Criticism Needed On New Game I Designed (1 Viewer)

NopalCoastal

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I am hoping to run this bomb pot game idea I had at my next home game. It may be possible that a similar game has been previously created, however, to my current knowledge I do not know of any similar game. I am looking for criticism (both positive and negative) in my design, as well as new ideas or possible rules/situations I forgot to address. I call the game "Batman" as it rewards those who are not afraid to hero call in their search for "Joker".

Batman Game Rules

  • Plays similar to texas holdem except a Joker is introduced into the cards dealt to participating players. Joker may be used as any card the player desires.
  • After shuffling the deck, draw two cards for each player participating except for one card all face down. Ex. 6 players means 11 cards should be drawn and 7 players means 13 cards should be drawn.
  • Introduce a joker into these drawn cards with a wash and shuffle if possible doing your best to randomize the location of the joker.
  • If played in a bomb pot all preflop action is skipped and a flop is dealt.
  • Betting continues as a usual no limit hold'em game with the only difference being that at the start of each participant's turn they have the opportunity to accuse another play whom they suspect of being “The Joker”.
  • If the player is correct in their accusation they win the hand and play is concluded.
  • If the player is incorrect in their accusation they are eliminated from the hand.
  • All accusations are considered calls to any previously existing bets/raises, therefore if a player creates a false accusation they must pay the previously posted amount despite no longer being able to further continue in the hand.
  • “Showdown” winner will be the player with the best 5 card poker hand. Participants possessing the Joker must announce their hand to qualify. Other participants cannot help the joker create a better hand if they announce a sub optimal joker substitution. The hand announced is binding.
Ex. “Full House: 7, 2”



  • Notes and Concerns:
  • A flush consisting of a joker is only as high as the highest qualifying non-joker card. (see example below)
Ex:
Hero: K♥, J♥
Villain: Q♥, ★
Board: 10♥, 8♥, 7♥, X, X
* Hero possesses the winning hand in this situation. Although the joker may be used to complete a flush, it cannot be used to create an A high flush.
  • Balancing concern: Joker may be too overpowered, a possible nerf could be to instill a rule in which the player possessing the joker must use exactly both hole cards to qualify similar to the rule used in PLO.
  • Balancing note: While being in early position places a player at a disadvantage due to not being able to use betting behavior of players in later positions to create an accusation, players in early position are allowed the first accusation allowing them the opportunity to win the pot with a correct accusation before the opportunity is presented to all other players. Checking in early position allows for other players to create false accusations resulting in a smaller player pool increasing your odds on the “turn” and “river” of creating a true accusation.
  • Strategy note: If you believe a player possessing a joker suspects any later position players of preparing to accuse them, a bet can be made hoping that they fold or fear creating the accusation they were previously intending to make.


Nopal Coastal - 12/20/2023
 
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Not sure that: Joker may be used as any card the player desires.

Is compatible with: A flush consisting of a joker is only as high as the highest qualifying non-joker card. (see example below)

Also, why wouldn’t the player with Qh,Joker have a straight flush?

Further, why would I want to invest money into a pot with a hand like AA, when another player guessing that correct player with the joker wins automatically?

I would suggest that you try it for a night or two and see if yours players like it.
 
  • After shuffling the deck, draw two cards for each player participating except for one card all face down. Ex. 6 players means 11 cards should be drawn and 7 players means 13 cards should be drawn.
  • Introduce a joker into these drawn cards with a wash and shuffle if possible doing your best to randomize the location of the joker.
Sounds easy to mechanic force that joker if only washing 12 or 14 cards
 
I like it, it’s great. You’ll have difficulty getting feedback here from hold ‘em only players because just adding a third card or second board can be world crumbling for them - I’m not being a dick, it’s just true.

While I think it’s great as a twist on playing Bullshit and Hold em mixed together, 1) I’m not playing this cash (for a multitude of reasons), at best I’m playing it tourney. And 2) I’m never playing this instead of cash games.

But, I could see it as like a fun family fav game played like that, similar to bullshit or spades or whatever. But it’s probably not hitting the felt at a circus table, and if it does prob wouldn’t get called again.
 
I am hoping to run this bomb pot game idea I had at my next home game. It may be possible that a similar game has been previously created, however, to my current knowledge I do not know of any similar game. I am looking for criticism (both positive and negative) in my design, as well as new ideas or possible rules/situations I forgot to address. I call the game "Batman" as it rewards those who are not afraid to hero call in their search for "Joker".

