Irish Poker Drinking Game Rules

Irish Poker Drinking Game

The Irish are among the three most gambling nations in the globe, so it's no surprise they invented Irish Poker (their personal vision of the worldwide game). While it shares resemblances with the traditional format, there are still some differences. Similar to Omaha poker, players are dealt four cards on the preflop, but two must be removed at a certain point in the hand. 

Apart from this alteration, the gameplay generally remains identical. However, if you're seeking a fun and lighthearted card game to enjoy with friends, where no knowledge of starting hands, 3-bet ranges, or bluffing, is required, the Celtic people have come up with a drinking variation just for that purpose. In this article, we will discuss both regular version and entertaining adaptation.

How to Play Irish Poker

Understanding this discipline will be fairly easy for those familiar with the Texas Holdem rules. Each hand starts with compulsory bets: big blind and small blind. These positions rotate clockwise, and players cannot skip them. Let's examine the gameplay as we go through each betting round (street).

Preflop
Preflop

A dealer gives each participant 4 hole cards. Everyone must decide whether they want to enter the action or muck their holding. All money you’ve already wagered goes to the pot – it cannot be returned, even if you fold in the subsequent betting stages. The individual to the left of the button has the first mover advantage, and all remaining participants act after them. In addition to the blinds, there may also be a mandatory ante bet (depending on the specific game rules).

Flop
Flop

Three community cards are laid out on the table. At this stage, you should eliminate two of your pocket elements. To continue playing, you must bet an amount that is equal to or greater than the big blind.

Turn
Turn

The fourth shared card is revealed, and a new round of betting begins.

River
River

The dealer adds the fifth card to complete the community board set. Standard betting goes on, followed by a showdown to declare the strongest combination and hence the victor.

The game's outcome is unpredictable, which adds to the main intrigue of the showdown: each participant has a chance to emerge victorious.

This discipline comes in two variants: limit and no limit. In the first case, there are no restrictions on the maximum bet, whereas, in the second variant, one cannot wager an amount that exceeds the number of chips in the pot.

Distinctive elements 

Irish Poker rules stand out by dealing four starters instead of two, which actually sets it apart from Hold'em. More players stay in to see the flop, aiming to form a favourable combination. It is crucial to strategize which elements to keep for a stronger hand, as 2 of the initial 4 pocket pieces must be mucked before the turn.

People holding a pair, high cards, or overpair have minimal chances of taking the pot, while straights, flush draws, or sets have a much higher probability of winning. To succeed, you need to be well-versed in the choice of starters and know all poker hands.

Our number one tip 💡
Our number one tip 💡

Analyze your opponents' table behaviour and make approximate assumptions about their possible holding. Exhibit aggression with a strong combination on the flop to narrow the number of rivals. Play cautiously with a medium-strength hand, as there is a significant likelihood that your opponents hold stronger cards.

Drinking Variation of the Game

By being creative, the Irish combined their two favourite activities – gambling and consuming beverages – and thus, Irish Poker Drinking Game was born. As the name implies, this is an alcohol-provoking format, so the game is suitable for bold spirit adults who love card games and aren’t afraid to mix drinks. IPDG should be played at home with friends or at least acquaintances. It challenges people in a completely new way.

Quick Guidance to Gameplay

To play this game, you will first need a standard deck, of course, and some surface, for example, a table. Since drinking alcohol is part of the gameplay, you will also need beverages (choose those you like or have at home). Are you a non-drinker? It's no trouble at all. You can buy soda, coke\pepsi, any sort of juice, non-alcoholic cocktails, etc. But, honestly, it will be less fun and exciting.

How many people can participate? This is a multiple-player game: up to 11 adults can join it. In case you want to invite more friends, just add one more pack and buy more beverages. So, IPDG is a great choice if you are organising a big party.

