One-Card Poker Face

The game is called One Card and this is the way San Geraldo’s South Dakota family plays it.

  • Each player is given three pennies (that’s three one-cent coins for my non-American readers)
  • Each player is dealt one card, face down. 
  • Ace is high. Two is low. The goal is to NOT end up with the highest card. 
  • The first player looks at their card and decides if they want to keep it or trade with the next player (if it’s a high card you usually pass it, low card you keep it). 
  • If the next player has to trade a low card for a high card, they will usually then trade that higher card with the next player. 
  • If a player is happy with their card, they simply say (smugly) “I’m good” and don’t trade with the next player. 
  • However, a player cannot refuse to trade cards with the previous player unless they have a King.  If a player has a King, they hold up the card and very obnoxiously make a loud buzzer sound (the best part of the game) to indicate that the preceding player is stuck with the card they don’t want. 
  • Once play circles the table and returns to the dealer, the dealer can choose to keep the card or draw another card from the deck. 
  • Whoever ends up with the highest card has to throw one of their pennies into the middle of the table. If there’s a tie for high card, each player must forfeit a penny. 
  • Once you lose all three pennies, you play on your “reputation” until you lose another hand. 
  • The last player to remain (either with pennies or on their reputation) wins. 

In September, we played at nephew and niece-in-law, Ryan and Emily’s house. As each player was knocked out, they kept someone else company. Our great-nieces (really, really great) traveled around the table. Their older brother (also really and truly great) played quietly… and stewed when he lost.

GREAT UNCLE JERRY CONSIDERS TRADING WITH ELOISE.
“ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO TRADE?”
ALICE GETS A CARD THAT’S NOT REALLY HIGH AND NOT REALLY LOW.
“KEEP OR TRADE?”
UNCLE JERRY: “YOU TWO ARE GIVING ME AWAY!
EITHER WORK ON YOUR POKER FACES OR LOOK SOMEWHERE ELSE!”
ELOISE MOVED ON TO GRANDMA… AND GRANDMA MOVED ON TO HER REPUTATION.

Can’t read my, can’t read my… No he can’t read my poker face…

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

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