Viking Secret Wildcard Poker
Viking Secret Wildcard Poker is a sport played by an extensive group of gamblers, well enjoyed in Las Vegas. It is a game of luck, psychology, and skill, especially once the rubber chicken enters play. Seen played in Poker Before Dusk and Bad News.
In Viking Secret Wildcard Poker (VSWP) each player is dealt two cards face down. These are known as the "Pit" cards. These cards are combined with several face-up community cards (or card stacks) which are dealt to the middle of the table in a set sequence between betting rounds. The value of a player's hand is based on the best five-card hand they can produce using both of their Pit cards and three of the community cards.
VSWP is a rapidly evolving game, due to the fact that anyone is allowed to introduce new rules and twists on the game at any time the game is not in play. There are a few rules and requirements governing the introduction of new rules.
Rules on Making Rules
1. No rule can contradict another rule that has already been added and approved.
2. Rules may deal with cards and game pieces from different games (e.g. Magic: the Gathering, Clue, Uno, etc.), but must not make those other cards or game pieces a REQUIREMENT for playing the game. In other words, you can say that Elder Dragon Legend Vaevictus Asmadi has a certain effect on the game, but you cannot say that "In this stage of the game, each player must draw one MtG card." This is because not all players will have access to all types of game pieces.
3. No rule may make the game unplayable, or make an interpretation of the rule impractical to the point that the game cannot be logically continued.
4. If a rule is in dispute at the beginning of a game of VSWP, that rule will not be considered active for the duration of the game.
5. Rules must have some practical impact on the game, and cannot be merely aesthetic.
6. Don't make stupid rules.
7. When inventing terminology, the scientific names for the human anatomy must maintain their original meaning. For example, rules may exist that incorporate the words "nuts", "balls", "'nads", or "junk", but "testicles" always refers to the male reproductive organ. This is to eliminate confusion.
8. No rule can be introduced or removed during a game. The official rule list for a game is locked to revisions at the time the game begins.
(More to come as/when problems arise, I'm sure.)
Required Game Pieces
Viking Secret Wildcard Poker requires the following game pieces.
- One deck of regular playing cards.
Optional Game Pieces
Other game pieces may be involved in the game if available, but are not vital; the game can be played without them. Some of these game pieces include, but are not limited to:
- Jokers from the requisite deck of playing cards.
See the Expansions section for more details.
Viking Secret Wildcard Poker requries at least two players and a dealer. In more casual settings, it is possible to play without a dealer, but this can cause issues with certain dealer-centric rules, and often leads to unresolveable disputes and fisticuffs. Chips (and/or other betting objects) are divided evenly amongst the players.
All cards should be shuffled into the General Deck, except as specified under specific rulesets for expansion decks. (For example, if you are including the Clue rules, Suspect cards are shuffled into the General Deck, but Weapon and Location cards are placed in a separate deck.)
The Dealer is in charge of dealing Pit cards and community cards, enforcing rules, and settling disputes. In any and every situation, the Dealer's judgement and interpretation of the rules is always to be complied with and upheld.
Order of Play
First, two cards are dealt to each player from the deck. These are referred to as the "Pit" cards.
Following this, the first betting round begins. The first player to bet is the player two seats to the right of the dealer button. Betting progresses counter-clockwise around the table. Options are to bet, check, or fold.
Once a bet has been made, the value of that bet becomes the base bet value for that round. For example, if Player 2 checks and Player 3 bets 1000 chips, then 1000 chips is the base bet value for the remainder of Round 1.
Following a bet, players who have not folded have the option of folding, calling the bet and matching its total, or raising by introducing a Bet Multiplier (BM). (For information on the sequence and values of Bet Multipliers, see below.) Further players can, again, fold, call, or introduce the next Bet Multiplier in the sequence.
Round 1 ends when all players have either folded or matched the highest bet (including BM) that was introduced. All chips that have been bet now become part of the pot.
After this, it's on to the first community card, the Knuckle. This is a single card dealt face up from the General Deck.
Another betting round follows, with the same procedure as in Round 1. However, the initial bet of Round 2 must be at least as high as the base bet value of Round 1. (That is, if the base bet value of Round 1 was 1000 chips, then the initial bet of Round 2 must be 1000 chips or higher.)
