The object of the game is to score points by building connecting poker hands and the person or team that has the highest score after all cards have been played, wins. “High Handed” can be played by 2-6 players from ages 8 – 88.
Game Setup and Playing
With 4-6 people play with the entire deck.
With 2 or 3 people, take out one “Two Timer” and one “Thief” card from the deck.
Place the playing surface on anything flat (kitchen table etc.) with easy access for all players. One person takes the score pad and becomes the score keeper for the game. Determine by any means, who shall be the dealer (youngest player, draw for high card etc.) then have him shuffle the deck. The dealer now deals five cards face down into a pile (a blind poker hand) and sets them aside. These are unknown cards that will leave people guessing as to their identity as the game progresses.
If there are 2-4 players, each player is dealt 7 cards, if there are 5-6 players each player is dealt 5 cards to start. The dealer now takes the remaining deck and cuts it in half. Place each pile at opposite sides of the table so all players can draw cards easily when required. The person to the left of the dealer is the first to play and now lays down any card from their hand face up anywhere on the game board. He now must pick up a card from one of the two piles before the next player lays down a card. If he forgets he must continue playing the game with just 6 cards in his hand. If he forgets again he goes down to 5 cards and so on. The play continues clockwise around the table with the next person laying a card down anywhere on the game board and picking up one from a pile.
GAME PLAY AND STRATEGY
Players are trying to build poker hands in straight lines by connecting cards from their hands with the cards that have already been laid on the game board. These lines can be vertical, horizontal or diagonal. Example: Player (A) lays down a two of spades, player (B) then lays a two of clubs on the game board that connects (touches either above, below, beside or diagonally) to player (A)’s two of spades, he scores 1 point by making a (connected) pair. The next player places a card. He may put a lone card down at the opposite end of the game board, wanting to start something new or he may have another two in
his hand and may place that in a straight row connecting a third two making three of a kind, scoring 4 points. The game continues as such, building off the cards as they are laid.
Note: If you are adding to cards in a straight line, the poker hand must change to a completely different poker hand in order to score points. Example: A person lays down any Ace connected in a straight line to another Ace and a pair of threes. This makes him two pair, he scores 3 points. The next player puts another Ace beside those cards which turns that two pair into a full house, scoring 6 points. The poker hand must completely change; there is a reason for this. Example: If you have a flush (5 cards in a row of the same suit), this stops players from just adding more same suited cards at the end, making easy flushes. Note: Poker hands can be in any order, Example: a straight can be 5, 3, 7, 4, 6. or two pair can be J, K, K, J. etc.
“HIGH HANDED CARDS”
When a person is either dealt (or picks up) one of the “High Handed” cards, these cards have added value. The “Two Timer” card is worth double the points on any hand you complete. Example: If you see three Jacks in a row and you have a “Two Timer” card and a jack in your hand, you announce that you are playing it. Place it face-up at the end of the three of a kind (jacks) then place the jack in your hand on top of it. Instead of scoring 6 points for the four of a kind you now score double (or Two Times) for 12 points. If you receive a “Thief” card, you can remove (steal) any card already played on the game board. You announce that you are using it and place the “Thief” card on top of the card you want replaced and then you place any card in your hand on top of it. Example: If you see a full house on the game board (a pair of fives with three nines) and have a “Thief” card and a nine in your hand, you can place the “Thief” card on the five closest to the three nines and place the nine in your hand on top of that, turning it from a full house into four of a kind. You score 6 points. Note: You can use up to two “High Handed” cards before playing a regular card per turn. Example: You could play a “Thief” card then a “Two Timer” card plus a regular card making a new poker hand. Also, if you use two “Two Timer” cards, your points double twice. You now pick up the same number of cards from the deck that you played. Example: If you played two cards pick up two, three pick up three. You may play a “High Handed” card by itself although this is not recommended as you’re not getting any value from it. However sometimes a player will hold onto a “High Handed” car too long or forget to use it and therefore he may play it by itself anywhere on the game board if needed. Scores are added as hands are made and play continues until the deck is gone and all the cards in people’s hands have been played!
1 pair = 1 pt. 2 pair = 3 pts. 3 of a kind = 4 pts.
Full house = 6 pts. 4 of a kind = 6 pts. Straight = 10 pts.
Flush = 10 pts. Straight flush = 15 pts. Royal flush = 20 pts.
Flushes and straights are harder to get in “High Handed” than regular poker and accordingly have higher score values. Note: If you place a card down completing a poker hand and that card completes another poker hand at the same time, you score points for both hands! Here are poker hand examples.
Different length of games and ways to score
Regular game: 20-25 minutes. Just add up the scores and find the winning person/team.
Double game: 40-50 minutes. Take the scores from the first game and continue by adding the second game scores. Highest score at the end of the second game is the winning person/team.
First to win twice: 40-80 minutes depending on how many players. Play regular games and the first person/team to win twice is the winner. Keep track of game wins.
You can apply these two rules if desired. If playing with anyone over 70 and on their first turn they forget to pick up a card before the next player plays a card you may give them another chance by implementing “The Grandpa Rule”.
If you look over and someone inexplicably has an extra card in their hand, any card is randomly removed from his hand by another player and 5 points are deducted from the perpetrator’s hand thus implementing “The Uncle Bob Rule”.