- Greek poker variations
**Greek poker variations**, collectively known as**poka**, is a collection ofpoker variations played inGreece . These are a combination of American,Europe an and home made variations.Poka games are usually played at home. It is a tradition to play poka in the

Christmas /New Year festive season, usually with small cash amounts. Before the proliferation ofcasino s, poka used also to be played in illegal gambling premises, but this practice is less prevalent today.**General rules**Poka games are usually played with 3-6 people. The variation to be played at each round is

dealer's choice . The order of dealing is counterclockwise. Before dealing, the player on the left cuts the deck.**Order of hands**While in poker there is only one order (see

Hand rankings ), in poka there are three.*The classic (poker) ranking is called "kenda-full" ("straight-full") and means that straight beats three of a kind and full house beats flush. This is the rarest choice in Greek poker variations and reserved only for plain vanilla poker or variations of American games like

Texas Hold 'em .

*The most used ranking is called "kenda-chroma" ("straight-flush") and means that straight beats three of a kind and flush beats full house. People sometimes play vanilla poker with kenda chroma rules.

*The opposite is "tria-full" ("three-full" and means that three of a kind beats straight and full house beats flush. Two are the main games that are played "tria full", the "mpompes" (bombs) and the "koukos" (cuckoo).**Choosing the order of hands**Although it's strictly up to the dealer to announce which order will be used, there are two ways to decide whether "kenda-chroma" or "tria-full" is the correct choice and they are both dependent on the number of cards at play.

*If the total number of cards available to the player (community+hand) is equal or greater than 8, then the game is "tria full". If it's seven or less, it's "kenda chroma".

*If the number of community cards is five or more, then the game is "tria full", else it's "kenda chroma"This is because the more cards available, the easier to form a straight.**List of games****Cuckoo ("Koukos")****Single ("Monos")**This is (usually) a "three-full" game. Each player is dealt a card and then three cards are laid one by one (with betting at intervals) to the table. Then another card is dealt to each player and then another two cards are laid one by one to the table. The player has to use both of his cards (so this means a maximum of 3 community cards). In total there are seven cards to play and it is the only game that people prefer to play "three-full" even while the total playable cards are less than 8.

**Double ("Diplos")**Same as above, but after the third card laid to the table the players get two extra cards and the total number of playable cards is 8. The player has to use at least two of his cards.

**Double Tableau ("Diplo Tamplo")**Instead of laying down one series of 5 community cards, two series of community cards are laid down. The player has to choose between the two columns (cannot combine cards between them) and again he has to use two (or at least two) of his cards.

**Bombs ("Mpompes")**A bomb is a set of cards (usually three) that open simultaneously. The players are dealt a card, then a bomb is laid down, then another card is dealt, then another bomb and then a third card is dealt and a third bomb is laid down. This variation is called three "triple" bombs. The dealer can choose to deal another combination, e.g. two triple bombs or two quadruple bombs. The bombs "explode" one by one and bets are placed between the "explosions". The player has to use at least two of his hand cards and take cards only from one bomb.

**Bombs with hat ("Mpompes me kapelo")**A "hat" ("kapelo") is an optional community wildcard which can be combined with any of the bombs and is dealt in the end. The player again has to use at least two of his hand cards. The hat can be single ("mono") or double ("diplo"), but only one card can be used from the hat.

The following are valid combinations:

*2 from hand, 1 from hat, 2 from bomb

*2 from hand, 3 from bomb

*3 from hand, 1 from hat, 1 from bombThe dealer will specify the variation before dealing (e.g. "two triple bombs with double hat" - "Dyo mpompes triples me diplo kapelo"). This game can be either "tria full" or "kenda chroma" depending on the actual number of bombs and the number of cards in them. For the case of "two triple bombs with double hat", the player has available: 3 cards on hand + 2 cards in the hat + 3 cards in the bomb (note: not 6, only one bomb can be used at a time), which totals 8, hence it is "tria full".

**Elevator ("Asanser")**Each player is dealt a card. Two cards are laid down in parallel but at a different row. Another card is dealt and another two cards are laid down, forming two columns and three rows. A third card is dealt and another two cards are laid down, forming two parallel columns of three cards. Another card is laid down in the middle of these two columns. This is a wildcard and can move vertically to each one of the three rows. The objective of the game is two form the best combination with two hand (H) and three community (C) cards or three H and two C cards. The community cards can be only from the same row (two fixed cards and the wildcard).

This is a "kenda chroma" game since only six cards are available to the player at each time.

