Habu poker

The new poker game I had dreamed up was well received. I conceived of the game quite a while ago, but I’d never bothered to try to convince other people to try and play it until this weekend and I was pleased with how it did. We must have played at least 6-8 hours of it with few complaints. Dave and Mike agreed that it should be called Habu, a shortened form of my nickname Habuchan(which itself has a bit of a story behind it but I’ll leave that for a later date). The game is called “Habu”, but may also be called “Habu in the Hole”. It can be summarized simply as:

Hold’em Hi/Lo 8 or better, but instead of a community river card, each player gets an individual hole card(you can play all 3 hole cards).

It is best played pot limit, but limit is also fine. There were a few reasons I conjured up this unusual game, among them:

I feel like the domination effect is too strong in Hold’em, so I wanted to make bad aces playable.
I enjoy the interesting decisions in Omaha 8 when you are faced with a pot sized bet on the river to call for half the pot.
Unlike Omaha, you are not frequently required to get all in on a flop with a big hand against a big draw on a near coin flip, but like Omaha you usually still have outs to improve if you do.

The game has some good unanticipated side effects. Two wheel cards become strong betting hands like they do in o8. Correct turn play is I think more important because the chance of someone outdrawing you on the last card is much greater in Habu. Someone can turn over a completely disguised hand(like trips in the hole to make quads or a 3 flush with a low to scoop), but it doesn’t happen so frequently that you feel helpless against it.

Other fun bits: Getting beat on the last card is no longer called getting rivered, it’s called getting Habuchan’ed. You can play a variant with 7th street being exposed instead of being in the hole, this is currently called Exposed Habu, but we’re open to other naming suggestions. This game has the property that someone’s 7th street can lead to a ridiculously scary board. For instance on a board of KK49, if someone catches a K then everyone else bricks they just sorta look sad and fold. We are pretty sure that Exposed Habu made the game less interesting so Habu in the hole is the standard but YMMV.

So try out Habu at your next home game and tell me how it goes. I’ll attempt to get a game going at Yacht-10 if I can get off of the waiting list and into the tournament. I expect this invention to make me millions.

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