Batman Game Rules

  • Plays similar to texas holdem expect a Joker is introduced into the cards dealt to participating players. Joker may be used as any card the player desires.
  • After shuffling the deck, draw two cards for each player participating except for one card all face down. Ex. 6 players means 11 cards should be drawn and 7 players means 13 cards should be drawn.
  • Introduce a joker into these drawn cards with a wash and shuffle if possible doing your best to randomize the location of the joker.
  • If played in a bomb pot all preflop action is skipped and a flop is dealt.
  • Betting continues as a usual no limit hold'em game with the only difference being that at the start of each participant's turn they have the opportunity to accuse another play whom they suspect of being “The Joker”.
  • If the player is correct in their accusation they win the hand and play is concluded.
  • If the player is incorrect in their accusation they are eliminated from the hand.
  • All accusations are considered calls to any previously existing bets/raises, therefore if a player creates a false accusation they must pay the previously posted amount despite no longer being able to further continue in the hand.
  • “Showdown” winner will be the player with the best 5 card poker hand. Participants possessing the Joker must announce their hand to qualify. Other participants cannot help the joker create a better hand if they announce a sub optimal joker substitution. The hand announced is binding.
Ex. “Full House: 7, 2”



  • Notes and Concerns:
  • A flush consisting of a joker is only as high as the highest qualifying non-joker card. (see example below)
Ex:
Hero: K♥, J♥
Villain: Q♥, ★
Board: 10♥, 8♥, 7♥, X, X
* Hero possesses the winning hand in this situation. Although the joker may be used to complete a flush, it cannot be used to create an A high flush.
  • Balancing concern: Joker may be too overpowered, a possible nerf could be to instill a rule in which the player possessing the joker must use exactly both hole cards to qualify similar to the rule used in PLO.
  • Balancing note: While being in early position places a player at a disadvantage due to not being able to use betting behavior of players in later positions to create an accusation, players in early position are allowed the first accusation allowing them the opportunity to win the pot with a correct accusation before the opportunity is presented to all other players. Checking in early position allows for other players to create false accusations resulting in a smaller player pool increasing your odds on the “turn” and “river” of creating a true accusation.
  • Strategy note: If you believe a player possessing a joker suspects any later position players of preparing to accuse them, a bet can be made hoping that they fold or fear creating the accusation they were previously intending to make.


Nopal Coastal - 12/20/2023
It's too complicated. And I say this as someone who loves to play crazy poker games.

The premise of bringing in a wild card or a "bug" joker isn't necessarily terrible, but it inherently complicates the game, especially a flop game. If you're going to have that element, you have to avoid these other weird elements, like having a strange, exploitable dealing procedure. It's bad game security to play around with the cards during the deal like this; dealing should be straightforward and easy to assess by a novice. Recommend restricting the game tweaks to the addition of the joker and how it works in hand values, and maybe preserving the "accusation" element.

So you deal out a hand normally. A joker is in the deck and may (or may not) end up dealt to anyone, or may land on board. If someone gets it in hand, it's a wild card. A regular true wild card (whatever value maximizes the hand), or a bug (only makes straights or flushes, or acts as an ace), but nothing in between. I had to read your explanation of this flush weirdness like four times to understand it. Strongly recommend against that.

It it lands on the board … you redeal the whole board? It's a community wild card? It's a dead card? The world is your oyster.

How to work the accusation in is a little awkward in a hand of Hold'em. Shoehorning it at will into the dealing and betting actions is too messy. It should have its own definite round or something. Maybe prompt each player to make an accusation or pass, between the last betting round and showdown?

The problem with this, even after we tighten up the structure, is that it sets up a player for a nasty surprise. Imagine you make a monstrous lock hand, build a huge pot, and end up with your hand dead because someone called your joker. People remember that kind of thing and not fondly.
 
Not sure that: Joker may be used as any card the player desires.

Is compatible with: A flush consisting of a joker is only as high as the highest qualifying non-joker card. (see example below)

Also, why wouldn’t the player with Qh,Joker have a straight flush?

Further, why would I want to invest money into a pot with a hand like AA, when another player guessing that correct player with the joker wins automatically?

I would suggest that you try it for a night or two and see if yours players like it.
On the board I mentioned I dont see how Qh,Joker, makes a straight flush, but im also trash at the game. Also investing with AA I believe is still valid as theyre not guaranteed to make the nuts. I might try to balance the game with the two cards to qualify rule I mention at the end. I do really believe that I have to try it with friends prior to truly knowing if it even works.
 
I like it, it’s great. You’ll have difficulty getting feedback here from hold ‘em only players because just adding a third card or second board can be world crumbling for them - I’m not being a dick, it’s just true.

