How to Play Anaconda
It seems as if there is a never ending list of poker variation. However, each brings a unique and interesting nuance to the old classic. One such variation is called Anaconda. Anaconda is almost exclusively a home game. You will not find it being played in a casino, and good luck trying to find an online Anaconda game.
In the game of Anaconda, play begins with each player being dealt 7 cards. After a round of betting, everyone must pass three cards to the player seated to their left. After that, betting takes place again. Once that is done, you must then pass two cards back to the person on your right. After that, a final round of betting takes place before your best five cards are put up against everyone else’s best 5.
Sometimes you will see slight variations on the game. One is to pass cards only to your left. For instance, after the first round of betting, you would pass three cards to the player on your left. After betting again, everyone would pass two, then bet again, then finally pass one card to the left. This variation is popular because once you pass cards you will not have to worry about getting them back (unless there are only four people playing).
If you play a 7 card version, you are limited to 7 players at the table. If you go 7 cards per person, that is 49 cards with 3 left over. However, you can add players by either playing with 6 cards, which is also very common or adding in the jokers as wild cards. If you add both jokers and go down to 6 cards, you can have up to 9 players.
There is one other variation that often goes by the name of Howdy Doody. In this version of Anaconda, there are a few exceptions to the rules. For one, threes are wild only if the hand they are being used in is trying to go for the high hand. On the other hand, Kings are wild only if they are being used to go after the low hand.
As for the pot, there are a few ways to do it. Most people and most casinos that do happen to offer Anaconda will just give the best hand the pot. There is a variation to that, though. You can also split the pot between the high and low hands. That adds additional strategy of deciding whether to go for a great hand or a bad hand.
As was mentioned before, Anaconda is a popular home version of poker; it is common in Friday night games and at parties. There actually are reasons for that. For one, casinos would prefer to avoid games where players are handing cards back and forth from one another. Secondly, online Anaconda creates similar problems. You have players handing cards back and forth to each side, which means complicated programming, complicated interfaces, and an overall complex game. Online poker is, by nature, supposed to be simple and easy to understand.
As you can see, Anaconda is certainly an interesting game. With so much progressive betting, hands changing on a dime, and both and hi and low hand winners, it can be a dangerous game. Named after one of the largest snakes in the world, it is certainly just as likely to jump up and bite you as it is to squeeze the life out of you. Just don’t expect to run into it in a casino or at your favorite online gambling site. Instead, when the cigars come out on Friday night, try throwing out a game or two of Anaconda for you and your home poker playing friends.
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