Following this, four more community cards are dealt, known collectively as "The Flaps". These cards are placed face-up, alongside the Knuckle.
Another betting round ensues. The initial bet value must be at least as high as the base bet value of Round 2.
The final card is the Pants card, dealt from the General Deck. This card can make or break the game.
At this point, hand values are calculated and the winner of the hand is determined. In the case of a tie, the chips are divided evenly amongst all winners. If a player owns no chips at this point they are removed from the game. After the chips have been awarded to the winner, the Dealer button advances by one seat in the order of play.
The game continues in this manner until only one player is left, at which point he is declared the winner.
The ranking of hands is determined by point values. Every card or card stack is classified as either a rank, a multiplier, or a special effect. The final point value of a five-card hand is calculated by determining combos, applying Special Effects, adding up the adjusted ranks, then multiplying the resulting point value by the sum of the accumulated points multipliers in the hand.
The player who can make the five-card hand with the highest point value--using two Pit cards and three community cards--once all cards have been dealt is the winner of the hand.
- Numbered cards from a regular card deck have a rank (or base value; see terminology) equal to their number. (The ten of spades has a rank of ten; the six of diamonds has a rank of six.) Aces are not considered "numbered cards."
- Face cards from a regular deck are multiplier cards. Jacks have a value of x2, Queens have a value of x3, and kings have a value of x4.
- Multiple multiplier cards are not multiplied together to give their final effect. Instead, all multiplier cards, when treated as such, are added together, and then the final sum is the Point Multiplier Value. For example a x3 and a x4 would be x7, not x12.
- Multiplier cards from different decks can be counted towards Spin combos if the only effect they have is to multiply a value (such as face cards in the regular deck and husband/wife/son/daughter).
Special Effects Cards
- An Ace has the same rank as the highest ranking card in the hand, before the application of other special effects or card-value increases. For example, if the hand is 10,4,A,3,K, the hand is calculated as (10+4+10+3)x4=108. If there are no ranking cards in the hand, the value of the Ace is 1.
- A Joker is an anti-wild card. If a hand contains an anti-wild, all special-effects cards in that hand (including the Joker) are treated as having no effect and a rank of 1. If a player is holding a Joker in their Pit cards and another Joker is dealt in the Flaps, then that player has suffered a Squashed Spin and is not able to advance any Bet Multipliers for the rest of the hand.
- Many other Special Effects cards are present in various expansion decks.
If you have no combos, a hand is scored by adding up the value of all base-values, then multiplying that value by each multiplier in your hand. For example, the hand (9,3,6,5,A) would be scored as 3+5+6+(9x2)=32.
A combo is calculated before determining the hand's value. For example, the hand (5,6,6,9,A) would be scored as 5+12+12+9+9=50. The complete list of combos is huge, especially when including optional card-sets. The most common ones are listed here.
- Pair: Two cards with the same pre-combo base value. The value of each card in the pair is doubled.
- Two Pair: A hand containing two Pairs. The value of each card in the pairs is instead tripled.
- Small Straight: A hand containing four sequential cards. The value of each card in the combo is tripled.
- Three of a Kind: Three cards with the same rank. The value of each card in the combo is multiplied by 10.
- Straight: Five cards of sequential rank. The value of each card is multiplied by 15.
- Flush: Five cards of the same suit. The value of each card is multiplied by 25.
- Spin-Flip: A pair of base-value cards plus three multiplier cards. The base-value cards have their values squared, then doubled, and then the multipliers are applied.
- Full House: A hand with a three cards of one rank and two cards of another. The value of each card is multiplied by 30.
- Spin-Flush: Five multiplier cards. The hand has a base value of 5 (in addition to any base values from special effects), and the multipliers are applied sequentially rather than in sum. A hand of 2x,4x,3x,2x,3x would be scored (5)*2*4*3*2*3=720
- Four of a Kind: Four cards with the same rank. The value of each card in the combo is multiplied by 100.
- Straight Flush: Five sequential cards of the same suit. The value of each card is multiplied by 375.
- Five of a Kind: Five cards of the same rank. The value of each card is multiplied by 500.
Bet Multipliers are VSWP's equivalent of raises. Once a player has made a bet, the next player has the option of introducing one of the next Bet Multipliers in the branching sequence (which is outlined below). A BM is introduced by speaking the appropriate multiplier word and/or making the appropriate hand gesture.
