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5E 5e D&D Poker

I was thinking about running a high stakes card game (poker) in an upcoming D&D session and wanted to find a way to actually have the players play poker but augment it with their characters' abilities. Essentially this meant finding a way of providing advantages/disadvantages to players based on a few key poker-related skills. I also wanted rolling to be minimal so generally, unless there's a lot of cheating going on, there's only one roll at the start of every hand.

Int (Playing Cards) is very powerful as it shows knowledge and experience with playing cards. It determines how potentially powerful a hand will be and to a smaller degree a potential reduction in financial risk. This roll is straight up against standard DCs.

Cha (Deception) and Wis (Insight) are used as their Passive scores to show the use of bluffs and seeing through bluffs throughout the game. Because bluffing is a social skill I did not want it to overshadow the players' actual attempts at bluffing during card play so the results are more about getting other players to commit more money to a pot than influencing the hand.

Finally we have the cheats. This is a very risky but potentially rewarding move. It involves players using Dex (Sleight of Hand) to control the deal or palming a card to win the hand and is more difficult to do if the cheat is not the dealer. This is opposed by the other players observing with Wisdom (Perception). Of course, cheats that are caught are likely to pay a stiff price.

5e D&D Poker

- Based on standard 5-card Draw poker rules.
- Establish Ante, which forms the basis of betting increments and Bluff penalties. This means that a 1gp ante bet increments in 1gp multiples, a 5gp ante bets increments in 5gp multiples, etc.
Example: A player opens for 5gp in a 5gp ante game. The next player raises the minimum, or 5 more gp, making the total bet 10gp.

Prior to Deal
- All players roll an Int (Playing Cards) Ability Check.
* < DC 10: Player receives 4 cards at deal
* DC 10: Player receives 5 cards at deal
* DC 15: Player receives 6 cards at deal
* DC 20: Player receives 6 cards at deal and does not need to Ante for the hand.
* DC 25: Player receives 7 cards at deal and does not need to Ante for the hand.
* DC 30: Player receives 7 cards at deal, does not need to Ante for the hand and may draw to 6 cards during the Draw round.

Ante
- All players place an Ante in the pot unless exempt by their Int (Playing Cards) Ability Check.
Example: Three players (A, B & C) in a 5gp Ante game have rolled an Int (Playing Cards) check with A getting a 21, B getting a 12 and C getting an 8. Players B and C both Ante 5gp but Player A does not.

Deal
- The dealer deals cards to players based on the result of their Int (Playing Cards) Ability Check.
Example: With the Int (Playing Cards) rolls from the above example we find that Player A gets 6 cards, Player B gets 5 and Player C gets 4 from the deal.

First Betting Round
- Players may review their hand, remembering that only 5 cards will count in the Showdown.
- Before any player bets or folds and starting with the player with the highest Passive Deception score, players may declare a Bluff. Only one Bluff per betting round is allowed. All players with a Passive Insight less than the Bluffing player's Passive Deception must place an additional Ante into the Pot. The Bluffing player must also always place an additional Ante, regardless of their Passive Insight.
Example: In a 5gp Ante game, Player A has a Passive Deception of 12 and a Passive Insight of 15, Player B has a Passive Deception of 18 and a Passive Insight of 11 while Player C has a Passive Deception of 10 and a Passive Insight of 14. The decision to Bluff begins with Player B (Passive Deception of 18) who decides not to, then to Player A (Passive Deception of 12) who decides to Bluff. As the Bluffer, Player A must place 5gp in the pot as must Player B (Passive Insight of 11) but not Player C (Passive Insight of 14).

Draw Round
- Players may discard up to all their cards and must discard to have at most 5 cards in their hand.
- Players are then dealt a number of cards to get them back to a 5 card hand. Exception - Players rolling a DC 30 Int (Playing Cards) Ability Check at the start of the hand are dealt cards to get them to a 6 card hand.

Second Betting Round
- Bluffs (see First Betting Round) may occur again.

Showdown
- Prior to laying down cards at the Showdown one or more players may declare they are Cheating. Once this is done all players then declare if they will be using their Passive Perception or rolling a Wisdom (Perception) check to detect the cheat. Then all Cheats roll a Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check, at Disadvantage if they are not the dealer. Each roll that exceeds the other players' declared Perception checks are considered successful, while failures are detected. The highest successful Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check automatically wins the pot. Detected cheaters are dealt with severely, at the least their entire table stakes are taken and distributed evenly among the other players.
Example: Player A, B and C are ready for the showdown. However prior to laying cards down Player C says she will try to cheat. Player A declares they will roll a Wisdom (Perception) check, rolling a 17) while Player B will default to Passive Perception (18). Player C is not the dealer so she rolls her Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check at Disadvantage but lucks out and scores a 20, thus stealing the pot!
- Unless the pot is stolen by Cheating, players present the best five-card hand from their cards and the winner determined by the standard rules for 5-card Draw Poker.
 

