Russian Hold ’em
This variation of Russian poker is similar to Texas Hold ‘em in its use of community cards, and allows for more than just 2 players. It was invented by Steve Wannall.
Number of Players
2 – 4
Standard deck of 52 playing cards with jokers removed.
The dealer shuffles the deck, offers a cut to another player, and then deals off the top card face down to the side. This card remains unknown and out of play for the whole hand. The dealer then deals a flop of 3 cards face-up in the center of the table, numbering each card as it is dealt (1, 2, and 3). Each of these cards is common to every player’s hand, but remains in separate hands from each other. Each player will be building a total of 3 separate poker hands, with each card in the flop becoming the first card for each of those hands (for example, if the flop is 4 of diamonds, 8 of hearts, and jack of clubs, each player will have a 4 of diamonds in hand #1, an 8 of hearts in hand #2, and a jack of clubs in hand #3).
Immediately after the flop is dealt, the dealer deals 1 card face-down to each player. There is a single round of betting (starting with the player to the dealer’s left). When the betting has resolved, each player places their hole card face up onto the table and declares which of their 3 hands they are playing it on. This is done one player at a time, starting at the dealer’s left and continuing clockwise around the table. This gives an advantage to players seated in later positions as it allows them to see their opponent’s play before deciding where to play their own card. Once every player has placed their card into one of their 3 hands, the dealer deals out another single face-down card to each player. There is another round of betting, and play continues as before. This continues until every card in the deck has been dealt. A player may always play a card onto whichever of their 3 hands they choose, but the fifth card of any given hand (the fourth one played by the player) is always placed face-down on top of the hand and kept concealed from the other players. Once a single hand has 5 cards in it (1 in the flop and 4 placed by the player), that hand is complete and no more cards may be added to it. When every card in the deck has been dealt, each player will have 3 complete poker hands…each one with 1 card that all other players share, 3 cards that every player can see, and 1 hole card that remains hidden.
Be the player to have the winning poker hand in 2 or 3 of your 3 hands. When every hand is complete, there is one final round of betting and then players reveal their hands one at a time. Starting with the last player to be called, players reveal their hole cards for hand #1. A winning hand is declared, and then the other two hands are revealed in the same way. When all hands have been revealed, the player winning the highest number of them (it will always be either 2 or 3) wins the pot. Remember…winning with a single one of your 3 hands is not enough! Even if you manage to build a royal flush with one of your hands, you must win with at least 1 more of your hands to take the pot. In the unlikely scenario that two players each win with 1 hand and then tie each other with a second hand (for example, player #1 wins with hand #1, and player #2 wins with hand #2, but they both have a 5-high straight for hand #3), those two players split the pot. If 3 players each win one of the hands, the pot is split between all three players.
Playing Each Hand
As the players build each of their 3 hands, they must do so keeping in mind that each individual hand is going up against only the hands with the same corresponding number (your hand #1 will be matched against all other player’s hand #1). It is, therefore, important to keep track of what your opponents have showing in each hand to determine if you have a shot of winning it or not. At any time during the betting, a player may fold…however…they may not choose to fold only 1 (or 2) of their hands and continue playing. A player either plays all 3 of their hands, or none at all.