Texas Hold ‘Em Variant: Buying the River

Texas Hold ‘Em is usually what people mean when they think of poker now-a-days. After the last poker night I attended, I thought of a variant of Texas Hold ‘Em inspired by the card shopping in Dominion that adds more reveals of partial information to the game, while keeping things essentially Texas Hold ‘Em -like.

  1. Give each player at the table three pips or markers unique to the player. Each player could have three pawns of the same but unique color, or three glass stones, or coins, or whatever. One of the three pips should sit in front of the player’s seat for the entire game, so it is easy to identify which player is which color (e.g. “Ben is the green pips”).
  2. Play your hand of Texas Hold ‘Em as usual, until after the betting round following the flop. At this point, each player can make a five card hand with their pocket cards and the flop.
  3. Flip up the turn (fourth) card. At this point players conduct a betting round for the “purchase” of the card. Importantly, folding in the turn card’s betting round does not knock the player out of the hand. Folding just means the player is not allowed to use the turn in their final hand. Sticking around until the pseudo-showdown of this betting round means the player is allowed to use the turn card in their final hand. A player indicates that they have made it to the turn card’s showdown, and therefore may use the turn card in their final hand, by placing one of their three pips on the card. All money bet in the turn card’s betting round is placed in the communal pot, as usual. To keep things simple, players should probably not be allowed to go “all in” on the turn card’s betting round.
  4. Flip up the river (fifth) card, and do a second purchase betting round just like the round done for the turn card. Again only players who make it to the river card’s showdown may use the river in their final hands.
  5. When all players have access to five to seven cards to make their final hands, do one final betting round. This final betting round reverts to the usual rules, where folding means dropping out of the hand.

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