Anything But Hold Em

There\’s More to Poker Than Texas Hold Em

One of these Days, I Should Go on a BARGE Trip

Posted by pmpoker on August 6, 2007

Lou Krieger’s describes Chowaha:

They play Chowaha at BARGE. It’s a staple of the fun and frivolity. The game is a variant of hold’em, only it’s played with three flops, two turn cards, and one river card. Each player is dealt two cards, and both hole cards must play. Three flops are then spread—one on top of another. Two turn cards are dealt, one placed between the top and middle flop, the other between the middle and bottom flop. The top turn card plays with the top and middle flops, and the bottom turn card plays with the middle and bottom flop. There is one river card, and it plays with all available combinations.

If some dealers were confused by Chowaha’s intricacies, they loved the game’s fringe benefits, particularly the occasional cries of “mandatory toke,” which required each player to flip a dollar chip in the general direction of the dealer. These mandatory tokes quickly made Chowaha a dealer favorite. Another innovation, designed to liven up the “anyone-can-afford-it” $2-$4 limits, was the occasional multi-straddle, in which four successive players placed progressively larger blind bets.

Chowaha was such a hit that off duty dealers are usually eager to join in the fun and play. One of my endearing BARGE memories was the absolute incongruity of an announcement made at 4:00 a.m., in an otherwise quiet and mostly empty poker room, when a deep and somber voice on the public address system intoned: “Seating is now available in the must-move Chowaha game, table two.”

I’ve never played Chowaha, but my guess is that suited connectors go up in value, since they can work towards strong five-card hands with multiple flops while pocket pairs go down in value because they are more likely to beaten (although they are often still playable for set value).

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