Rules here are really simple and entertaining. The first thing to do is choose a "dealer". They should arrange 8 cards face down in 2 rows, with each row containing 4 pieces. Next, they must give 4 "pocket" cards to all participants in the same manner. At this point, every player, starting with the one sitting to the dealer’s left, should guess on each "hole" card dealt according to the following characteristics:

Round 1
Round 1

Colour: black (spades and clubs) or red (hearts and diamonds).

Round 2
Round 2

Rank. To be exact, guess whether it is weaker or stronger than the first element.

Round 3
Round 3

Think whether the 3rd figure is between the 1st and 2nd ones in terms of value, or outside them.

Round 4
Round 4

Suit of the card.

Thus, there will be 4 base phases plus the final match. Keep in mind that only one element can be revealed at a time.

Breakdown of Beverages

If you succeed, then you will give away liquors; but if you fail – you will take them. The number of drinks to hand over\take varies depending upon the "betting" stage:

  • 1st – 2
  • 2nd – 4
  • 3rd – 6
  • 4th – 8

You can give away drinks to any other participant or spread them randomly around the table. For instance, if you are to issue 4 glasses, you can choose one player and order them to drink all four ones or choose four people, with each getting one cup, and so forth.

In the first "round of betting", a player "takes" 2 liquors if they fail to guess their card’s colour and "gives away" 2 cups if they succeed. Then, the next participant comes into play, trying to guess whether their figure is red or black. The same goes for each individual involved in the game. All stages run similarly, with drinks growing in each phase as shown above.

Fun add-on 🙂
Fun add-on 🙂

By the way, you can make it a little harder for your guests. Take a few cans of beer and shake them well so that they turn into mini-bombs. Then, spread these "explosive" cans among the participants. After each round, one of the players will be covered in beer foam. This is not aesthetically pleasing, as you will have to clean the room, so it’s better to apply this tricky plan when playing outside.

The Final "Betting" Round

When all players go through 4 base matches, the final phase begins and 8 "community" cards come into play. As already mentioned, there are 2 rows of 4 pieces each.

The top row represents items to be "given", while the bottom row hides those to be "taken”. The dealer opens the first top row figure, and, if one of your pocket elements matches it, you should give away two beverages. If any of your pieces corresponds to the next top row card, you can hand over 4 glasses, and so on behind the same scenario.

As far as the second row is concerned, the game is played in the same way as with the top row, except that you "take" alcoholic drinks if your cards correspond to those on the board.

And the "Champion" title goes to… As you may have already guessed, there are no winners here, only survivors. To begin the new game, simply shuffle the deck, but frankly, we don’t think there will be a long list to start it over again.

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Final Thoughts

Irish Poker card game was not officially recognized until a major tournament was hosted in Ireland in 2013, captivating the interest of card game enthusiasts. The event was organized by the renowned poker room, Full Tilt, which significantly boosted the game's popularity. Understanding how to choose starters enables people to transform this thrilling and engaging activity into both a source of entertainment and an additional income opportunity.

IPDG, a version with alcohol use, is commonly played in pubs or at home. Despite it’s fun, excessive drinking can have consequences and can easily become dangerous, therefore limitate your intake and don’t go too far.

FAQ

💡 How do you play Irish poker?

During the initial stage, people are dealt a starting set of four pieces instead of two. After the flop, two of them are mucked, and gameplay continues according to the rules of Texas Hold'em.

The drinking variation does not involve any strategic moves but relies on intuition and alcohol tolerance. Your main goal is to guess the colour, rank, or suit of a specific element. Depending on the outcome of the match, participants either drink a predetermined number of glasses themselves or designate someone in the group to do so.

📢 How many cards do you get in Irish poker?

Before the action begins, each participant receives four starting elements. Following the flop, two of them are removed, and then a combination is formed in the standard way. This approach creates an exhilarating and intense atmosphere, as most players tend to see the flop with nearly any hand.

💁‍♂️ How many people are in Irish poker?

The game is played with a 52-piece pack, so it's essential to determine the number of participants accordingly to ensure there are enough cards for everyone. Usually, this ranges from 2 to 10 individuals.

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