Irish Poker Drinking Game

Hold’em and Omaha are perhaps the most popular modern variants with widely known poker rules, but they are certainly not the only ones.

The problem is that recreational players get tired of playing the same games, and then someone invents a whole new variation. Irish poker is one such game.

Irish poker is clearly inspired by Hold’em and Omaha, but offers an interesting twist that requires some strategic adjustments.

This game has become quite popular in recent years, to the point that several online rooms have started offering it, and you can find several live Irish poker tournaments as well as cash games.

But this particular variant is more suitable for home games, whether you want to play seriously or just enjoy a fun game of Irish poker.

The latter option does not require any knowledge of poker strategy, but you must be able to defend yourself. Instead of outsmarting your opponents, you have to quench their thirst, which requires a completely different skill set.


When played traditionally, the rules of Irish poker are very similar to those of Texas Hold’em. Before the hand begins, the players post blinds and the hand begins with the player with the small blind and continues clockwise.

However, instead of two, each player receives four cards face down.

When everyone has four hole cards, the preflop betting round begins, starting with the UTG player, and all the rules are the same as in Hold’em or PLO if you choose to play Pot-Limit instead of No-Limit.

When the pre-flop betting round is over, the dealer deals a standard three-card flop, face up. Another betting round begins with the first player still active to the left of the button.

All active players must discard two of their four cards after the flop.

This means that the turn and river are played as in Hold’em, since you only have two hole cards to work with.

When it comes to showing hands, you can use any combination of hole cards and community cards to make the best poker hands, which means you can use two, one or none of your hole cards as you would in Hold’em.

Therefore, the rules of Irish poker are not particularly complicated and you will have no problem mastering them in a short time.

The only real trick is the one where you have to give up two cards from your hand, but that means you have to adjust your strategy with this rule in mind.


If you are experienced in the game of poker, you will have no problem understanding the basic rules of the game, but to learn how to play Irish poker well, you will have to work hard.

Good Omaha and Hold’em players will probably adapt quickly, but here are some tips that may be useful if you find yourself playing Irish poker.

Choose strong hands to start with

This advice applies to all types of poker, so it is not surprising. The question is what is a good starting hand in Irish poker.

The ideal is a hand in which all four cards work together, as in PLO.

Solid double suits that include top cards such as aces and kings go well, as do random suits (hands that include four cards in a sequence, such as 8 9 10 J).

Of course, hands with the possibility of a straight and a flush, such as Ah Jh Qs 10s, are strong.

Another category of strong hands are those containing high pairs, such as AA JJ or KK QQ. These hands can get a top set on the flop and win more often than in Omaha because your opponents have to put two of their cards on the turn and therefore usually have less chance of catching you.

If the bounties are not to your liking, there are other hands you can participate in if the price is right. A big pair with some straight or flush option is usually a good start, i.e. a hand like K K J J 10, etc.

Know your launch strategy

To learn how to play Irish poker correctly, it is necessary to develop a good sense and understanding of which cards to hold and which to discard when the time comes.

There are no tables that can be used for this, as it depends very much on the situation.

You should pay attention to the texture of the board and recognize your best options and the most likely positions of your opponents.

Ideally, you should get very strong hands on the flop (e.g. two pair+, straights and flushes) or a draw with nats or second nats. As in PLO, you should stay away from weak hands, especially low straights that could give your opponent a better hand when they come into play.

Omaha players will probably understand these ideas better than those coming from pure Hold’em, but that shouldn’t be a problem.

Remember that hands like top pair, even with the best kicker, are not particularly strong in Irish poker, especially in multi-sided banks.

If the best you can see on the turn is a top pair, you should be prepared to give up unless you get a very good price to see the turn.


It’s all well and good to play serious poker and win money, but sometimes you just want to have fun. This game, like strip poker, can bring a lot of fun and excitement to the evening.

For the company of poker players and their non-playing peers, Irish Poker Drinking is the perfect way to create an informal and fun atmosphere that involves cards but does not require knowledge of starting hands, forks or teasers.

