A variant of poker, played with a special deck of cards: a 65-card deck of 5 suits of 13 cards each (instead of the usual 4). I heard of it ages ago, first from an old book of card games I had (The Modern Hoyle, by Albert H. Morehead). It describes:

In 1938 there appeared a five-suit deck, having the usual 52 cards of the standard deck plus a complete fifth suit. In the United States this fifth suit was green, called EAGLES, and marked by an appropriate symbol; in England it was blue, called ROYALS, and marked by a crown. A five suit Bridge game was widely played for some months, but was soon forgotten. Five-suit poker made a better game, but can seldom be played today because the cards are no longer generally on sale.

The book also gave the ranking of the hands in five-suit poker, including the hand it called a "flash": one card from each suit. According to that source (see also below), the ranks were:

  • Five of a kind
  • Straigh flush
  • Flash four of a kind
  • Flash full house
  • Flash straight
  • Four of a kind
  • Flush
  • Full house
  • Flash three of a kind
  • Flash two pair
  • Straight
  • Flash (no pair)
  • Flash with a pair
  • Three of a kind
  • Two pair
  • Pair
  • (High card)

I, of course, just had to try one of these out. So I went and bought two decks of cards with the same back, pulled all the diamonds out of one, colored their pips blue with a magic marker, and shuffled them into the deck. Woohoo.

Then, earlier this year, I found a place, www.stardeck.com, that sells five-suit decks! Most cool. Their fifth suit is a star, black and red in color. They have a different ranking for the hands, though. They call the one-card-from-all-suits hand a "rainbow."

  1. 5 of a Kind
  2. Straight Flush
  3. Rainbow 4 of a Kind
  4. Rainbow Straight
  5. Rainbow Full House
  6. 4 of a Kind
  7. Flush
  8. Full House
  9. Rainbow 3 of a Kind
  10. Rainbow 2 Pair
  11. Straight
  12. 3 of a Kind
  13. *Rainbow (
  14. 2 Pair
  15. 1 Pair
  16. Runt (high card)

Note that in both sets, a flush beats a full house, unlike in regular poker (which makes sense: with five suits, it's harder to collect a hand from only one). In the older set, a flash with no pair beats a flash with a pair, but here, the asterisk above leads to a note on their list that says that a rainbow with a pair beats a rainbow without a pair. Interesting. I keep meaning to do the math.

Anyway, the cards themselves are so-so quality, unfortunately, but the game is quite playable. I recommend it to connoisseurs of poker variants.

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