Red's Deal

Welcome to Insanity — Welcome to the Imperial Palace Mixed Game

For about a year and a half now the Imperial Palace poker room in Las Vegas has been running a $3/6 mixed game on Sunday nights at 19:00. HORSE (hold’em, omaha, razz, 7-card stud and stud 8-or-better) looks remarkably tame compared to the ten game mix they spread:

Omaha hi/lo

A-5 triple-draw hi/lo Sometimes known as “California split,” the best low hand (8 qualifier) splits with the high hand.

Stud 8-or-better

Badugi A 4-card Korean triple-draw lowball game (ace-low) where the best possible hand is a rainbow A234.

2-7 Triple Draw

Baduci A split game where the best badugi hand splits with the best 2-7 hand. Especially odd since there isn’t a default scooping hand: the best badugi is A-4 rainbow, but the ace plays high in 2-7. Nevertheless, a rainbow 2345 with any 7 will usually sweep.

3-2-1 Omaha Omaha high with three flops, two turns and one river. Any flop can be played with either turn. That’s right, 12 board cards.

4 Card Ocean Crazy Pineapple Essentially a super-bastardized hold’em, players start with four pocket cards and have to discard one after betting on the flop and one after betting on the turn. In addition, there’s a sixth board card dealt, “the ocean.”,


Playing at an 8-handed table, it takes about 3.5 hours to make a complete cycle through all the games.

This madness started about half a year ago at the Palace when LasVegasMichael, the site administrator over at, moved the game over from Treasure Island.

There will be those who sniff and sneer but I’m here to tell you, absolutely honestly, it’s my favorite game spread on the planet right now. It’s not unlike having your college dorm game spread under a surveillance cameras — assuming, of course, that you could watch Michael Jackson impersonators in the distance as you played. Free cookies, double comp points on your Harrah’s card, rake capped at $3/hand (with no flop/no drop) and a truly fun bunch of people to play with.

It’s an exceedingly bad place to go if you’re trying to hide behind the seriousness of your sunglasses; but absolutely spectacular if you tire of the tedium of hold’em, want to wrap your brain around a few new games (for low stakes) and just feel like unwinding for a few hours.

I play it any Sunday I’m in Vegas — you should too. Call ahead to 702-794-3225 on the day of play to get on the list.

There’s an interesting hand that came up in this game a few weeks ago, I’ll write about it next week.