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Poker's Misère Pots

Poker has a very interesting established pot called the Misère Pot.

The Misère Pot, in a not-so-miserable form, but rather quite a dead-end (if the player's cards are not competitive enough for a draw) to pursue a certain pot.

Misère (otherwise known as 'worst hand') have in recent years enormously increased in popularity, and in some clubs may be said almost to dominate the game.

The reason for their popularity isn't far to seek. In Straight Poker, Jackpots, etc., no one need finish with a worse hand than he started with.

But in a Misère Pot, the most promising hand may, unless it's a 'pat' hand--- be ruined in the draw, while a very large number of hands to which one, or two, or even three, cards are drawn may eventually win the pot.

The objective in these pots is, then, to finish with what is (or purports to be) the worst hand--- judged by the standards of Straight Poker--- of those which are in competition.

Since the Ace, in these pots, ranks as the lowest card of its suit, the worst hand that can be held is 6 4 3 2 A, where the five cards do not constitute a Flush.

This hand, 6 4 3 2 A--- is commonly known as 'Royal Six' or a 'Royal.'

It is however of much more frequent occurrence than is a Royal Flush. Out of the many hands which can be dealt 'pat', only four are Royal Flushes, but there are as many as 1,020 'pat' Royals available.

That while you can expect to get one Royal Flush in (approximately) one deal out of 650,000, you can expect to get a pat Royal in a Misère Pot in one deal out of 2,500.

On a lighter note, it might be interesting to carry the comparison farther and show how the best Misère hands that can be dealt pat compare with their opposite numbers in Straight Poker.

The mechanics of Misère Pots follow the pattern with which one should now be familiar.

Each player contributes two chips to the pot; the sweetener if the pot isn't opened (not at all a common occurrence) is a half-chip.

A pot can be opened on any hand. But, no player may draw more than three cards.

This rule was introduced to protect foolish players against the consequences of excess folly, since one can hardly think of a more philanthropic gesture than drawing, say, four cards to an Ace in the hope of finishing with the best Misère hand.

To draw three cards is quite silly enough.