Introducing Five’Em, a Texas Hold’Em variant

by James Somers, March 13, 2019

The game of Five’Em was invented by two friends of mine, Ben Gross and Rich Berger, to combat Hold’Em fatigue.

The rules are simple: You’re dealt five hole cards instead of two, and after each round of community cards comes out (starting with the flop), you discard one of these extras. After the river is dealt, and you’ve discarded your third extra card, you end up with a classic Hold’Em hand.

Five’Em has some of the pre-flop dynamics of Omaha, in that a seemingly excellent hand — say, a pair of kings and a pair of tens — might actually lead to some hard decisions, because you’ll only be able to hold on to one of those pairs. But since you always seem to have decent shot at a good hand, it’s hard to imagine folding early.

The extra decision on each “street” forces you to think more explicitly about odds and outs. It’s one thing to be on a straight draw, and another to weigh playing for that draw against, say, holding on to the top two pair.

It’s as if you’re playing multiple people’s Hold’Em hands simultaneously, with the twist that you’re forced to fold one at each turn. It’s more fun than the classic game because you’ve always got more chances — but of course your opponents do too, which means you’ve got to adjust your sense of a winning hand.

As a one-time offer, we’re waiving the $15 licensing fee — if you’ve got a standard deck of cards, feel free to start playing!