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Inglorin

Explorer
This sound pretty cool. I especially like the fact that you give the higher int(cards) skill roll more cards to choose from. Nice twist.

Two questions:
1) The betting rounds START with optional bluffs, but then normal poker style bets are made?
2) Those bluffs. I really don't like to compare passive checks to passive checks. There is no control, no variance. It is commendable, that you try to reduce the number of die rolls to a minimum, but nevertheless...

Normal skill check rules do apply (cirtainly), so two PCs cheating together give a roll at advantage. Or +5 to the passive check to detect other cheaters.
 

This sound pretty cool. I especially like the fact that you give the higher int(cards) skill roll more cards to choose from. Nice twist.

Two questions:
1) The betting rounds START with optional bluffs, but then normal poker style bets are made?
Yes. The reason being that it should be done first before players decides to bet or fold.

2) Those bluffs. I really don't like to compare passive checks to passive checks. There is no control, no variance. It is commendable, that you try to reduce the number of die rolls to a minimum, but nevertheless...
I hear you, but the goal is twofold. One is to keep things relatively streamlined with regard to rolling. The other is that bluffing should be 90% player and 10% PC because poker, IMHO, is funner that way. I want bluffing to influence the game but not dominate it. Instead it's meant to be a minor method to sweeten the pot in a hand if a player thinks they can get away with it. Since the effect is meant to be 'averaged' throughout the game Passive rolls are okay. BUT if you want there's really no reason you couldn't substitute in regular rolls. In that case I'd allow Passive Insights to be declared instead of rolling prior to the Bluff rolls.

Normal skill check rules do apply (cirtainly), so two PCs cheating together give a roll at advantage. Or +5 to the passive check to detect other cheaters.
I could see both of those working. There might be a method that would need to be followed to coordinate the two working together, however. Signals between cheaters and observers, which might be noticable. In fact some casinos would have people working together to watch for cheats. Players who coordinate to watch for cheaters at a table will probably be frowned on as being bad sports without probable cause, however.

Then there's the whole realm of magic influencing games of chance. The DM would need to deal with these on a situational basis, though if you want to have fun those situations should be rare if games are played between players.
 
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Tormyr

Adventurer
I am going to confess that I got a bit lost in all of the rounds. Giving different cards and skipping an ante for high Int seems...odd since giving everyone the same scenario is key to (a fair game of ) poker. Every is dealt the same number of cards and everyone antes up.

If I was doing 5e 5-card draw, I would include the luck of the draw, strategy, psychological warfare, and cheating portions.

Luck of the draw - a d20 roll made at disadvantage to simulate the strength of the original draw

Strategy - an optional Intelligence (Playing Cards) check made at disadvantage to simulate discarding and drawing one or more new cards. The character with high Int, proficiency in playing cards, or both will generally have the second roll be higher, but sometimes it could still be lower. A character that rolled 5 on the first roll and 11 on the second roll would have a hand strength of 8. Disadvantage simulates that it is easier to have a hand of nothing than a straight flush, and strategy helps a bit, but it is difficult to get exactly what you want when exchanging cards. Someone who rolls double 20's with disadvantage would probably not want to draw cards in the second round because it could easily get worse.

Psychological warfare - Charisma (Deception) based (or possibly Charisma (Persuasion) ) to set/alter the perception of the strength of your hand. Generally, PCs should be doing the rolling, so the NPCs set the DC based on their passive Wisdom (Insight). If the NPC is bluffing it sets the DC with its passive Charisma (Deception) and the PCs roll Wisdom (Insight).

Cheating - Add a die (probably a d4) to the current result (either after first draw or the average of the first draw and second draw). PC rolls the die against an NPC's passive check. Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) vs Wisdom (Insight) (or Wisdom (Perception))

So the phases would be:
Ante
Draw
Cheat - Optional
Bluff - Optional
Fold - Optional
Bet
Draw - Optional
Cheat - Optional
Bluff - Optional
Fold - Optional
Bet
Resolve

The character with the best result who is still in the game wins. The idea here is not to perfectly represent poker but give a general simulation that relies on the randomness of chance while applying the relevant skills. If the players only play against NPCs, the die rolls can be in the open. Playing against each other, you need a group that won't metagame or they might need to hide the individual "draw" rolls.
 

