New Casual Magic Format: Pack Poker! (version .1)

After seeing 02drop.com’s new “Type Zero” casual format, I thought I’d try out a variant on it that’s modeled after poker. The best part is, it’s very low-risk for everyone involved, and it’s a great use of the completely free packs that people pick up as draft or tournament winnings!

What you need:
* Two packs (I recommend Rise of the Eldrazi for the high variance – that makes it more fun!),
* Twenty low-cost ($1) rares.

You can play either heads-up or with multiple people. The object of the game is to have the highest converted mana cost of all the cards on the table, including a Texas Hold ’em-style flop, river and turn, and two “hole” cards. When you run out of dollar rares, you’re eliminated, and turn over all the cards in your pack to the player who knocked you out. If you’re eliminated from ante, your pack cards are dealt out to the remaining players, beginning with the player with the highest number of dollar rares. If a player wishes to leave the game with their winnings, that’s fine – except that their deck is shuffled together and half of the cards are dealt out to the other players, starting with the player with the most $1 rares. The $1 rares are theirs to keep.

To begin, open the packs in such a fashion that you can’t see the contents of each pack, removing the tip card in each. Then, shuffle the two packs together. This will act much like your personal 52-card poker deck. When you take another player’s pack cards, these are added into your deck (effectively making four packs worth of cards, if you have eliminated one player.) Draw two cards off the top. These are your “hole cards”, and are only visible to you.

Roll a die. This player will initiate bidding. Ante is made with one $1 rare, with ante doubling every fourth hand. Bidding proceeds just like poker – you can check over to other players, raise, or call. After all calls are made, you flop three cards off the top of your deck. Another round of bidding commences, with the last active player from the previous bidding round initiating bidding. Then, each player turns a fourth card off the top of their deck. Another bidding round takes place. A final turn then occurs, with a final bidding round. After the final bidding round, each player reveals his or her hole cards, and the total converted mana cost of the hole cards and the flopped cards are added. The highest total wins the pot. Play continues until all other players are eliminated, or unless a “split” is made.

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