Bet Multipliers increase the value of the required bet to stay in the hand. They do not stack; they are advancements of the same multiplier. In other words, if the base bet value of the round is 1000 chips, and the highest BM reached is Double Indemnity (x5), then in order to call, players must be willing to put 5000 chips into the pot.
If a player attempts to apply one of the next BMs in the sequence, but speaks the wrong word or makes the wrong hand gesture, then that player is forced to fold: they forfeit their hand and any chips they have bet so far and cannot play until the next hand is dealt. However, if that player performs the majority of a valid BM hand gesture or speaks the majority of a valid BM phrase/name (but not both), then he must be held to that BM, even if he made a mistake in doing so.
There is a branching path of Bet Multipliers that may be introduced.
- The first Bet Multiplier is always Spin (x2).
- Spin (x2) may be followed by Alpha (x3) or Beta (x4).
- Alpha (x3) may be followed by Double Indemnity (x5) or Splish (x7).
- Beta (x4) may be followed by Trimp (x6) or Alphonse (x8).
- Double Indemnity (x5) may be followed by Splish (x7) or Accidental Death (x15).
- Trimp (x6) may be followed by Splish (x7) or Twist (x13).
- Splish (x7) may only be followed by Splash (x11).
- Alphonse (x8) may be followed by Jealous Lover (x12) or Twist (x13).
- Splash (x11) may be followed by Flip (x16) or Jimmy (x18).
- Jealous Lover (x12) may only be followed by Accidental Death (x15). If an Elder Dragon is among the community cards, Jealous Lover cannot be followed and no further advancements are possible.
- Twist (x13) may only be followed by Flip (x16).
- Accidental Death (x15) can only be called. No further advancements are possible unless a card with a picture of a woman on it is among the community cards, in which case Accidental Death may be followed by Meat Pie (x17).
- Flip (x16) may only be followed by Jimmy (x18). If fewer than three regular playing cards (that is, cards from a standard deck of playing cards) are among the community cards, then Flip may be followed by Gargle (x20).
- Meat Pie (x17) can only be called. If a player makes a Meat Pie advancement, he or she must place one finger in his or her mouth until the conclusion of that round's betting.
- Jimmy (x18) can only be called. Players wishing to call a Jimmy advancement must cup their hands around their mouth and cry, "Jimmy, where are you?"
- Gargle (x20) can only be called. During Helmets Off a Gargle forces an opponent to go all in but enables them to use up to four Community cards to make their final five-card hand. This special effect is nullified if any Uno Wild Card comes up in the Pants Card.
Multiplier Values and Hand Gestures
Needs hand gesture descriptions for all BMs.
Spin: x2 (A rotation of the index finger of either hand. Players lacking index fingers may rotate their necks)
Alpha: x3 (A sideways gesture with the middle and index fingers of either hand with palm facing towards the player making the gesture)
Beta: x4 (a gesture with the palm facing away and thumb tucked to the palm with the fingers outstretched)
Double Indemnity: x5 (A wave of either hand in front of the face with all five fingers spread and palm facing towards the player making the gesture)
Splish: x7 (A wave motion using the left arm crossing over to the right)
Splash: x11 (A wave motion using the right arm crossing over to the left)
Jealous Lover: x12 (A rotation of the wrist across the face with the thumb of the left hand extended, with the palm facing away from the player making the gesture)
Twist: x13 (A twisting motion with both fists brought close together and clenched. Players may find it helpful to imagine performing a Chinese burn upon the opponent)
Accidental Death: x15 (a motion with either the index finger or thumb, making a line across the neck)
Flip: x16 (A motion with either hand where the hand is placed with the palm facing downwards before flipping briefly so the palm is face up and then returned to the original position)
Meat Pie: x17
Gargle: x20 (The player must say the word 'gargle' and keep a downward-absolutely expressionless and immobile face while doing so. If judgment is needed as to whether the face was kept emotionless the Dealer will consult a picture of Keanu Reeves and compare it to the player)
- To bet a "Rubber Chicken" means to make a bet of the same value as the Round before. That is, if the initial bet of Round 1 was 1000 chips, and the first better in Round 2 also bets 1000 chips, then the Round 2 bet can be called a "Rubber Chicken" or a "Rubber Chicken bet." This is similar to "limping in" in other forms of poker, because since it is the minimum bet amount allowed, it is seen as a weak and non-aggressive play. A Rubber Chicken bet is not required to be accompanied by an actual rubber chicken, but may be for the sake of style if desired.