I am going to confess that I got a bit lost in all of the rounds. Giving different cards and skipping an ante for high Int seems...odd since giving everyone the same scenario is key to (a fair game of ) poker. Every is dealt the same number of cards and everyone antes up.

...

So the phases would be:
Ante
Draw
Cheat - Optional
Bluff - Optional
Fold - Optional
Bet
Draw - Optional
Cheat - Optional
Bluff - Optional
Fold - Optional
Bet
Resolve

The character with the best result who is still in the game wins. The idea here is not to perfectly represent poker but give a general simulation that relies on the randomness of chance while applying the relevant skills. If the players only play against NPCs, the die rolls can be in the open. Playing against each other, you need a group that won't metagame or they might need to hide the individual "draw" rolls.
The difference here is that the game I represent is meant to be played out with cards, like an actual poker game, where bets and card allocation are contingent in part on appropriate Ability Checks. More skilled poker players - those who roll higher on Int (Playing Cards) will have advantages in getting more cards and putting less into the pot than other players. It doesn't guarantee a win but it sure helps. So no, the start of the game is not fair. Those with better skill (rolls) will have an advantage but it's still luck of the cards.

Notice that it would be very hard for someone to come in and actually succeed at Bluffing alone. You need to back bluffs up with good card play for best winnings.

Finally a card cheat can win all day if they are good enough to do so, providing they're not caught and that they don't scare off their marks by winning too often. I decided a cheat would be a die roll contest as there are too many complexities in working it into card play. Essentially a good cheat sets it up so they have the best hand at the showdown.
 
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tommybahama

Explorer
Everyone at your table would have to really like playing poker. I would be bored to tears after one hand. Waterdeep Hold 'em poker simplified for non-poker players:

Roll 5d12 + 1d12 for every INT or WIS modifier (e.g. + 2d12 for INT of 16)
  • 1d12 for applicable skill proficiency (Deception, Persuasion, Intimidation, etc.) or + 2d12 for each with expertise
  • 4d12 for Sleight of hand but must pass a skill check equal to the highest Passive Perception at the table.

Winner is best hand out of five cards (dice) using standard poker hand rankings.
 



Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I actually made a card game of my own with D&D! I called it Dragon's Poker, these were the rules;

Dragon's Poker requires 1 magic item to play; a dragon's deck of cards, a deck of 48 cards that magically change whenever shuffled. Not only do they shuffle completely randomly, they don't match up to the normal 52 card deck. For example, once shuffled the deck may have 3 cards with the ace of spades, and none with a 2 of hearts.

Each card is represented by two dice; a d4 and a d12.

The d4 represents the symbol of the card (the symbols themselves don't matter, and can be spades, diamonds, hearts, triangles, a crescent). The only thing that matters is whether they match.

The d12 represents the number of the card. 1 through 10 are just that, 1 through 10. The 11 and 12 are the King (a depiction of Bahamut) and Queen (Tiamat). For dice rolling the 12 is always highest, but what the 11/12 actually represent depends on the players; humans and elves typically play with the King as higher, while fiends and hobgoblins with the Queen the higher.

Rules (it is essentially Texas Hold 'Em)

1. The players make their initial buy-in for the round. In a high-stakes game, these increase each round.
2. Each player draws two cards (rolls 1d4 and 1d12 twice)
3. The dealer (usually the DM) places 3 cards for the table (rolls 1d4 and 1d12 thrice)
4. Any players may increase their bets, forcing others to fold their cards or match the bet amount.
5. The dealer places a 4th card for the table (rolls 1d4 and 1d12 twice)
6. Players may again increase their bets, forcing others to fold or match.
7. The dealer places a 5th card (rolls 1d4 and 1d12 twice).
8. Any remaining players reveal their hands.

There are several ways to earn a winning hand. There are pairs, and straights. Pairs just need to be the same number, and the symbol doesn't matter. Straights need to be of aligning numbers (example being, 3, 4, 5, or 11, Queen, King), and also need to be the same set.

The more cards in pairs or straights, the better. So two pairs of two (4 cards) will beat a single straight of three (3 cards), and a single pair of two with a straight of 3 will beat a straight of four (but not of five). A higher straight will beat a lower straight of the same card amount (a 3, 4, 5 beats a 1, 2, 3). A straight will always beat a pair of the same card count (or whoever has more cards in a straight). Ties are possible; in the event of a tie, the amount bet carries over into the next round, but only the players in the tie may continue into that round.
 

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