Learn to play a new fun card game, Good Guys Bad Guys Poker.
There’s a lot of serious poker games out there. No Limit Texas Hold’em (NLHE) is the primary choice of today’s average players. More serious poker pros might prefer Pot Limit Omaha (PLO), 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo, Razz, or even niche games like Badugi or Chinese Poker. But if you’re looking for a new poker game that’s fun, whimsical, and has the potential to pay out some pretty big pots, we suggest a fun game that’s slowly spreading among recreational home-poker crowds. It’s called Good Guys Bad Guys, and we’re going to teach you how to play it.
How to Play Good Guys Bad Guys Poker
To understand this game – and it’s not difficult, I assure you – we have to start by detailing the effects of the Good Guys and the Bad Guys. These are represented by the 10 cards dealt to the center of the table, after each player receives their own 5 face-down cards.
The Good Guys
The first five cards dealt to the center of the table (closest to the dealer) represent the “Good Guys”. They are similar to what hold’em poker players call “community cards”. These cards will be combined with your own cards to create the best possible 5-card poker hand.
Based on this knowledge alone, you’re looking at 5 hole cards and 5 community cards – 10 cards with which to build a hand. Odds of making a nice poker hand sound pretty good, right? But wait… the Good Guys are not working alone.
The Bad Guys
The second set of five cards dealt to the center of the table (farthest from the dealer) represent the “Bad Guys”. Their job is to mess up your poker hand. They do this by requiring players to eliminate any card in their hand that matches a Bad Guy. So, if there’s a 5 in the Bad Guys, each player with a 5 must eliminate that card from their hand.
Bad Guys are also more powerful than Good Guys. So if a 5 is turned up in the Good Guys cards, it is also eliminated. By these Good Guys / Bad Guys rules, you can see how volatile hand strengths can be as the game progresses.
Object and Order of Play
Good Guys Bad Guys is a game for up to 7 players, requiring a single 52-card deck. The object, like any good poker game, is to create the best possible (highest ranking) 5-card poker hand. However, due to the Good Guy / Bad Guy conditions detailed above, it is possible for a player to end with anywhere from 0 to 10 cards. If you have less than 5, just do what you can. If you have more than 5, you’ll have to pick the 5 best cards in your hand, just like hold’em poker.
Without further ado, here’s the step-by-step order of game play.
First betting round. The player left of the dealer starts all rounds of betting. Everyone must call the bet to stay active in the hand, raise to a higher bet, or fold. (It’s also possible to check, but what’s the fun in that?)
After shuffling, the dealer will pass out five cards face down to each player.
10 cards are dealt face down, in 2 rows of 5 cards each, in the center of the table in front of the dealer. These cards represent the “Good Guys” and the “Bad Guys” (detailed above).
Each player looks at their own hand.
The first Good Guy and Bad Guy cards are turned face up. All cards matching the Bad Guy are discarded.
Second betting round.
The second Good Guy and Bad Guy cards are turned face up; all matching Bad Guys are discarded.
Third betting round.
The third Good Guy and Bad Guy cards are turned face up; again, any matching Bad Guys are discarded.
Fourth betting round.
The fourth Good Guy and Bad Guy cards are revealed; matching Bad Guys are discarded.
Fifth and final betting round.
The fifth and final Good Guy and Bad Guy cards are turned; all matching Bad Guys are discarded.
Showdown – if necessary.
Showdown: How to Win Good Guys Bad Guys Poker
At this point in the game, it’s likely that all but one player has folded, resulting in a default winner. If that’s not the case, it’s showdown time.
All players remaining active in the game will create the best possible 5-card hand (or as many cards as they have left, if below 5), by combining the cards in their hand with the Good Guys cards on the table. The player with the highest ranking poker hand wins the pot. In case of a tie, the pot is split evenly between the winners.
Alternative Betting Rules
If you find the game a bit too rich for your blood, you can alter the rules in a couple of different ways. One option is eliminate two betting rounds. We achieve this in one of two ways.
One is to employ a Flop-Turn-River system, turning up the first three Good/Bad Guys at all once, followed by a round of betting. Then turn up one Good/Bad Guy each from there on out. Or, you can turn up two on the first go, two on the second, and then the final card. Either way, you’re dropping the number of bet rounds from 6 to 4. You could also turn them up in groups of 3, then 2, dropping the number of betting rounds to just 3.
Another alternative is to limit the bet sizes. You can open with a half-bet ante, then require all bets/raises to be made in the same, full-unit sizes. Raises should probably be limited to 2 or 3 per betting round, as well.
We hope you give this variant a try at your next home poker game, but don’t expect to find it at any live or online poker rooms. Once you learn how to play Good Guy Bad Guy Poker, you’ll realize it’s far too luck-based to appeal to serious players. For the casual players, that’s also what makes it so much fun.
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