**Pyramid ("Pyramida")**Each player is dealt three cards and the community cards are laid face down in four levels in order to form a triangular shape (first row 1 card, second row 2 cards, third row 3 cards, fourth row 4 cards). The player can combine at least two of his cards with at most three of the community cards, but only vertically. This means that only one card from each row can be used. The cards open by row, from bottom row (four cards) to top row (one card).

**Cemetery ("Nekrotafeio")**This is a game where the players discard "bad" cards. Each player is dealt from 3 to 5 cards (depending on the number of players) and two rows of 5 community cards (closed) are formed. One card is opened from each row and the row which has the card with the bigger value (using the usual card order) becomes the "good" row, while the other the "bad" row. All players' cards that are the same as those of the "bad" row have to be "buried". For example, if an 8 is opened in the bad row, each player who has an 8 has to discard it.

The betting order in this game is not standard, it changes according to the number of cards left on hand. Always the first player with the most cards speaks.

When the same figure opens in the "good" and the "bad" row, it is discarded.

There is a gambler's variation of "cemetery" in which the good and bad rows are defined by the "last" card that is opened, hence everything is uncertain until the very last moment.

The game is always "kenda chroma".

**Angle ("Gonia")**Gonia is a game where the community cards are placed so that they form a right angle. The player gets 3 cards and the angle is formed by 7 cards (1 in the middle, 3 in each side). The allowed combination is a minimum two from hand and a maximum three from either side of the angle (the middle card is always a terminal point).

A variant frequently used is angle with "hat", where the angle is formed by 5 cards (1 in the middle, 2 in each side) and the hat can go either way.

This is also a "kenda chroma" variation since the total number of playable cards is 3+4 (or 3+1+3) = 7.

**Striptease**Striptease is a card game with no community cards. Five (or seven) cards are dealt to each player

**face down**. The players should not see them.The first player reveals his first card and places a bet. The game goes anti-clockwise and the objective of each player is to beat the best revealed set of cards (usually of the player before him, but not always). When he manages to beat it, he stops, bets and the next player starts.

As an example, if the first player reveals a Q, the second player has to draw either a K or a A, or a pair. So if he draws an 8 he continues, if he then draws a J he continues again, if he then draws an 8 he stops because he now is better than Q (although with less hidden cards left, which influences the amount he might be willing to bet).

This game is "kenda-chroma" (rarely it is played "kenda-full")

**Chemin de fer**This game has seven community cards in total and three in hand. The community cards are placed face down and one slightly covering the right side of its immediate predecessor as follows: The first two vertical, the third horizontal, the next two vertical and the last two horizontal.

The player has two options to discard a card in hand and get a new one.

The betting sequence is as follows: 1) Bet with all cards face down 2) Two first (vertical) cards open 3) Third card opens AND player has the option to change a card in hand 4) Two next vertical cards open 5) Two last horizontal cards open AND player has the option to change a card in hand.

This game is "tria-full" (total of 10 cards in play).

**"American"**This game is very similar to

Seven-card stud , except that the order and number of face-up and face-down cards is completely up to the dealer. It is "kenda-chroma" (rarely "kenda-full", usually when it is "pure" seven-card stud)**Connect 3 ("Triliza")**As the game implies, there are 9 community cards placed in rows of three. Each player gets three cards and he has to use at least two cards from hand. Allowed combinations are (exactly like connect-3) vertical, horizontal and diagonal. The community cards open three at a time and in a way that no row or column is fully revealed before the third time (example 1st opening: 3rd column from row 1, 1st column from row 2, 2nd column from row 3. 2nd opening: 2nd column from row 1, 3rd column from row 2, 1st column from row 3). As a general rule, the last opening has to be the diagonal.

This game is "tria-full".

**Cross ("Stavros")**Each player is dealt three cards, of which he has to use at least two. Five community cards are placed as to form a cross and usually a "hat" is also added. The "hat" can be used as an "extension" of every from the four sides of the cross. It is opened alone at the last betting round.

The allowed combinations are:1) Two from hand, two adjacent sides of the cross and the center community card.2) Three from hand, one side and the center.3) Three from hand, the "hat" and one side.4) Two from hand, one side, the "hat" and the center.

The game is "kenda-chroma".

**Mirror ("Kathreftis")**Three cards are dealt to the player and there are only three community cards, which open one by one.

This game is "kenda-chroma", with a twist. If the player holds three cards with exactly the same combination of numbers and/or figures as the community ones, he wins even against a royal flush. This hand is called a "mirror", hence the name of the game.

**References*** [

*http://pokerinfo.gr/englishpoker/pokergreek/index.html Greek Poker - Poka*]

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