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Wild Card Rules

Customary Wilds

It is not at all unusual for Wild Cards to be introduced into five card poker games. And, with Draw Poker being classically a five card game, I thought this a good place to bring up the customary "wild" card designations.

Joker - decks of cards usually come with two Jokers, adding one, or even both to the deck increases the chances of landing better poker hands. They are also easily identified as being a "wild" card.

The Bug - this is a wild card of limited power. It is not capapble of substituting for any given card in the deck. It may only substitute for particular cards, or in particular situations.

The card used as the "bug" is a joker, and it has the following powers:

  • It can be used as an Ace
  • It can be used to fill in a Straight
  • It can be used to fill in a Flush
Examples of Using the Bug:
A player holds two Aces and the Bug. His hand is ranked as Three-of-a-Kind, Aces.

A player holds a pair of 8's and a pair of Kings, along with the Bug. His hand ranks as two pair, Kings and 8's.

Non-Joker Wild Cards - in place of using Jokers as Wild cards, other cards are designated as being Wild. Designating "Deuces Wild" is common, and adds four different wild cards to the deck.

"One-eyed Jacks" which really means the Jack of Sapdes, and "Suicide Kings" referring to the King of Hearts (displayed on the card with a sword to his head) are common wild card choices.

Another Wild Card scheme is the "low hole card" becoming wild. This allows each player to have a different wild card, since each player has a different set of hole cards. If a player has a pair of their lowest card, that would give them two wild cards.

Sometimes the low hole card must be of a designated suit, for example, "low spade in the hole" being wild. Designating a low card as wild also brings into play the fact that additional cards can change the status of a hand. A player who has a pair of fours as low card can lose a wild card when their final card comes as a three.

Customs in Using a Wild Card

Five of a Kind becomes the best possible hand when using wild cards in a game, beating even a Royal Flush.

Local customs on whether a "natural" hand beats the same hand containting a wild card differ from region to region. Please declare your take on this event in advance of dealing the games.

Holye declares that a wild card cannot replace a card the player already holds, so hands such as a "double Ace High Flush" would not exist.


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