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24 January 2006 @ 11:00 pm
Poker? I hardly know 'er!  
God only knows what possessed me to devise my own poker variant, as the one time I've played poker (Texas hold 'em) I didn't enjoy myself very much. I suppose it's the same reason I fiddle with constructed languages, and come up with video game designs that will never get programmed. I find playing with ideas more interesting than how they are put into practice. So, even though I didn't enjoy playing, I still had a grand old time looking up existing types of poker*. And whenever I go info-trawling, I end up thinking about putting my own spin on the subject. Hell, I even half-assed came up with my own fictional Gnostic sect after reading a bunch of pseudepigrapha.

Without any further ado:

Crosstown Traffic
(aka Three-By-Three Hold 'Em)

This is a community card variant (like Texas hold 'em or Omaha), with a board of nine cards arranged in a 3×3 square. It's inspired by Double-Board Hold 'Em (the way the pot is split by boards rather than high/low), Tic-Tac-Toe Poker (the square board), and to a lesser extent Sixpack (the way the board deals are arranged to evenly distribute information between phases).

The initial deal is three hole cards face down to each player, then a betting round. After that, the shared board is dealt three cards at a time in three phases—the flop, turn, and river—each followed by a betting round. The flop, turn, and river are dealt in the following pattern**:
F T R
T R F
R F T
where F is a card dealt in the flop, T one in the turn, and R in the river. Within each phase, the cards are dealt left to right.

After the river and the final betting round is the showdown. The highest row hand (two of the player's hole cards together with any three-card row) and the highest column hand (two hole cards plus any column) split the pot, cards speak. It is possible for a player to scoop by having the highest row hand and the highest column hand. There is no rule that the player's row hand and column hand use the same two hole cards (although obviously they will have at least one in common). Also, if playing with wild cards, a wild card on the board does not have to play as the same rank and suit in the column as it does for the row for the same player.

*Incidentally, poker variants have some of the silliest names, like Spit in the Ocean (actually seems to be two different variants by that name), Crazy Pineapple, and Kenosha Cheese Porn. The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (which Larry Niven once belonged to) was rather prolific when it comes to oddly-named poker variants, among which are Double Jesus, Low Flying Outhouse, Hot Pastrami, Metaphysical Hyena, Piggish Mopsqueezer, and Terminal Acne.

**Actually, any arrangement that results in each row and column receiving exactly one new card per phase would work. The order of these subpatterns could be swapped around, or the whole pattern could be mirrored, or both, and the players would still have the same amount of information about the board at the end of each phase. Likewise, the actual order of cards dealt within a phase is irrelevant. However, it's important to follow a mutually agreed upon pattern to avoid accusations of dealer cheating, and the given arrangement is as good as any other and less confusing than some, so it's recommended.

P.S. Does anybody else think that stud poker should be played with a bigger deck than other kinds?
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Vorn the Unspeakableunspeakablevorn on January 25th, 2006 09:07 am (UTC)
By bigger deck do you mean bigger cards, or more cards?

Vorn
gwalla: king crimson fingergwalla on January 26th, 2006 12:56 am (UTC)
By big deck I mean a crude pun. :P

(actually, stud does typically use larger cards, so they're easier to read from across the table)