While I think it’s great as a twist on playing Bullshit and Hold em mixed together, 1) I’m not playing this cash (for a multitude of reasons), at best I’m playing it tourney. And 2) I’m never playing this instead of cash games.

But, I could see it as like a fun family fav game played like that, similar to bullshit or spades or whatever. But it’s probably not hitting the felt at a circus table, and if it does prob wouldn’t get called again.
this made me laugh, thank you. It seems like this is something I would have to try with my crowd and see
 
Winning the whole hand outright by correctly guessing someone has the Joker is horrible. There is no poker involved in that. At best you can make it a split pot game where before showdown each player left declares who they think has the joker (probably the person making all the big bets until that point) and everyone that guesses correctly then splits the pot with the best poker hand. So the best poker hand would get 1/2 the pot, and if 3 people each guessed the correct person with the Joker they would all chop the other 1/2 and so would get 1/6. Players would not be able to guess that they themselves are the joker.

I don’t like the idea of the game, but this would at least make it a little more playable, I guess.

I also agree to get rid of the special dealing phase. Just put the joker in the deck. If it gets dealt to a player great, if it doesn’t, oh well it will show up eventually. If you want to increase the chances of it showing up play 5 card PLO. Most cards are dealt to the players then and it will reduce how powerful the joker is since everyone getting to showdown will have strong hands.
 
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Winning the whole hand outright by correctly guessing someone has the Joker is horrible. There is no poker involved in that. At best you can make it a split pot game where before showdown each player left declares who they think has the joker (probably the person making all the big bets until that point) and everyone that guesses correctly then splits the pot with the best poker hand. So the best poker hand would get 1/2 the pot, and if 3 people each guessed the correct person with the Joker they would all chop the other 1/2 and so would get 1/6. Players would not be able to guess that they themselves are the joker.

I don’t like the idea of the game, but this would at least make it a little more playable, I guess.

I also agree to get rid of the special dealing phase. Just put the joker in the deck. If it gets dealt to a player great, if it doesn’t, oh well it will show up eventually. If you want to increase the chances of it showing up play 5 card PLO. Most cards are dealt to the players then and it will reduce how powerful the joker is since everyone getting to showdown will have strong hands.
Yeah, the more I think about it, the more the "accusation" bit doesn't sit right as a game mechanic.

It needs to be balanced by something, like a penalty for an accuser who's wrong, so it's not just a freeroll to kill someone's hand whenever he has the joker.
 
Yeah, the more I think about it, the more the "accusation" bit doesn't sit right as a game mechanic.

It needs to be balanced by something, like a penalty for an accuser who's wrong, so it's not just a freeroll to kill someone's hand whenever he has the joker.
The penalty for an accuser who is incorrect is that theyre eliminated from the hand, or are you saying a different penalty should be enforced?
 
Yeah, the more I think about it, the more the "accusation" bit doesn't sit right as a game mechanic.

It needs to be balanced by something, like a penalty for an accuser who's wrong, so it's not just a freeroll to kill someone's hand whenever he has the joker.
maybe more of a side bet, for a dollar or two par hand towards a side pot:
- If a player in the pool guesses incorrectly, they lose the side pot
- if a the pool guesses correctly, then win the side pot
- if no correct guess, then the player with the joker wins the side pot at the end of the hand

Of course, the timing of revealing the correct guess is key too:
- does the accused player wait until the end of the hand to reveal; or
- does the reveal happen during the hand?
i am not sure which is better.

finally, my eyes are getting old, so I missed that the hand wouldn’t be a straight flush. However, assuming KhJh vs. QhJoker with 8h9h10h on the board, does the joker hand form a straight flush? The other question about the apparent conflict in rules still stands.
 
1. I'm also stuck with the idea that the joker is shuffled into 9 or 11 or 13 cards right in front of everyone.

Possible solution: instead of 1 joker that may be easy to identify, you could announce that 2's and 3's are jokers, or something to the effect that some poker hands will be played and no one has a joker, while others will be played with multiple players having jokers, etc.. This keeps some of the skill aspects of folding, calling, and raising in play, and it keeps the "who-done-it" stares going trying to figure out if villain is sitting on a joker or not.

2. I agree with others that killing the entire hand based on a correct guess of the joker is too high a prize to award and too big a loss to sustain for the other invested players.

Possible solution: A correct guess of the joker's location means the player holding it has to [Possibility A:] Turn both cards face up for the rest of the hand (they can still win the pot, but now everyone will know what they have) or [Possibility B]: They immediately fold their hand, making it easier for hero to win the pot.

