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Spanish Poker

  A game that is very much like Texas Hold'em, Spanish poker plays with community cards and is often played No Limt, but at that point Hold'em and what is known in some parts as "Synthetic Poker" (no one is sure why) start to part ways.

  In this popular (in Europe, anyway) Hold'em variant, the deck is stripped down to 28 cards. All four suits are used, but the cards seven and lower are discarded. The Ace can be used as a high card, or a substitute 7. The wild-card like behavior of the Ace can mean a higher influence from Lady Luck than in traditional Hold'em.

  There are five rounds in all. To begin, players ante up and are dealt two hole cards. Instead of a 3-card flop, only one card is placed face up on the table, beginning the community cards. After each turn of a community card, players are allowed to bet.

  To make their final hand, players of Spanish Poker use a combination of hole and community cards, but unlike Hold'em, they have to use both hole cards and only three table cards. This bears repeating; you can't use four of the five cards on the board, only three.

  If you have KS and QD as your pocket cards, for example, and the board cards are JS, 8S, 9S, QS, and AC, you would have a flush if this were Hold'em. In Spanish Poker, you would have a pair of ladies. One other point, speaking of flushes; they beat a full house. Other than that deviation, all other hand ranks are the same.

  So the next time you are sitting in on a game in Barcelona, or if you just want to add a little variety to your Poker Night, strip down (your deck), put on some Salsa music and try a few hands of Spanish Poker.

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