Now, if you notice that someone is about to get sick after drinking too much alcohol, you may be able to prevent some of the unpleasant events, but no more than that.

What are the rules of Irish poker?

First, of course, you need a deck of cards and plenty of alcohol. You can choose beer or shots depending on the audience, or let everyone choose their own poison.

In my experience with drinking games, the latter is usually the best option, as people usually know which drink they tolerate best.

Remember that the main goal is to have fun, and you don’t want to spoil it with too many rules.

When all the questions have been clarified, the game can begin. All players deal four cards face down and the action begins with the first player to the left of the dealer.

Any number of players can play as long as they have enough cards in their deck, so 13 at most, but if you have a large party, feel free to use two decks, it doesn’t matter.

The first round of Irish poker

One of the players tries to guess the color of the first card drawn (red or black). If they succeed, they can choose two players to take a drink each.

If they make a mistake, they must drink two glasses themselves. The action continues until all players have finished with the first card.

The second round of the Irish poker game

You must decide if the second card face down is higher or lower than the first card you turned over. If you guess correctly, you choose four players to play.

If you make a mistake, you have to make four shots. Aces are usually high, but you can make them low or play both ways if you wish.

The third round of the Irish poker game

For the third “betting round” of the Irish poker game, you must decide whether or not the third card, which is face down, falls between the values of the first two cards.

For example, if you roll a 5 and an 8 and guess out, you win if you roll a 4 or a 9. Choose correctly and select six players to drink. You know what will happen if you make the wrong choice.

The fourth round of Irish poker

In the last round, you must choose one of the four colors for the last card. If you get it right, you can choose eight players who each take a cup.

If you make a mistake, you will have to drink eight glasses yourself.

It is true that I have never had the opportunity to play this game, and seeing the rules, I’m a little afraid to try it.

I have nothing against drinking or playing poker and sometimes mixing the two sports, but playing poker the Irish way seems too long to me.

If you want to set up a game with the “official” rules and plan for it to last more than one turn, good luck! You’ll need some serious players to keep up the pace.

If not, feel free to relax the rules a bit. The idea of having to make eight straight plays will turn some people away, but if you limit yourself to a reasonable number, say one or two, you might have better luck hosting an Irish poker night.

Irish poker strategy

While it will probably be very difficult to keep a clear head after the first few rounds, there are some simple strategies that will give you an edge and help you spend more drinks than you take when it’s your turn to play.

  • I guess in the first round, there’s not much else to do.
  • In the second round, choose higher if the first card is a 7 or less. If the first card is a 9 or higher, choose a lower card. It won’t make a big difference, but it will slightly increase your chances of getting it right.
  • In the third round, if the distance between the two cards is small (less than six cards), choose the outer card, otherwise choose the middle card.
  • In the fourth round, you look at all the cards on the table and choose the suit that has shown the least. For example, if your first card was a heart and then you saw a diamond and a club, it makes sense to choose a spade as a trick to increase your chances of success.

There are also some general strategies for playing Irish poker with alcohol, and they are based to some extent on psychological factors.

When you choose the players you want to get drunk, it is good to explain why you have chosen them.

This may encourage other players to vote for them as well, which means they won’t vote for you as often.

Of course, this strategy can also backfire if you misjudge the situation at the table. They may start picking on you for being a “bully,” just like in real poker. However, the only trade-off in this case is a very high tolerance for alcohol.


Irish poker is certainly an interesting game that combines elements of two popular variants and challenges players in a new way.

This makes it a great option for playing at home with friends, even if you only play a few games in an afternoon.

The rules of Irish poker are fairly simple to learn, so it shouldn’t bother anyone too much.

If you really like this game, you can also find it on some online sites, but don’t expect to make money with it or find many games. For most people, it is a game they play for a bit of fun.

As for the Irish poker game, it’s entirely up to you and the people participating in the event. I don’t want to encourage excessive alcohol consumption, so if you decide to try it, set limits and don’t overdo it the first time.

Once you know the players and their skill level, it is quite easy to raise the stakes and increase the level.