DEAD HAND CHAOS POKER RULES
The DEAD HAND™ Chaos Poker deck is in all respects a standard poker deck and can be played with or without the DEAD HAND variant rules. Like any house rules variant, the DEAD HAND is announced prior to the deal along with any other house rules. For example, the dealer may declare a game of “Seven Card Stud with Deuces wild and a DEAD HAND.” Though, we recommend a whole DEAD HAND evening.
Playing with a DEAD HAND:
Play the hand exactly like you normally would given the game and any rules variants declared. When, at the end of the hand, all players have shown their hands and a winner is about to be declared, the DEAD HAND is revealed. Draw the top card from the undealt deck and look at it carefully. 60% of the cards have a hidden message on the face of the card. By tipping the card back and forth in the light, a particular card or hand will be revealed in the varnish of the card. The named card or hand (if any) is dead and out of play.
– The DEAD HAND named may be a particular combination of cards like Straights, Flushes or Full Houses. If the named hand is present when players show down, that hand is dead and out of play.
– The DEAD HAND might name the High Pair or All Pairs. Those cards are dead and out of play. Note: killing a Pair or Three-of-a-kind does not spoil a Full House. However, the high Pair in Two Pair can be knocked out.
– Lastly, the DEAD HAND may kill the entire hand of a player who holds a particular card.
If no DEAD HAND is revealed or if the DEAD HAND stated is not in play, resolve the hand normally. If the DEAD HAND alters one or more hands in play, re-evaluate which player now has the best hand. It may be that lowly pair or even the best remaining high card. If all hands somehow end up dead with no winner remaining to claim the pot, carry the pot over into the next hand.
The DEAD MAN'S DUE
In 1876, in a little town called Deadwood, deep in the heart of the Dakota Territory, famed gun-slinger Wild Bill Hickock was shot dead during a game of 5 card Stud. He held in his hand two pair; black aces and black eights (and some claim the Five or Nine of Diamonds as the debated fifth card). Since that day, the hand has been considered cursed and gone down in Poker lore as The Dead Man's Hand.
In this game, the dead man gets his due. If you play the cursed hand, you collect for him.
- Play two Aces and two Eights of any suit and all other players must pay you one poker chip of the smallest denomination - whether or not yours is the winning hand, and whether or not they've folded. In addition, the hand becomes immune to any DEAD HAND cards drawn.
- Play two black Aces and two black Eights and you outrank the Royal Flush. After collecting the pot, collect two additional chips from each player.
- The Dead Man's Due is always active.
Even with its unique twist, DEAD HAND is primarily a straight-forward game of Poker. The DEAD HAND mechanic ends up only affecting approximately 20% of the hands played. So don't use the mechanic as a crutch, you've still got to play good Poker.
That said, you may find that the added element of chance keeps people in the game longer and folding a bit less than they might otherwise. Good Poker players will keep the DEAD HAND reference card handy as they carefully watch the cards played. If they are betting on a High Pair, having seen two Queens and one of the Jacks come up lessens the chance of their Pair being killed by the DEAD HAND.
And always keep in mind that this is just a game. Be courteous. Be responsible.
You don't want to end up like Wild Bill.
Alternate Game Play Rules
Shoot Out is a game variant specifically designed for 5 Card Draw - and makes more of the Dead Hand cards you hold in your hand. At the game's end when you are ready to show down, place face up on the table only those cards you need to make a winning hand. For example, if you have a Pair as the hand you hope to win with, show only the pair and potentially a high card. Keep the remainder of your hand hidden.
Instead of drawing a card from the deck to check for the Dead Hand, a player may pay two chips to the pot and sacrifice one card from his remaining hand to cause the DEAD HAND effect on that card to occur. That card is discarded and may not be placed back in their hand.
Any player who can legally pay the pot and kill the lead hand may do so - starting with the player on the lead hand's left and rotating left around the table until all players have passed on the opportunity to play. Last high hand wins - or the pot stays for the next round.
And yes, even a player who has been eliminated can still pay the pot and sacrifice a card (for vengeance sake - and to potentially hold over the pot ‘til the next game.)