With either of those in play, the penalty for guessing wrong could be either they pay a penalty matching the pot size, or their hand could be folded.

The problem with folding as the penalty (and something I would exploit) is that, if I knew I was going to fold after the flop anyway, I would choose a player to accuse knowing that if I'm right I get them to fold, and if I'm wrong the worst that can happen is what was already going to happen (a fold). So to me making the penalty cost something is the only way to make the accusation have weight.

With all that said, I love game variations, and I hope you figure out something awesome (that I can steal and implement). Cheers.
 
Possible names for this game:

- Fermi - because renowned nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi might be able to figure these rules out but nobody else will.

- Hemorrhage - because someone is going to have a hemorrhage and die at the table trying to learn how to play this.

- Three Mile Island
- Labyrinth
- Potluck Dinner
- Bewilderment
- OmahADHD
- WTFAHA
- Just Taze Me Bro
 
For all you haters - don’t forget that Scarney is a staple at meetups. I always hear The Wheel of Fortune theme song in my head when someone calls it. And derailment. And sventen God the list is endless the more I think of it.
Comparing this game to Scarney is like comparing a tricycle to the space shuttle.

Just look at basic strategy:

- Scarney - make a nut low hand with a chance at high and put pressure HU if one side is locked

- Derailment - play as double board but need to have strong nut draws on at least 2 boards and the nuts on the other

- Loud Noises (this game) - be able to loudly and forcefully accuse people of something and follow the Manhattan Project-like logic to find a mystical unicorn-like wild card to make hands.
 
Stopped reading after I read
a Joker is introduced
This, for me I just lose interest in wild cards / bugs, it always feels like playing go fish or war, I'd almost rather pay a bookie

There are so many fun games that have different levels of gambol that don't require a wild card.

Perhaps the Op hasn't see the extensive list of games in the resource section, welcome btw.

I like that the OP branching out from No Limit Bored'em
 
We play a similar game on occasion, but as a side game, at the same time we are playing poker. Poker is halted after a hand once "the deal has been made". It's called drug dealer. Not sure how popular it is. But we do it for drinks not dollars. It's basically a lottery draw with ways to shift the pot to either the cop or the drug dealer. All other players are just pawns. Also, if a buyer isn't careful, the table may vote they exposed the dealer intentionally or at least recklessly. I wish case they would have to pay or misdeal that round of drug dealer. See the link below for game rules.

Our version differs where after the deal is made the cop continually guesses until they find the drug dealer. Wrong guesses and the cop drinks. Any buyers left over after a right guess are drinks to the dealer. I guess if people want to play they could ante $1, then agree to pay if they are the joker or cop depending on the way the guessing plays out. Just a thought.

https://gamerules.com/rules/candyman-card-game/
 
Perhaps have 2 “joker” cards in the deck. The red one for the Joker and it can be used to complete a straight card or as an Ace, and a black Joker (Batman) that can be used to complete a flush or as an Ace.

Batman is stronger so his card is slightly better than the Joker. If you do this you may want to take a sharpie to the cards to make it clear one is the Joker and one is Batman.
 
Comparing this game to Scarney is like comparing a tricycle to the space shuttle.

Just look at basic strategy:

- Scarney - make a nut low hand with a chance at high and put pressure HU if one side is locked

- Derailment - play as double board but need to have strong nut draws on at least 2 boards and the nuts on the other

- Loud Noises (this game) - be able to loudly and forcefully accuse people of something and follow the Manhattan Project-like logic to find a mystical unicorn-like wild card to make hands.
So, can you calculate odds of winning on any of these games preflop?
If you can then I’d consider them poker, otherwise they are just variants of wild card games.
I’m really open to consideration of this, not being a dick. I’d even consider it if you could calculate them before the river.
 
So, can you calculate odds of winning on any of these games preflop?
If you can then I’d consider them poker, otherwise they are just variants of wild card games.
This is an overly narrow, TV-Hold'em-centric idea of what constitutes poker.

Is 5 Card Draw not poker? What about 7 Card Stud High-Low with a declare?

You can't calculate win probability for either of these games on the openers either.
 
This is an overly narrow, TV-Hold'em-centric idea of what constitutes poker.

Is 5 Card Draw not poker? What about 7 Card Stud High-Low with a declare?

You can't calculate win probability for either of these games on the openers either.
If you are losing random cards from your hand or the board then it’s just a variation of wild card poker, albeit with “negative” wild cards. They have the same influence as if you had introduced a wild card, just in the opposite way.
 
