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Updated: February 29, 2024
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How to play Indian Poker?

Poker has many interesting variants but perhaps one of the more fun and simpler ones is Indian poker. Now, if you’ve never heard of this game, then prepare to be introduced to a very entertaining time. Like a typical poker game, there are betting rounds, a showdown, and use the standard deck of cards, but there is one twist that makes it very different from regular poker. So, if the game has caught your attention so far, then read on to know more about it, and how to play it.

What is Indian Poker?

If you think that the game of Indian poker has anything to do with the country of India, then we’re here to let you know that you are mistaken. The deceptive name actually comes from the early name that Native Americans used to be called, which was ‘Red Indians.’ Now, you may ask why and it’s because in the game of Indian poker, players are actually supposed to hold up their hole cards to their foreheads which in some way represents the headdress of the Native Americans or ‘Red Indians,’ hence the name.

Indian poker is also known as one card poker as the players are dealt only one hole card instead of the usual two. The game is also played a little differently than other poker variants like Texas Hold’em or Omaha, because instead of not showing one’s cards, players will have to constantly display their own cards without knowing what they have. Interesting, right? Now, let’s take a look at how to play Indian poker.

How to play Indian Poker?

The aim in Indian poker is to win the pot with the best hand. While this may be the case, players will more than likely find themselves trying to out-with their opponents. Since the game is such that players can see everyone else’s cards but their own, there is a lot of mental game that is simultaneously being played. This makes the game even more interesting to play and watch as it leans more on outsmarting your opponents.

Set Up

To start with, players in the Poker game are first dealt one hole card by the dealer. This card is faced down, so the players can’t see what card they have. After all the players in the game are dealt a card, they will then have to slowly place the card face up on their foreheads so that all the other players can see what they have. However, the player cannot see his/her own card. Once this is done, the first betting round in the game will begin 

Note that unlike other poker games, in Indian poker, there is no advantage or disadvantage of being the dealer. 

Betting Stage

Just like regular poker, players can call, raise, or fold during this stage. Before that, the first thing that needs to be done is to open with a starting bet or ante. Every player should place their bets into the pot and then the betting stage commences. This is where players can call, raise, check, or even fold. 

  • Call

When a player calls, it means that he/she is simply betting the exact amount. Many players will likely call during the betting phase.

  • Raise

If a player believes that they have a strong hole card, then he/she can choose to raise the bet. Once the bet has been raised, the other players are then required to meet the raise amount in order to continue playing the game.

  • Check

Players can check if there is no bet during the ongoing round. The act of ‘checking’ means that the player is passing the action to the next person clockwise from them. If all players that are active in a round check, then they remain in the game, and the betting round is said to be completed.

  • Fold

Players can also fold their cards which means they will no longer participate in the game and will forfeit whatever chips they have placed or bet previously. Players do this when they believe that they might not win the round or can’t afford to meet the bet.

The betting stage will continue until each player has either called, raised or folded. This part of the game can either be over quickly or continue for several more rounds. Once everyone has met the bet or folded, the betting round comes to an end and the game moves into a showdown.


At showdown, players will then have to reveal their cards. While other poker variants usually determine the winner as the person with the best five-card combination, in Indian poker, the person with the highest value card wins the pot. If two players have cards with the same value, then the pot is split between them.

Card Rankings

The rules of the game usually follow the numerical value for the number cards in which 10 is the highest value number card while 2 is lowest value number card. When it comes to face cards, the order is Ace, King, Queen, and Jack. So the card rankings in descending order are:

  1. Ace
  2. King 
  3. Queen 
  4. Jack 
  5. 10
  6. 6
  7. 5
  8. 4
  9. 3
  10. 2

Note that the joker card is not usually used when playing Indian poker. However, some variations of the game exist that do use the joker card.

Indian Poker Rule Variations

There are also some Indian poker games where the rules are slightly altered to make the game even more interesting. In one instance of the game, the Joker cards are also used as a part of the card ranking system. In this case, the Joker then becomes the most powerful card and trumps all the other cards including the mighty Ace card.

Another rule variation is when the suits in the cards are also ranked. The suits in a deck of cards are Spades, Hearts, Clubs, and Diamonds. For example, players can choose to make all the red suits (Hearts and Diamonds) rank higher than the black suits (Spades and Clubs). They can also choose to rank the four suits individually. For example, Spades > Hearts > Diamonds > Clubs. This also makes the game even more interesting.

Also Read: Learn the Basic Rules of Poker

Indian Poker Strategy

Indian poker is less about the type of card you have and more about how you play your opponents. So, one strategy that players can use is to trick their opponents into thinking they have a weaker card by being a little aggressive with your betting style. Remember, you’re not playing the game but the player.


If you’re on the lookout for an exciting and easy game to play with your buddies, Indian poker is the one for you. Due to its simplicity and easy-to-understand rules, Indian poker makes for a great and enjoyable time of fun without having to remember poker hand rankings charts and complicated rules. So, next time you’re in need of a party game, we suggest giving Indian poker a shot. There are also many poker platforms that are now offering players the chance to play Indian poker online. This means more fun and possibly even better rewards.


What is Indian Poker?

Indian poker is a simpler form of poker where players play with one hole card which needs to be held up against their forehead. Players can see the cards of other people except their own.

What is the highest-ranking card in Indian poker?

The highest card in Indian poker is the Ace card. However, in certain variations of the game, the Joker can also be the highest-ranking card.

Where to play Indian poker?

Indian poker is an easy game that can be played with a group of people or even just two people. All one needs is a deck of 52 cards and some chips or money to place bets with.

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