Baseball Poker is a variation on Seven-Card Stud, in which players are progressively dealt their cards throughout a series of betting rounds, rather than being dealt packets of cards at a time.
Baseball Poker can be seen as a combination of the rules of 7-Card Stud and Texas Hold’em, with its own unique spin on the betting rules of both games.
How to Play Baseball Poker?
Baseball Poker is played using the standard 52-card Anglo-American deck pattern. Baseball Poker, unlike most poker games, is only comfortably played with 2-6 players.
There must be an Ante paid, as is the case in many poker games. An Ante is an agreed-upon wager that all players are compelled to make before they can be dealt their cards. The Ante is always paid equally by each player, though players are welcome to bet more than the Ante if they wish.
Once each player has paid in their Ante, a Dealer should be randomly determined. Once the Dealer has been determined, that Dealer will deal out three cards to each player, in packets of three at a time. The first two cards dealt to each player should be face-down, and then the third card dealt face-up.
The Betting Positions
Once each player has been dealt their cards, the first betting phase begins. These betting phases follow the traditional poker ruleset, where players have 4 options:
The player with the lowest ranking face-up card will lead the first bet, or “bring in.” The turn order will then be clockwise.
If a player does not wish to participate in the remainder of the game, unwilling to surrender more of their money to the pot based upon the quality of their cards, they may fold.
Folding players will surrender their cards, and forfeit all money that they have already placed into the pot. They are no longer compelled to match the previously highest bet, as they are sitting out of this particular hand. However, players also forfeit their right to any winnings in the pot, even if the cards they folded would have won the hand.
If there is no outstanding bet, either because all previous players checked or folded or because the player checking is the first player to take their turn, then players may check as well. A check is essentially a bet of 0. The player is “Checking” what other players will do before making their turn.
Betting or Calling
Players may also Bet or Call. When a player is matching another player’s previously highest bet, they are calling. For example, player 1 bets 5, so player 2 calls and bets 5 as well. A Bet is simply the first bet made in a game. So, player 1 bets 5, for player 2 to call.
Players may Raise during their turn. Raises are an increase upon the previously highest bet. Players that Raise must match, and then exceed the previously highest bet. For example, player 1 bets 5, so player 2 Raises 4, for a total of 9 chips. Player 1 must then pay an additional 4 chips if they wish to remain in the game.
The Subsequent Betting and Drawing Phases
After each player has made their requisite bets, the next betting Phase begins. At the start of this next phase, each player is dealt 1 new card, face-up.
Keep in mind that there are special cards in Baseball Poker. The 9, 3, and 4 cards. The 9s and 3s can be used as wildcards, substituted for any other cards in the game. When a player is dealt a 4, face-up, they will then be dealt an additional card immediately, also face-up. This is added to the card total. This means potentially, a player could have a total of 11 cards at the end of a hand.
Once this card is dealt to each player, the player with the best Poker hand in their face-up cards must then Bring it in. Players then complete this betting phase, are dealt another single face-up card, and continue the game.
Play continues until all but one players fold, or four non-4 face-up cards have been dealt to each remaining player. After this occurs, a fifth and final betting phase occurs, after which players enter the Showdown.
In the Showdown, players attempt to form the best possible 5-card hand from their possible 7-11 cards in front of them. Players then compare these hands, and the highest ranking meld is the winner. If players tie melds, they compare the highest card in their hand. If they have the same meld, and the same high-card, the pot is split evenly.
Cards are shuffled, and a new round begins.
Baseball Poker Rules
Below you can find a list of the rules:
- 9s and 3s are wild cards. 4s deal out an additional face-up “bonus card”.
- Players must match the previously highest outstanding bet at the table.
- Bets are not carried over between betting phases. The last highest bet in the previous betting phase does not affect the next betting phase.
- The player with the high-card, or the highest poker hand in face-up cards, must bring in.
Hand Rankings Chart
|5-of-a-Kind||4♦4♣4♠4♥ and 3/9|
Imagine the following as your starting hand in Baseball Poker:
3♣ 7♣ 10♦
And further, suppose that you managed to keep betting and remain in the game until the following cards have also been dealt:
J♣ 3♠ 3♥ 10♥
Remember that in Baseball Poker, 3s and 9s are wild cards. This means that the following hand is extremely strong, as a player could form a mid-ranked straight-flush with the 7♣ and J♣.
This means the best possible hand formed from the above cards is 7♣, 3♥, 3♠, 3♣, J♣
How many cards do you get in Baseball Poker?
If you do not fold until the final, fifth “inning” or betting phase of Baseball Poker, then you would be dealt a total of 7 cards. 3 at the beginning of the game, and 4 in the following phases.
If a player is dealt a 4 as one of their face-up cards, then they will also be dealt an additional face-down immediately, for a total of 8.
What are wildcards in Baseball Poker?
The wildcards in Baseball Poker are the 3 and the 9. These cards can be used interchangeably with any other card in the game. However, a five-card Poker hand must have at least one non-wildcard in order to form a valid five-card meld.
How many players can play?
Between 2 to 6 players can comfortably participate in a game of Baseball Poker.
What is Midnight Baseball Poker?
Although one might think based upon the name that Midnight Baseball is actually a variation of Baseball Poker. However, the two games are vastly different and likely unrelated. The name refers to the fact that players “bat in” a new card every phase that they do not fold, as they are continuously dealt cards for each round they continue.
Midnight Baseball, instead, refers to the metaphorical act of playing sports at night, when one would not be able to see the ball. This is because, in Midnight Baseball, players may not look at any of their cards before making their wager. Or, blind, as one would be in a game of Baseball at Midnight.