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CURRICULUM VITAE: Qopital Letters

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QOPITAL LETTERS
(Wordplay)

A standard poker deck is augmented by adding a sticker with a letter to each card. Each player is dealt thirteen cards. Players privately arrange their cards into four 3-card hands, with one card left over. Hands are valued based on poker attributes (pair, three of a kind, straight) and whether the sticker letters can form a three-letter dictionary word; “worded” poker hands rank highest, followed by “unworded” poker hands, followed by high card. Players then face each other in a series of poker showdowns, playing their best hands first, then second-best, then third-best, and then worst. For each of the first three showdowns the winning player scores a point (chip). For the final showdown (the best “worst” hand) the winning player scores two chips.

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Peter Newby’s The Mammoth Book of Astounding Word Games includes “Qop,” an anagram game based on a British ancestor of poker called Thirteen Card Brag. Qopital Letters was cobbled together using elements of the word game and the original card game; I should have spent more time giving the game a better title. It was played at a game party where the twelve attendees divided into four teams of three. Each team worked together to decide how best to divide the twelve cards into four hands. The luck factor of the game helped offset the specialized wordsmith skills of some players (Dave Tuller).

 

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