|© 2005, Clark D. Rodeffer|
Cow poke was invented by Clark Rodeffer (USA) in 2005 with (helpful, according to him) input by David Whitcher. It is a six-card stud poker / mancala game crossover for 2 to 6 players where each player attempts to capture the cards he or she wants via a single-lap sowing. Betting rounds follow each capture, with a standard best five-card hand showdown at the end. The game has been only minimally tested; Rodeffer played several hands by himself in late February, and then a full game with David Whitcher on 11-March-2005. That seemed to go fairly well. It was David's idea to use face-down cards as place markers for the piles.
You'll need a standard (French-suited) pack of 52 playing cards and materials for betting (chips, candy, money, etc.).
Before beginning, players choose seats and agree upon ante amounts and betting limits (if any). All players then draw high cards for first deal. The deal will rotate clockwise after each hand.
Order of Play
- All players ante to a central pot.
- All of the cards are assembled face-down, shuffled and cut.
- Starting with the player at his or her left and going clockwise and one-at-a-time around the table, the dealer gives each player two face-down cards.
- Beginning with the dealer, there is a first round of betting. If anyone folds, their cards are set aside unexamined.
- Going clockwise, the dealer places ten cards face-down in a circle around the central pot. These face-down cards are out-of-play, and are simply place markers for the piles of cards.
- Going clockwise and one-at-a-time, the dealer places three face-up cards on top of each of the face-down place markers. The cards within each pile should be offset slightly, so that the number of cards, as well as their suits and values can be seen by everyone. Any remaining cards are set aside unexamined.
- Beginning with the player nearest the dealer's left, each remaining player with less than four face-up cards in front of him or her, on his or her turn, picks up all of the cards from any one of the ten piles and, without changing their order or orientation, sows them one-at-a-time clockwise onto the other piles.
- If the last sown card falls onto a single face-up card, both face-up cards from that pile are taken by the player doing the sowing and added face-up to his or her hand as in Stud Poker (i.e., single lap clockwise sowing with captures by twos).
- Beginning with the player who just made a capture, there is a round of betting.
- Sowing resumes with the player nearest the left of the player who most recently captured cards.
- Repeat steps 8. through 10. until all players either have four face-up cards in front of them or have folded.
- In a showdown, each remaining player makes a five-card poker hand from his or her six cards. The high hand wins all of the stakes in the central pot.
- Repeat steps 1. through 12. until someone loses the family farm.
- Rodeffer, Clark
- (2005) Happy Easter, email to Mancala Games maling list (email@example.com), 28 March.
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