Is Five-card Draw boring you? Are you thinking about replacing poker with some other game? Well, stop right there and continue reading this article. We have just the right poker variant for you. It might not be as popular as Texas Hold’em, but trust us — you won’t be disappointed.
This obscure game goes under the name of Q-Ball, and it has been created fairly recently by Michael Wiesenberg. He is a former poker player, so it’s only natural that he’s interested in creating another form of this game. Admittedly, it’s still not as prominent in land-based or online casinos. But who knows — maybe they’ll start featuring it in the foreseeable future.
For now, what you can do is understand the rules of this poker variant and start persuading your friends to participate in a home game. Maybe they’ll love it so much that they’ll play it over and over again. Or perhaps, it won’t be their cup of tea. Well, whatever the outcome, at least you’ll be familiar with another poker type. And from there on? Well, the world is your oyster as they say.
So put a pen and paper in front of you and prepare for a valuable lesson.
Q-Ball: The Unknown Variant
For starters, this is a lowball game. The hand ranking here is not the one you might come across in many poker types. Namely, to win the pot, you just need the lowest possible cards. Therefore, the strongest hand would be A-2-3-4-5. Sounds engaging, right? Wait until you hear about the next part.
The standard Q-ball deck of cards includes a joker as well. That’s right; you’ll also have a wild card at your disposal. Admittedly, only one, but hey — count your blessings. At least you’ll have slightly higher chances of forming a winning combination. Let’s say that you get A-2-4-5-Joker after all cards have been dealt. In this case, the joker would replace the needed 3, and you’d strike gold in that round.
Now that we’ve mentioned this, we’ll go over the actual game.
The Game Progression
Before getting your cards, you’d first need to wait for three players to post their blinds. The first one is the dealer, who places a small blind. After this, a player to the left of the dealer makes another small bet. This would be a sign for the participant to that person’s left to engage. Specifically, they post a big blind. This third wager needs to be double the amount of the first two. So if the first two place $10, the last person would need to put in $20.
Only once this has been done can the game commence. And how does it unfold? Well, all players (we’d recommend from 3 to 8 of them) get three cards face down. After checking their concealed hands in peace, they need to place their bets. A player to the left of the big blind has the honor to start this round. That person can opt to match the biggest bet, that is, they can call.
On the other hand, they might decide to raise the amount. Alternatively, there is an option for folding. That participant would then quit the round. Following this, each person has the same opportunity as the first one. Most importantly — there’s no checking here.
Furthermore, now that the bets have been placed, players receive the fourth card. Who knows — it might be the one they need to continue forming the strongest hand. Then, they can wager once again. A player who’s still participating and sitting to the left of the dealer can prepare their bet first. Bear in mind that they cannot check in this round either. So what can they do? Well, they have a chance to either open or fold at the poker table.
What’s more, players are dealt the final, fifth card. Now they can contemplate what to do with their hand. But not before they place another wager. Don’t worry — they can check here (finally!). As with all other rounds, this one begins with the person on the dealer’s left.
Near the end, everyone finally gets a chance to draw. Hooray — probably what everyone has been waiting for! They can examine their cards and see what their logical course of action might be. If they want, they can return up to three cards and get new ones. However, if they have an ace, they can exchange four of their cards instead.
Lastly, Q-Ball allows them to wager for the final time. So they have four betting rounds in total here. If more than one player remains, then Q-Ball features a round that’s a standard part of most poker games — a showdown. After having exposed their cards, the best hand wins the pot. Remember, don’t chase the highest hand — go with the lowest cards (e.g., A-2-3-4-5).
Playing at a Fixed Limit?
That’s right, dear readers. You can spice things up and make the evening more enjoyable. You only need to set one rule — everyone plays at a fixed limit. So what does that exactly mean?
For starters, you need to impose a betting structure. We’d recommend going for 1-2-2-4. Of course, you can come up with your own if you’d like. Only you need to remember that the game has four betting rounds, and you can start from there.
But if you were to accept our suggestion, then here’s how the rounds would progress. Players would enter the second and third round knowing this: they could place a wager that is double the amount of the one in the first round. And once the fourth round begins, the final bet could be increased by four times the initial bet amount.
In conclusion, we truly believe that this variant won’t disappoint you. It features a structure which some might find interesting.
On our part, we looked forward to the round in which we could discard our cards and draw new ones. We waited, without a breath, for the third betting round to finish and for the drawing to commence. This was when we showcased our skills and hoped to get the best hand. To us, the time playing Q-Ball was well spent.
So why don’t you join us and try it out with your friends?