Follow the Queen Poker Basics
The basics of Follow the Queen Poker are very similar to many other games. It uses one pack of cards and you have anything up to eight players at a table. The objective is also very simple, over the course of a hand each player will receive seven cards and must use them to make the best possible five-card hand. There are no community cards, but as noted, there are wild cards.
You will find various different forms of the game, but most often, it is played with a Fixed Limit betting structure. This simply means that a player must place all bets or raises in a pre-determined increment, which is related to the stakes of the table.
For example, in a €1/€2 table, during the first two rounds of betting, the bets must be raised in increments at the low end of the stakes, i.e. €1, so the bet starts at €1, is raised to €2, re-raised to €3, and so on. In the final three betting rounds, the bets are raised in increments of the high end stakes of €2, i.e. bet €2, raise to €4, re-raise to €6, and so on. In each betting round, a maximum of four raises are permitted.
However, the most important thing to remember is that no matter what else happens, a Queen is always wild. Every time that a Queen is dealt face up anywhere on the table, the next card dealt face up, and all cards of the same rank, also become wild cards. Any time another Queen after that is dealt face up, the next card dealt face up replaces the previous card as the wild. If a Queen is the last card to be dealt face up, then Queens will be the only wild card.
How to Play Follow the Queen Poker
Follow the Queen Poker is very easy to play and you will be able to get started in no time at all. At the start of each hand, each player must place an Ante bet into the pot. This is a small amount that is used to ensure that there is money to be won with each hand. The Ante will vary depending on the game, but it is usually between 10% and 25% of the low-end stakes. This means that in a €1/€2 game, the Ante will be between €0.10 and €0.25.
After the Ante bets have been placed, each player is dealt two cards face down, which means that only the player they are dealt to can see them (these are often called “hole cards”). There is also a third card dealt face up to each player, so that all players can see it, and it is called the “door card”.
The door card is very important, as the player with the lowest value door card must then place a “Bring In” bet. If two or more players have the same lowest card then it is decided by the player with the lowest suit. The suits are ranked lowest to highest in alphabetical order, so Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts and Spades.
The size of the Bring In bet can vary, but normally it is equal to half of the low-end stakes, so in a €1/€2 game it would be €0.50. The player placing the Bring In bet may raise it up to a full minimum bet if they wish.
After the Bring In bet has been placed, the first round of betting begins, and it works clockwise around the table. There are a number of actions that each player can choose from:
- Call: This is available if a player has already placed a bet. The player whose turn it is may Call the bet by placing a bet of the same size. In the first round, this is likely to be the same amount as the Bring In bet.
- Raise: If you want to increase the betting amount, you can Raise it by placing a Call bet, and then some extra. As explained, in a Fixed Limit game the Raise amounts are predetermined.
- Fold: This is the option used to abandon a hand and lose any money already bet. When folding, a player should keep his/her cards face down so that the other players do not see them.
- All-In: If a player does not have enough chips to cover a bet then they can go All-In by betting their remaining chips. The chips must be placed in a separate stack near the centre of the table. If the player then loses, they are out of the game. If they win, then they can only collect chips from each player that are equal to the amount of the All-In bet.
When the betting returns to the Bring In player, they have the option to call or raise the current bet if they so wish. Then, each player is dealt a fourth face up card, called the Fourth Street. The second betting round then begins with the player showing the highest open (face up) hand. At this point, the highest possible open hand is a pair of Aces.
There are two possible additional betting options in this round:
- Check: If no player has yet placed a bet in the current round then it is possible to check. This means that a player is not betting or folding. If a player bets after another has checked, then that player will then need to call the bet or fold.
- Bet: The first person to place chips into the pot in a betting round is placing a bet.
Betting continues until all players who wish to stay in the hand have placed an equal amount of chips into the pot. Players that do not wish to must fold and wait for the next hand to continue playing.
The game then continues with the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Streets. Each of the three cards are dealt individually and there is a betting round after each.
- Fifth Street: Each player is dealt a fifth face up card that is followed by a round of betting that was the same as the last and begins with the player showing the best hand from the three face up cards. From this point, all bets and raises must be equal to the high end of the stakes.
- Sixth Street: Each player is dealt a sixth face up card. Another round of betting starts, once again with the player showing the best hand from the four face up cards.
- Seventh Street: Each player receives a seventh and final card, but this time it is face down. The final betting round then begins with the player who began the previous one, as the face up cards have not changed.
If there are at least two players left in the hand, a showdown then remains. If at any point prior to the showdown there is just one player left (as all the others have folded), then that player will win the pot without having to show his/her cards.
In the showdown, each player reveals his or her cards and their best five-card hand. The player with the best hand wins the entire pot.
Follow the Queen Poker Hand Rankings
The rules of Follow the Queen Poker are not complicated, but to play successfully you will have to be able to identify what potential hands you are holding and the other players are showing. The game uses the standard poker hands and from strongest to weakest, they are as follows:
- Royal Flush– This is the strongest hand possible and it contains the cards 10, J, Q, K and A all from the same suit.
- Straight Flush – This is five cards in numerical order from the same suit; for example, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 of Clubs.
- Four of a Kind – This is a hand that contains four cards of same value, such as 3 Diamonds, 3 Clubs, 3 Spades, 3 Hearts.
- Full House – This is a hand that contains three of a kind together with a pair, for example, three 5s and two Jacks, the suit is irrelevant.
- Flush – This is a hand of five cards all from the same suit, for example, 4, 6, 8, 9 and Queen of Spades.
- Straight – This is five cards in numerical order, the suit is not important. For example, 4 Diamonds, 5 Clubs, 6 Hearts, 7 Spades, and 8 Diamonds.
- Three of a Kind – This is three cards of the same value and two unrelated cards. For example, 7 Clubs, 7 Diamonds, 7 Spades, 2 Spades and King Hearts.
- Two Pair – This is a hand that contains two individual pairs of cards and one unrelated card. For example, 6 Spades, 6 Hearts, 9 Diamonds, 9 Spades, 2 Hearts.
- Pair – This is a hand that contains two matching cards and three unrelated cards. For example, Jack Spades, Jack Clubs, 4 Diamonds, 6 Clubs, 8 Hearts.
- High Card – If a hand does not contain any of the above, then it is judged according to the highest value card in it.