Manilla Poker

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Manilla Poker

The name of this game already suggests an exotic Pacific-rim variant of the most popular form of gambling, poker. If the name directs your thoughts towards the Philippines, I've got to tell you, you're not too far off. Manila poker, as a matter of fact is the most popular poker-variant played in Australia,in general, and the Star City Casino in Sydney in particular. Many Filipinos are also known to play at pokerstars. This just shows how popular the game of poker is to players in Manila and how far this game has gone in terms of crossing continents."

Manila , as most regional type cardgames, has quite a few versions of its own. The most well-known is the 2 card Manila.

2 card Manila ( also known as 7 up poker) is played with a deck of 32 cards, ( what they call la "strip-deck") all cards lower than 7 removed from the deck.

The players ante and then receive two hole cards, ( placed face down). After each of the players get their hole cards, a community card is drawn. This one is put face up on the table, and another round of betting commences. After the betting another shared card is shown and the whole cycle is repeated until there are 5 community cards on the table. After 5 round of betting ( betting in Manila usually has a limit to it, I'll get into that later on) the time comes for the Showdown. The player who can make the best hand from his 2 cards and 3 of the community cards from the table takes the pot. At this stage I feel it should be pointed out that in Manila - because of the lack of cards lower than 7 - the flush beats the full house. Aces cannot be played low for a straight, and there is no High-Low split.

Another variant of Manila deals 3 hole cards to each of the players, sometimes they can discard one of these during the game, sometimes they can hold on to it till Showdown, but it is compulsory for them to make their final hand from only 2 of the 3 hole cards and 3 of the community cards. When playing 3 card Manila, 6-es are usually returned to the deck, in order that there should be enough cards for the players.

Betting in Manila goes down in 5 rounds, one after each community card is shown. The first round usually consists of $5 bets and raises, the second through 4th rounds are usually $10 bets and raises and last the 5th round is $20 bets. This is the main thing setting Manila apart from its close relative, the Spanish Poker, which is mostly played No-limit.

Another version of Manila is the Billabong, which is basically Manila played with two hole cards and a face-up card. The player with the lowest card , or the highest one ( as beforehand agreed ) starts the round of betting. After this round ,two community cards are shown and another round of betting comes,led by the player with the best likely poker hand - counting the community cards as well. After this there are two more widow cards drawn each one followed by a round of betting and then the Showdown. Best poker hand in the Showdown takes the pot.

Shanghai is Billabong played with 3 hole cards, meaning that each player receives 3 hole cards and a face-up card to begin with. Out of the 3 hole cards only 2 can be played however, the third one has to be ditched at some point in the game.

The "pineapple" variant has players discarding their 3rd hole card right after they receive them, " Tahoe" has them ditching it right before the Showdown.

Given the fact that the majority of community card games ( also known as " widow cards" or " shared cards") seems to have emerged around the time of World War II, I'd say Manila doesn't have all that much a history to look back upon. Nonetheless as a modern cardgame it was one of the most popular games in Australia in the late 1990s and it probably still is today being played in many actual and online casinos world over.

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