going clockwise around the table, in each betting round a player must either fold (throw away their cards), raise (increase the current stake by an amount at least equal to the previous raise) or call (match the current stake). If no-one has yet opened the betting, the player may check (hold on to their cards until someone opens the betting). If all players check, the betting round is over, with no additional money in the pot.
A betting round ends when each player who has not folded has put an equal amount into the pot. If no-one chooses to call a player’s bet or raise, then the hand is over and that player takes the pot.
After the first betting round, a d10 is then rolled in the open as players replace cards in their hand, and a second round of betting begins with the player who opened the first round.
At the conclusion of betting the second round, the d20s are revealed, and the player with the highest total wins the pot. If two or more hands tie, the pot is split. A d10 roll-off determines who receives any unsplittable stakes, if there are any.
The Two Types of Game
In a Capped Stakes game, no player may raise the bet beyond the cap – after this point the other players must either call or fold. So for example, a game may be played for a 1GP ante and a 10GP cap. This prevents any player from losing what they cannot afford to lose.
In an Open Stakes game, there is no cap to the betting. Like western poker and unlike modern poker in our own world, there is no such thing as an all-in bet. Thus the player with a larger bankroll has an advantage if another player cannot match their stake.
However, if all remaining players in the game agree, property, IOUs, and promissory notes can be accepted as stakes.
Once per betting round a player can:
Roll an Insight check against one other player’s opposed bluff check. If the Insight check succeeds, the bluffing player must reveal the range to the nearest 5 showing the strength of their hand (ie 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, and so on).
Cheat. To cheat, a player must roll a Thievery check against every other player’s and interested observer’s (DM’s call) opposed Perception check. Regardless of the outcome, the cheater can effectively increase their hand by 7 points (up to the maximum of 30). Each player who beats the cheater’s Thievery check notices the cheating, and can react in whatever way they see fit. As with all opposed checks, ties are re-rolled.