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BRAG

BRAG is almost certainly the ancestor of poker and probably derived from the Spanish game of Primero, the popular card game of Tudor England and, so far as we can trace, the first card game to be played scientifically in that country.  It is purely a gambling game.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS

Any number of players can play, from five to eight being best.

CARDS

The full pack of 52 cards is used.  Cards rank from Ace (high) to 2 (low).

THE PLAY

The general principle of the game is quite simple.  The players stake on the respective merits of their cards, and the best hand is determined by certain arbitrary rules.  Bluffing is an important feature of the game.  The ♦ A, ♣ J and ♦ 9 are known as braggers, and rank as Jokers or wild cards.  There are two versions of the game: Single-Stake brag and Three-Stake Brag.

SINGLE-STAKE BRAG

In this version of the game the dealer puts up a stake to the agreed limit, and deals three cards face downwards to each poker player.  In turn, beginning with the player on the left of the dealer, each player must either drop out of the game for the round in progress, or put up a stake at least equal to that of the dealer’s. 

If he chooses he may raise the stake, in which event any player coming into the game, or already in the game, must raise his bet to as much as the highest individual stake, or drop out of the game and lose what he has already staked. 

If no-one meets the dealer’s stake he withdraws it, and receives an agreed amount from the other players.  The deal then passes to the next player.

Unlike at poker, there is no discarding and drawing more poker cards.  When all those who wish to play have raised their bets to an equal amount, the cards are shown and the player with the best hand collects all the stakes.

Flushes  and sequences are of the no value.  The best poker hand is a pair-parade it consists of three cards of equal rank (Aces high, 2s low) and a poker hand of three natural cards takes precedence over one with braggers. 

The next best hand is a pair, with a preference for a natural pair over one with a bragger, and if two players have equal pairs the one with the higher third card wins.  If no player holds either a pair-royal or a pair, the player with the highest single card wins and if two players hold exactly equal hands the poker winner is he who was first to stake.

The classes of Brag hands, the highest at the top.

THREE-STAKE BRAG

This game begins by each player putting up three separate stakes;  the dealer then deals two cards face down and one card face up to each player.

The first stake is won by the player who is dealt the highest face-upwards card.  For this round of the game the braggers take their normal position in the pack, and if two or more players are dealt cards of equal poker ranking hands , precedence is determined as in the single-stake game.

The hand is next played as in single-stake, and the winner takes the second stake.  If no-one bets, the hands are exposed and the highest hand wins.

Finally, the players expose their cards and the third stake is won by the player whose cards most nearly total 31 (over or under), the Aces counting 11, the court cards 10 each and the other cards at their pip values.  A player whose hand totals less than 31 may draw a card from the remainder of the pack, but if his total then exceeds 31 he automatically loses the poker game.

 

 

 

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