Is 5 Card Draw not poker? What about 7 Card Stud High-Low with a declare?

You can't calculate win probability for either of these games on the openers either.
Well as long as you have a 52 card deck - and no matter what happens these stay the same
In the other games you no longer have a 52 card deck. Some random number of cards and ranks are removed from play arbitrarily. Playing with less cards in the deck is about the same as playing with one or two extra.

For five card draw
  • The Probability of drawing a given hand is calculated by dividing the number of ways of drawing the hand (Frequency) by the total number of 5-card hands (the sample space;
    {\textstyle {52 \choose 5}=2,598,960}
    ). For example, there are 4 different ways to draw a royal flush (one for each suit), so the probability is 4/2,598,960, or one in 649,740. One would then expect to draw this hand about once in every 649,740 draws, or nearly 0.000154% of the time.
 
If you are losing random cards from your hand or the board then it’s just a variation of wild card poker, albeit with “negative” wild cards. They have the same influence as if you had introduced a wild card, just in the opposite way.
Removing a normal, non-wild card from play is no different than introducing a normal, non-wild card into play. Random selection is a key feature of poker. Killed cards in Scarney and killed boards in Derailment are just another random event for you to try to account for in your decisions.

While this particular form of randomness may have the same effect on your opinion of the game as wild cards, it doesn't mean it's materially the same as wild cards. What makes wild cards truly problematic is that they muddy hand rankings and are disproportionately powerful. They have the value of dozens of cards rolled into one, essentially making a game all about who has the wild cards, to the exclusion of other concerns. Forced discards and killed boards aren't even remotely the same.

All this said, I get having objections to these game features. Features that set up people for nasty surprises can lead to irritating outcomes that rub people the wrong way and may jeopardize the game staying together. They're especially risky with less experienced players, who may feel like they've been conned when, say, they put in $500 in bets on a Scarney hand that's been dead since the flop because they missed a discard. It's supposed to be fun, after all, not pointlessly demoralizing.
 
Well as long as you have a 52 card deck - and no matter what happens these stay the same
In the other games you no longer have a 52 card deck. Some random number of cards and ranks are removed from play arbitrarily. Playing with less cards in the deck is about the same as playing with one or two extra.

For five card draw
  • The Probability of drawing a given hand is calculated by dividing the number of ways of drawing the hand (Frequency) by the total number of 5-card hands (the sample space;
    {\textstyle {52 \choose 5}=2,598,960}
    ). For example, there are 4 different ways to draw a royal flush (one for each suit), so the probability is 4/2,598,960, or one in 649,740. One would then expect to draw this hand about once in every 649,740 draws, or nearly 0.000154% of the time.
A card being rendered dead by a game mechanic doesn't suddenly mean you're playing with a 51-card deck, any more than discarding 3 cards in 5 Card Draw would mean you're playing with a 49-card deck.

And you're moving the goalposts about calculating probabilities. Your original gripe was about calculating win probability on the openers being a critical definitional point of a poker game. Now you're dialing it back to calculating the probability of drawing the hand you want, given a defined discard. Pretty far removed from your original claim.

You can also calculate the probability of losing a card to the kill board in Scarney, and of a board being killed in Derailment.

See what I mean?

Just because you don't like a game mechanic doesn't make the game not poker or the mechanic the same as wild cards. It's okay to admit you just don't like it.
 
Removing a normal, non-wild card from play is no different than introducing a normal, non-wild card into play. Random selection is a key feature of poker. Killed cards in Scarney and killed boards in Derailment are just another random event for you to try to account for in your decisions.

While this particular form of randomness may have the same effect on your opinion of the game as wild cards, it doesn't mean it's materially the same as wild cards. What makes wild cards truly problematic is that they muddy hand rankings and are disproportionately powerful. They have the value of dozens of cards rolled into one, essentially making a game all about who has the wild cards, to the exclusion of other concerns. Forced discards and killed boards aren't even remotely the same.

All this said, I get having objections to these game features. Features that set up people for nasty surprises can lead to irritating outcomes that rub people the wrong way and may jeopardize the game staying together. They're especially risky with less experienced players, who may feel like they've been conned when, say, they put in $500 in bets on a Scarney hand that's been dead since the flop because they missed a discard. It's supposed to be fun, after all, not pointlessly demoralizing.
I get what you are saying 100%.
My personal opinion is that when you start adding or removing cards they are all the same, Crack house poker.


Removing a normal, non-wild card from play is no different than introducing a normal, non-wild card into play.
So you’d be ok with a game that had four ace of spades in play but not a wild card? Am I reading that wrong?
 

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