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Double Legger

by Chad Holloway of

There are many different types of poker games, with hundreds of variations on each, which are played in the millions of households across the nation. One such game that I have enjoyed at my home game goes by the name "Double-Legger." This game may be similar to a game you already play that is under a different name, may be slightly different, or may be new to you altogether. Whichever it may be, this game is one of my favorites because it builds big pots and inspires a lot of action.

Double-Legger is played just like five-card draw; that is, each player is dealt five down cards, a round of betting ensues, players discard and draw, and a final round of betting ensues. The catch of Double-Legger is that in order to open the first round of betting, a player must have a pair of jacks or better in their hand; if not, each player re-antes and the cards are re-dealt. If a player folds at anytime, even to a raise, they are out for the remainder of the game. The nice thing about Double-Legger is that it is not played in a single hand. In order for there to be a winner, one player must win two hands (does not have to be two in a row). When they win one hand they have a "leg" and when they get their second, they win the pot (hence the name Double-Legger). The best part of the game is that whoever holds the highest spade in their hand (Ace being the highest) when someone wins their second leg, they get half the pot (this is why it is not encouraged to fold throughout the game). Of course, if the person who wins his second leg holds the highest spade, they scoop the pot.

There are a couple of other rules that vary depending on the number of people in the game. For instance, since it is a five-card draw game, no more than six players can participate. When there are six players, we only allow a player to draw four cards if he is holding ace; otherwise, you would run out of cards if everyone drew four or five cards. Once the game is down to five or fewer players, we allow a player to draw up to all five of his cards. We also have a rule against sandbagging; that is, if you elect to check your option to bet or raise, you may not re-raise if the action is brought back to you (by another player's bet or raise) on the same round of betting. This is designed to keep the size of the pots reasonable and to allow players to call modest bets in the hopes of having the highest spade when the second leg is won.

Because of the requirement to win two legs (or hands), sometimes the game can last up to twelve or more hands (depending on the number of unopened pots); as such, the amount of money in the pot can become quite large. In my home game, Double-Legger is usually played once or twice a night, and usually ends up breaking someone while making another. I highly recommend you consider introducing Double-Legger to your home game if you are looking for a competitive, strategic, fast-paced and pot-building poker game.

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