- Though the base betting currency of VSWP is poker chips, any other object may be introduced into the game as a betting currency if at least 50% of the other players agree that the object should be allowed. The value of the introduced object, measured in poker chips, is determined by polling the players (excluding the player introducing the object), averaging the values they suggest, and then grudgingly accepting whatever value the Dealer decides to place on the item. (The Dealer's decision on the object's value may not be overruled.)
- When a Knave of Clubs comes into play, any player may produce a cricket ball and hurl it at the nearest wicket. If they hit the wicket, they score one point. Any other player may use a cricket bat to deflect the ball. If the ball impacts any other part of their body, the "Leg Before Wicket" rule comes into play. The batting player must engage in a twenty minute argument about obscure rules of either cricket or Viking Secret Wildcard Poker, or the other player receives one point.
- On a rainy day, play is reversed. Depending on the number of players at the table, the method of reversal is determined as follows:
- If there's an odd number of players at the table, play continues as usual, but progresses clockwise (rather than the usual counter-clockwise).
- If there is a prime number of people at the table on a rainy day, dealing order is reversed but playing order remains the same. (That is, the dealer begins dealing at the player to the left of the dealer button and continues in a clockwise direction, but the first player to play is the player to the right of the dealer button, and betting continues in a counter-clockwise direction.)
- If a player is consuming whiskey (optionally can be substituted for another drink of the dealer's choice) during gameplay, the value of their final five-card hand receives a bonus of 15 points. Consuming a froofy drink with more garnishes than current players at the table results in a penalty of 15 points to the player's final five-card hand. This penalty is applied after all other calculations are complete. This is reversed on a Tuesday between 7:38pm and 8:07pm.
- If 15 or more rule excepitions and changes have been made, the game there by enters "Cricket". When "Cricket" is declared, everyone goes all in and the pot is distributed exponentially throughout the players. If a player bets a cricket card, their hand is doubled and they only have to bet half of their hand. If it is in the season of summer, this rule is reversed. If it is a national holiday (International holiday do not recieve any effect) in the country the game is being played (when playing online, the country is either Canada or England, Which ever is closer to the Host) this rule is nulified.
Expansions are optional parts of VSWP that can enhance gameplay if you have the corresponding cards and games. Any expansion to be used must be agreed upon by a majority vote, with the losers begrudgingly accepting the additions.
A few expansions have been outlined below with their intended use and rules. These are guidelines and do not have to be followed. You can make up your own rules and create your own expansions.
If you're adding a new card set to this list, the template can be found on the category page: Category:VSWP Add-on Deck
- Happy Families
- Magic: The Gathering
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail CCG
- Phase 10
- Settlers of Catan
Non-Card Game Pieces
Specialty Expansion Rules
- If a copy of The One Ring is drawn at any time, a second card is played atop it, upside down, only to be revealed after all players have called. Any copy of this card revealed at any time after the call means a loss for any affected players -- except when it happens to the river card, in which case the face value for all Clue cards is tripled.
- If a blue Uno card is played in the Flaps, the effects of the Clue cards are nullified.
The commonly understood history of VSWP is that it is based on a combination of Pochspeil, a German game of bluffing and hand rankings that probably became modern Poker, and a game known only as "The Game". The Game was believed to have originated in the ancient Viking Thing, wherein council members would bet using hoards from recent raids as well as livestock (hence the addition in the modern game of "the chicken"). However, bloody feuds were common, as The Game had approximately 35 thousand unique rules, and this led to a great deal of confusion.
The synthesis of these games into Viking Poker is credited to the German-American gambler Otto von Quatsch in 1989. Viking Poker introduced the Knuckle, the Flaps, and the Pants card, as the trend of the day was the incorporation of community cards. As the game never appeared in any rulebooks, it became increasingly convoluted, until the basic rule set was finally published in 2002. The custom rules that led to the game's popularity, however, are maintained on internet forums. By accepting these rules, the players must acknowledge this fact by referring to the game by its full name, Viking Secret Wildcard Poker.
