How to play Turkish poker

Turkish poker is a kind of 5 card draw poker played with a short deck of 36 or fewer cards (minimum 24 cards) depending on how many players play. Each player receives face down five cards and up to four can be exchanged.

It can be played with a minimum of 2 players up to 5 players. 2, 3, 4, and 5s are never used in the game. Lower cards must be removed from a standard 52 card pack depending on number of players as follows:

  • 2 players : 24 cards : A-K-Q-J-10-9
  • 3 players : 28 cards : A-K-Q-J-10-9-8
  • 4 players : 32 cards : A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7
  • 5 players : 36 cards : A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6

The Ace is the highest card as usual like other poker games but can be used as a low card to make a minor straight (or minor straight flush). When used as a low card the Ace ranks immediately below the lowest card in the pack – for example with four players the Ace ranks immediately below the 7 and 10-9-8-7-A is a straight.

The rank of the suits, from high to low, is: Hearts (kupa) > Spades (maça) > Diamonds (karo) > Clubs (sinek).

To make it clear before you start to read the remaining part of this post, there are significant differences from international poker you must know as follows:

  1. A flush is higher than a full house
  2. Three of a kind is higher than a straight
  3. Aces can be used as the highest card like other poker variants or the lowest card when making a minor straight and minor straight flush.
  4. Suits are used to break ties between otherwise equal hands.

Turkish poker hand rankings

Note that if there is a tie, then higher suit wins.

  1. Royal Flush: the top 5 cards of a single suit, (Exp: A-K-Q-J-10 of the same suit)
  2. Straight Flush: five consecutive cards of a suit without an Ace (Exp: K-Q-J-10-9 of the same suit)
  3. Minor Straight Flush: the lowest four cards of a suit with the Ace of the same suit (10-9-8-7-A of the same suit in a 4 players game)
  4. Four of a Kind: four equal ranked cards, with any fifth card (Exp: J-J-J-J-K)
  5. Flush: Any five cards of the same suit (Exp: A-J-10-9-7 of Hearts)
  6. Full House: three cards of one rank plus two cards of another rank (Exp: J-J-J-9-9)
  7. Three of a kind: three cards of the same rank plus two unequal cards (Exp: 10-10-10-K-Q)
  8. Straight: five consecutive cards of mixed suits (Exp: Ace of hearts-K of clubs- Q of diamonds- J of spades- 10 of hearts)
  9. Minor Straight: a card of each of the lowest four ranks, plus an Ace (Exp: in a four-player game 10 of clubs-9 of hearts-8 of spades-7 of diamonds- Ace of hearts)
  10. Two Pair: two cards of one rank, two cards of another rank, and one other card (Exp: K of spades- K of diamonds- J of hearts- J of spades- 10 of clubs)
  11. Pair: two cards of the same rank and three odd cards. (Exp: Ace of hearts- Ace of spades- Q of diamonds- 10 of clubs- 9 of hearts)
  12. High Card: five cards that do not form any of the above combinations.

How to play Turkish poker

The first dealer is chosen at random and the turn to deal passes clockwise after each hand. Before each deal, all players must ante an equal amount to the pot.

The cards are shuffled, cut, then each player is dealt 5 cards one card at a time clockwise.

After the cards are dealt to each player, round of betting starts, in which the minimum requirement to open is a pair of Kings. Players who have less than this must pass (check), and players are allowed to pass even if they meet the opening requirement so that he or she can bluff.

If a player has opened, other players have four options to go which they can call, raise, or re-raise even without a pair of kings. The fourth option is, Players who do not wish to match the latest bet can fold. They throw in their cards face down, take no further part in the hand, and cannot win the pot. If the opener folds, he or she may be required to show enough cards to prove that the opening was legal that the hand was higher than a pair of Queens and started with at least a pair of kings or above cards.

If all players but one fold, the sole survivor wins the pot immediately (if it is the opener, the winner may be required to show cards to prove that the opening requirement was met). Otherwise, the betting round continues until the stakes of all surviving players are equal .

If nobody opens, the cards are thrown in. The pot stays, the players ante again and there is a new deal by the next dealer.

If more than one player is still in the game after the first betting round, the players have an opportunity to improve their hands by drawing cards.

Beginning with the player to dealer’s left each player states how many cards, from 0 to 4, he or she wishes to exchange, discards that number of cards face down and is given replacement cards by the dealer from the top of the undealt part of the deck. If the cards run out, the discarded cards are shuffled and reused. If a player wishes to change four cards, only three are given initially; after all the players have been served, the players who asked for four cards are given their last replacement card.

As in standard draw poker, it is legal for the opener to discard part of or all of the combination that qualified the hand to be opened. In this case, the player must announce that the opening combination is being discarded, and the dealer must keep that player’s discards to one side, so that it can be proved if necessary that a pair of kings or better was held.

After the exchange of cards are there is a second round of betting begun by the player who opened the first round of betting, or if this player has folded by the next player in clockwise order from the opener who is still active. This player may check (bop), leaving his or her stake as it is, or bet (bahis koymak), putting some additional money in the pot. If everyone checks, the showdown follows immediately. If a player bets, the other players have the usual options to fold, call or raise.

If all but one player fold, the sole survivor takes the pot immediately. Otherwise, the betting round continues until the stakes of all surviving players are equal, and then the cards are shown.

As in the first betting round, if the opener folds or wins because everyone else folds, he or she must show cards on request to prove that the opening was legal.

In the showdown, all surviving players show their hands, and the player with the highest ranked hand wins the pot. Please note the differences between hand rankings in Turkish Poker and International Poker explained above.

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