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California High/Low Split Poker

California High/Low Split Overview

California High/Low Split is a draw poker game with a split pot and a single joker, which acts, in a limited manner, as a wild card. California High/Low Split can be played by three to eight players

California High/Low Split Rules

Before play begins, each player must ante up. This means that the players put a small amount of money into the pot to begin the game. Then the dealer gives each player five cards, face down. After examining their cards, the players enter the first betting round. During the betting round, players have the choice of calling the current bet by adding the amount necessary to stay in the round. They may also raise the bet, adding more money into the pot and forcing others to do so as well. If they choose not to add more money into the pot, they fold, meaning that they stop playing.

After the first round of betting is complete, each player may return up to three cards to the dealer. If they have an ace or the joker, they may return the other four cards to the dealer. The dealer gives them the same number of cards, dealt from the top of the deck. There is another round of betting and then there is a showdown. The showdown differs from those in other poker games in a few ways.

First, the pot is split between the player with the best hand and the player with the lowest cards, provided that at least one player has only cards with a value of eight or less. If all the players have cards with a value of nine or more, (not including aces) then the best hand gets the entire pot.

Second, a low hand with no pairs or three-of-a-kind is better than a low hand with pairs or three of a kind. Flushes and straights, however, do not affect the low hand.

Third, the joker is played as what is referred to as a bug. This means that it can complete a straight or a flush, but if it does not complete a straight or a flush, it automatically becomes an ace. If it completes a straight or flush, it becomes the best possible card in the straight or flush.

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