Pick a Partner

Everyone is dealt a five card poker hand face down, then chooses one card to expose. The player with the highest hand selects another player as a partner. They are not obliged to show their strongest card. They may choose to do it to have the advantage of picking the best partner, or they may choose not to in order to disguise the strength of their hand.

Then the next available player with the highest card picks their partner, until everyone is paired up. The players then combine their remaining eight cards, choose three of them and discard the remaining five face down cards.

This leaves them with three face down cards, and their two face up cards from when they partnered up. A betting round then takes place, and in every subsequent betting round each player reveals another face down card.

Once again, the players are not obliged to reveal their strongest cards on each subsequent round. They may choose to leave their strongest cards until last to conceal their strength, or they may want to reveal them right away in order to represent strength in order to bluff.

There are variants on when each player turns over their card in each betting round. Some versions will see everyone turn their cards simultaneously. In other variants the players take it in turns to reveal their card at the same time and in the same order they go around in the betting. When taking it in turns, the turning of the cards give a big informational advantage to the players who get to turn their cards last, because the player who turns their card first and bets has no idea what their opponent has turned over yet.

The winning team splits the pot.

Pick a Partner also requires an element of understanding the other players at the table. A loose player and a tight player might not agree on the best course of action for a hand and give away key information about their holding if they were to argue. For this reason it might be more favourable to partner with a player who has a similar playing style, rather than necessarily picking the best all round player.