Golden Eagles Poker
Poker began in Cheliax, under the name Primo Vista. In the days of Aroden, it was considered fashionable (if mildly heretical) to treat the game as a divination exercise – trying to divine what the other players had and whether your combination of cards could defeat theirs. The original version of the game played with four players, each of whom got five cards from a 20-card deck. Since all of the cards were dealt, there was some mathematical probability to be figured on what the other players at the table had.
The death of Aroden saw a fall-off in the game’s popularity; however, the diabolists brought it back with a new twist – a 52-card deck. Now, instead of four players, there were four “houses” of cards, each with its own number set and “court cards.” Further innovations included a “recruitment,” in which players could discard cards from their hand and replace them with new draws from the deck. The additional cards also made the math far more difficult and enhanced opportunities to bluff, both of which suited the new Chelaxian nobility.
Poker was always tremendously popular in Andoran, the portable nature of the game making it easy to play anywhere on the frontier. As wealth flowed into the nation, organized games would create large stakes for victory. Following the declaration of Andoren independence, two Golden Eagle Knights, both intense poker enthusiasts, developed a new rules variant that they declared “Golden Eagle Poker.” The “houses” became “suits,” with abstract symbols borrowed from an ancient divination deck of the priesthood of Aroden.
Golden Eagle is played all throughout Andoran but nowhere so much as in the army. Older officers and NCOs use the game to teach younger troops about military philosophy. After initial antes, each player is dealt two cards, referred to as their “Eagles.” There is a first round of betting and then the dealer deals three communal cards, called the “Regiment.” A second round of betting takes place, then the dealer deals a fourth communal card, called the “Sergeant.” After a fifth round of betting, a fifth communal card, the “Captain,” is dealt. Each player still in the game then tries to make the best hand of five cards they can, following the traditional rules of poker precedence. The philosophical part of the game comes from the Andoren view of the ability of heroes to lead a group to victory: the player with the finest Eagles usually wins the day.
The order of precedence is as follows:
- Straight Flush: Five cards in sequential order of the same suit. The highest of these, the Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and 10, is known as a “Court Flush.”
- Four of a kind: Also called the “Four Heroes,” this is four cards of the same rank.
- People’s Council: Three cards of the same rank and two cards of the same rank. Some variations on Golden Eagles, called “Revolution Golden Eagles,” make this the highest precedence hand out of respect for history.
- Unity: Five cards of the same suit but not in sequential order.
- Order: Five cards in sequence but not of the same suit
- Three Heroes: Three cards of the same rank.
- Doubles: Two pairs of cards of the same rank.
- Twins: A pair of cards of the same rank.
- Lone Hero: If the player can make no other hand, then his hand’s precedence is determined by the highest ranking card he possesses, in order from two to Ace.