Oh, you simply must buy a ticket to Ireland before you can even think of playing Irish poker… not.
You can play this entertaining poker variation anywhere you like! Providing you know the rules, naturally. We can help with that.
If you know good ol’ Texas Hold’em and Omaha poker, then you’re in luck because Irish poker is their love child!
Irish Poker Rules
So, you start with four face-up cards like in the Omaha version, but then you discard two of them after the flop. The preflop action is also just like in Omaha when it comes to the two types of blinds. The blinds are there to sort of force you to start betting and to make sure everyone in the circle does. The small blind is the minimum bet required whereas the big blind needs to double that. This is always done in a circle to the left of the dealer, first the small then the big.
The remaining action goes on just like in Texas Hold’em.
So after the preflop, everyone gets four cards. Those who do not want to raise after the big blind are free to check. Now, the actual flop is the same in the two poker versions, so that means that three community cards are dealt facing upwards. Next comes another round of betting, starting with whoever is to the dealer’s left hand side.
On a side note, you don’t need an actual dealer! You can play Irish poker online too, just switch the word “dealer” with “button,” and you’re all good.
Now, moving on; when the round of betting is completed, whoever hasn’t folded has to discard two more cards. After this, you play as if it were Texas Hold’em. So the “fourth street” or “turn” are the same, and everyone has 6 cards in the game (one is extra because it only takes five cards to make a poker hand). The “river” or “fifth street” come after the final betting, and that’s when the last card is dealt face up. Players who are still in the game then reveal what they truly have.
An Example of Irish Poker Strategy
When it comes to Irish Poker, we advise you to channel your inner Omaha poker mindset when regarding the preflop. So you’re going to want to keep the 10s, Jacks, Queens, Kings, or Aces if you get them because you statistically have a greater chance of winning a hand with them. Unless you’re feeling super-duper mega lucky, just fold if you don’t start strong. Irish poker, like all poker, is a long game, and you want to play conservatively. That’s why you have to keep your eyes on the amount of Guinness, but we’ll get to that “variation” in a bit.
So look out for high cards and really consider your possibilities. Double big pairs, a pair of the same suit, a wrap, and so on.
Again, you really need the shoe to fit. So like a shoe, if it’s not a good match right away, you don’t want to get it. It’ll cause you too many blisters before you’ll be able to stretch it out to size. It’s the same thing with a bad poker hand — you won’t have time to make it work; there are only five streets in the whole game, so if your initial four cards don’t fit together well, toss them. There will be a better hand, and that’s the one you want to invest in.
What to Discard in Irish Poker?
Watch out for your opponents’ reactions to gauge how you should proceed. Say you flop a pair of 10s and yet, a player refuses to fold. This could mean one of two things. One, they’re bluffing, but you’d need to see them in a few more rounds to figure out exactly when they’re inclined to do that. On the other hand, they might flop a set (pocketing a pair that later makes a three), or they have a nut draw (the best hand in poker).
If you flop top pair and face significant resistance on the flop, odds are you’re facing an opponent with a flopped set or a nut draw. In poker, the nut hand is the strongest possible hand in a given situation.
All in all, play slow and know that you can swing it more than in Texas Hold’em, yet it’ll never be as volatile as in Omaha poker.
Some Intoxicating Bonus Info
We’ve been hinting at Guinness and whiskey about as much as the actual game. If you were hoping that would lead up to us explaining the drinking version of Irish poker — great instinct!
The drinking game version of Irish Poker is music to our ears as those four words go together so well. It couldn’t be simpler or more logical as Ireland is famous for its alcoholic beverages.
Get your favorite stout beer or some Irish whiskey (if you’ve got the sac for it) and start playing the game as you normally would. With one difference.
Once you get your four cards, the person sitting left of the dealer will guess if the leftmost card is red or black. If they guess correctly, they can make 2 other players drink a shot; if they’re wrong, they drink 2 shots themselves.
When the second card in line comes about, you guess if it is higher than the previous card or lower than the previous card. If you’re right, hand out 4 drinks, if you’re wrong… yes, drink all 4 of them.
You can also make these “educated” guesses about card suits or whatever suits your fancy. The point is, if you want to get really, really drunk, this is definitely the game for you.
In Conclusion — Play It Anywhere You Like!
Be it in an online casino, the physical-building one, or in your backyard with a high fence and plenty of Guinness — you don’t need a passport for this Irish gem!ф