Most historians dismiss this history as "about 95% total bullshit".
Players of Acclaim
Notes and Terminology
- It is considered a courtesy to throw your cards at your opponents after they wtfpwned your ass as a gesture of admitting defeat.
- Backended : A player can offer or be offered a BM that would cost more than the amount of chips he has available. If a player accepts at least one BM that would cost more than the chips he has, he is considered "Backened" into that BM as he has no place left to go.
- Backhand : Refers to a play turns directly after he passes on the dealer button.
- Balls short : means to have a pit card that is one base value off from joining a combo that was flipped in the flaps, usually accompanied by a statement of what was missed. For example: "Balls short of a flip pair" means the a pair combo was flipped, and the base-value of the cards in that pair were 1 off a player's pit card.
- Base Value : the point-value of a card. Used interchangeably with "Rank." see Ranked Cards for more info.
- Bet Multiplier : a bet multiplier (BM) is a raise by a set multiplier value. see bet multipliers for more information.
- Catch or Caught : Use of the Knuckle or Pants card to overcome a "Balls short" flip.
- Cricket : When 15 or more rule exceptions have been made. see Specialty Rules
- Crunch : To overcome.
- Cut the straight : a phrase more commonly used in Ninja Poker Championships, where it means "to attempt a deadly blow without securing his own safety". The more frequently used phrase in Viking Poker is "Steal some booty while her man is still bleeding".
- Elbow : Refers to the chip gap between the chip-leader and the average of all other players in a single round. A "wide elbow" is a large gap, and a "narrow elbow" is a small gap.
- Felch : Reminiscent to a deviation, this involves a heavy risk and putting a strong majority of your bidding material in, in hopes of pulling it all back out when your opponents fold.
- Grits, Chips, Loot, Fat Cash, Smack : refers to the betting medium, and the owner's possession of such.
- Heavy : Refers to large stakes. Opposite of light.
- Helmets Off : When only two players remain at the table, it is referred to 'Helmets Off' as both players are vulnerable to a final defeat.
- Hold the knob steady : an expression to mean - "keep up the impression of points without betting aggressive."
- Inside : Inside refers to all known and appraised value on the table that is available for bidding. Opposite of "Outside".
- Knobs : refers to any regular cards with only a base value. This can also mean regular Uno cards as well, but often they are specified as "Coloured Knobs".
- Light : Refers to low stakes. Opposite of "heavy".
- Multiplier : refers to the multiplier value of a card. Face cards from a normal poker deck all have a multiplier value, which modifies the highest-ranked card in the same hand. See rules on multiplier cards for further information.
- Narrow : Refers to a small point or score gap. Opposite of "wide". See "wide" for more detail.
- Nut-flop : Refers to a significant favour of a single player from flipping the flaps, as if the flaps that were flipped were a 'kick in the nuts' to that player's opponents.
- Outside : Outside refers to any bidding material not yet accepted or valued. Opposite of "inside".
- Over: If Card A is "over" Card B, it means there are more of Card A than Card B. The opposite meaning applies for "under".
- Rank : the point value of a card. used interchangably with "Base Value." see Ranked Cards for more info.
- Scrump all his grits in one trug : An old Sussex saying meaning "To carry all your stolen apples in one container". Essentially means to risk everything by not taking the initiative to do something (possibly) more effective, and simply seeing what comes about in the short term.
- Slap : refers to the turn directly before a player receives the dealer chip. The term is not used in "Helmet's Off".
- Stack : A pile of cards on one Community Card location. All cards in the stack are considered grouped together and are played together as 1 of the 5 cards in a player's hand.
- Tilt : A heavy shift, usually referring to a large change in chip strength (although occasionally meaning a player's massive bulk literally shifts the table).
- Under : Refers to a collection of cards that do not have the majority of a collection. Opposite of "Over" (see "Over" for more detail).
- Under-crutch moonsault : When a player kicks another player out of the game by taking all of their remaining chips. Only applies when two players are competing for a pot (any other players must have folded).
- Wide : Refers to a large point or score gap. Opposite of "narrow". A "wide flush" would be a flush that produces a massive amount of points (such as a 10s overs 9s) vs a "narrow flush" (such as 1s over 2s).