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Subject: Logic behind the hand rank tie break? rss

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David P
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My friends and I played for the first time last night and really enjoyed the game. Glad I was finally able to track down a copy!

I'm curious about the reasoning behind the rule that has hands of the same rank valued by the sum of the card total rather than more traditional poker logic. It definitely feels odd to have a 12-12-3-3 beaten by a 10-10-8-8. Even more so in situations where something like a 5-5-5-10-10 beats a 8-8-8-5-5.

What was the reason behind adding that rule? Would it "break" the game to play with a normal "high card" ranking instead?
 
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Rob Herman
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Glad to hear you enjoyed the game!

Rob Seater, the developer, added that rule. I'm not 100% sure why--maybe he'll drop by--, but I can offer a couple guesses.

1) This version offers a simple, consistent rule that applies to every hand. Keep in mind that regular Poker doesn't have a consistent "high card" rating: the trips in a full house trump the pair.

2) This rule reduces the power of 12s a bit. I wanted the game to be more about assembling something useful from what you have than fishing for the nuts. 12s are still good but now there's a little more importance on the particulars of non-12 cards.
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Robert Seater
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The goal was to have a single tiebreak rule that would be simple to remember and handle all the different hands the game supports. I dislike multi-tiered tiebreak rules, so I found the sum-rule a bit preferable to high-card-unless-tied-then-second-highest-card-etc. It also felt more satisfying for every card in a hand to contribute to the tiebreak value. Older variations of poker had different tiebreak rules, so I felt there was some justification in bending tradition.

I also like the side-effect Rob points out, about reducing the luck in drawing 12's.

But it certainly won't break the game or affect balance to change the tiebreak rule!
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David P
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Thanks very much for both of your responses. Good to know the reasons behind the thinking, and that we can also safely try the alternate tie-break if we feel like it.
 
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