This is the game in which you can open on anything and in each turn you
must bet or drop ("pass and out"). In each turn you must at least chip
along, where in a jackpots game you could check free.
depends on the relative value of a white chip (the chip of lowest
value; it may be blue). Some players make the white chip of nominal
value only—say ten cents, when the limit is $1 before the draw and $2
after, and when the white chip is seldom bet except for perfunctory
purposes. From such games came the entire present custom of checking
free; the "white check" was worth so little that it seemed hardly worth
while to keep a stack of them and bother to put them in.
the usual pass-and-out game, the white chip is twenty-five cents
when the limit is $1 and $2. Also, in such games there is usually an
ante by each player of one white chip, which in an eight-hand game
creates a pot of $2 before the first bet. In such a game the overhead
is high ($2 per round) and the player must look for action on small
pots as well as big ones, as otherwise the overhead will ruin him.
maintain your chance of getting action on your fair hands, you have
to toss in your white chip. Yet there are at least two reasons for
being conservative. First, the white chips do mount up. Second, if you
are the first to toss in your white chip, technically you become the
opener and have bad position after the draw.
thing many players tend to forget in an "open on any¬thing" game is
that although jacks or better are not required to open, there are going
to be just as many good hands around the table as there are in a
jackpots game. At the start the pot may seem to offer you 7- or 8-to-l
odds on your white chip, but before the betting is finished it is very
likely that someone will make the full bet of $1 and very likely
someone will raise, and it will cost you just as much as it would have
cost in jackpots. If you wouldn't have opened or stayed in jackpots,
usually you shouldn't open or stay in this game. However, there are
some important exceptions.
example, in the early positions you should toss in your white chip
with an open-end straight or a four-flush. Otherwise, it is usually
unwise to play without a high pair (kings or better; many successful
players say queens or better) or, of course, a
better hand. With a really strong hand, one on which you might have
sandbagged by passing in a jackpots game, it is usually best merely to
chip along in this game, awaiting some action in the betting and then
raising when it comes back to you.
important difference between this game and jackpots is that you can
play percentages in late positions, even if you wouldn't have had
openers in jackpots. I will repeat the hands it takes to have a better
than even chance to beat a given num¬ber of players who have not yet
been heard from:
5, 6, or 7 opponents
is, if you are next-to-last man—only the dealer yet to be heard
from, the other players being out—you can make the limit bet with any
pair; if you are third from the end, your pair should be at least
eights; if you are fourth from the end, it should be at least jacks;
and so on.
there is more theory than practical value in such a table.
Usually one or more of the early players will have put in their white
chips and you cannot be sure whether they are weak or strong.
Especially you must watch the position of the players who are in ahead
of you. If the first or second men from the dealer have chipped along,
it doesn't mean a thing; they may have anything. If the fourth or fifth
man has merely chipped, he probably does not have a very strong hand.
He would probably have bet the limit if he had had a good hand.
late positions you can't afford to let the first round go by with
nothing but white chips in there. From about the fourth man on, and
certainly no later than the fifth man, you should almost invariably
make the maximum bet if you have aces or two pairs—any hand that
figures to be high before the draw. Every now and then you will merely
chip along on such a hand, either because you have reason to believe
there is going to be action later or for the purpose of mixing up your
game and keeping the other players guessing. Such cases should be rare.
Both the nature of this game and human nature are such that there are
many more draws to straights and flushes than there are in any other
form of draw poker. In jackpots a player will
(or at least should) throw away a straight or flush draw without
hesitation when he is first or second man from the opener; he does not
yet know how big the pot will be and it costs too much to come in. In
this game, however, it costs only a chip, the pot already offers him
excellent odds for that one chip, and he can make his final decision
that later time, he must chiefly consider two things: First, the
size of the pot; second, his position. If a couple of players have
merely chipped after him, they may be waiting to raise and the price of
his entry will go up. In such a case he should pocket his one-chip loss
and get out. When no one can raise after him, he should stay if the pot
gives him 5 to 1 or better.
opener's position is not too bad. If he fills, he can judge from
the draws whether to bet out or merely chip and wait. If he does decide
to chip and wait, at least he will have heard from every player before
his time comes again. A player can be seriously embarrassed when the
opener is at his right and bets, because he may be in the middle of a
couple of raising hands and lose a lot of money instead of settling
early for his one white chip.