In this blog post I will show you how to play Pot Limit Sviten Special. This is my favourite poker game and the subject of my book, released in May this year.
The first section of the book gives instructions on how to deal and play the game. This blog post reproduces that section of the book. I want as many people as possible to learn about this game and play it! Think about introducing it to your home game or talking your local casino into spreading the game. Or you can download the Pokio app and play for real money on your mobile device.
A standard international 52-card deck is used. The optimum number of players is 5 or 6. It is possible for up to 9 to play, but then you often have to recycle cards discarded by the earlier players to be drawn by others.
Players agree the size of the small and big blinds, and the betting limits. Sviten Special is preferably played as pot limit.
The cards are shuffled and cut. The structure when it comes to blinds, order of betting and the way the communal cards are dealt is identical to Hold Em and Omaha.
The player to the dealer’s left places the small blind and the player to the small blind’s left places the big blind. The dealer then deals five cards to each player, and there is a betting round, beginning with the player to the left of the big blind.
The dealer then burns one card and deals a three-card flop face up to the table. There is a second round of betting in which the first active player to the left of the dealer acts first.
After the second betting round, each player can discard any number of cards – from zero to five – and receives an equal number of replacement cards from the dealer, as in five card draw poker. If a player chooses to discard 1 card then a special rule applies. The dealer gives the card open faced to the player in question who then has the option to either
a) accept that card which now all players have seen and can estimate the player’s hand strength; or
b) decline that card upon which the dealer mucks the card and delivers the next card in order face down to the player in question.
If the deck runs out of cards during this process the muck (consisting of earlier players’ discards, the burn card, and the cards of any players who folded in the first betting round) is shuffled to form a new deck from which to deal replacement cards to the later players. It should be noted that the discards of the players still to receive their cards should not be included in the reshuffled deck so they cannot get back the card(s) they discarded.
When the draw is complete, the dealer burns one card and deals one card (the turn card) face up to the table. There is a third round of betting beginning with the player to the left of the dealer.
Finally the dealer deals a fifth face up card (the river) to the table, and there is a fourth round of betting beginning with the player to the left of the dealer.
Note that some card rooms do not use burn cards in order to limit the likelihood of having to recycle the deck.
If any betting round results in all players but one folding, the last surviving player immediately takes the pot without showing any cards, and this ends the hand.
If more than one player remains after the final round of betting, those players show their cards. The pot is split between:
- The best five-card draw poker hand (considering only the five cards held by the player)
- The best Omaha poker hand, formed of exactly two of the player’s cards and three of the face up cards on the table.
Normal poker hand ranking applies. It is of course possible for the same player to win on both criteria, and take the whole pot.
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