It’s fair to say that Chowaha is not a widely played variant of poker but it can offer an interesting diversion from the standard community card game. It’s probably more suitable for home games rather than casino play but will suit either. Community card poker involves players sharing one or more face-up cards placed on the table by the dealer.
The aim of Chowaha is to create the strongest five card hand according to standard high poker rankings. Chowaha uses blinds as the basis for betting so the players to the left of the dealer will place the small and big blinds respectively.
To begin with the dealer distributes two hole cards to each player after which follows a betting round during which players can:
- Fold – discard the card
- Check – opt not to bet but remain in the hand
- Call – match the biggest bet placed so far
- Raise – increase the bet
There is now a flop, turn and river but these are a little different from Texas Hold’em for example:
- Flop – Nine cards are placed on the table face up in a layout of three rows of three cards
- Turn – Two more cards are added to the table, one between each row of three cards
- River – A final card is added between rows two and three
The final card layout is shown in the diagram on the right hand side; the Ace is the river here. A round of betting takes place after the flop, turn and river after which the showdown takes place if more than one player remains in the game.
Your final hand must include the following:
- The two hole cards
- One card from each of the three rows
- One of the turn cards adjoining the row you chose from
- The river card
In the example layout shown, selecting the J♥ from the top row means you would also be selecting the 4♥ and the A♠. Selecting from the middle row offers a choice between the two turn cards (4♥ and K♠) plus the A♠.
Hands are then compared according to standard high poker rankings.