You may have played Wordle, Sudoku, or Threes by now. There are plenty of puzzle games on the web, but none are poker-themed. However, thanks to a game designer and programmer, we've finally got one.

Pile-Up Poker is a puzzle game you can learn in 30 seconds and use as a Solitaire-like brain teaser. About 5 to 10 minutes a day is all you can possibly expect to spend on the app, which will cost you nothing to play.

It's the perfect game for those brief moments of the day when you have nothing to do. With problem-solving and an understanding of poker hands, you'll start with a slight advantage. That being said, you only need to get an edge over your previous scores, not other players. Pile-Up Poker is single-player, but the community works toward objectives. Recently, the company sent out custom decks of cards to their subscribers, but you still don't need to pay to play.

How to Play Pile-Up Poker

Once you reach the Puzzmo website (puzzmo.com/today), click the Pile-Up Poker game. You'll see the 4x4 game board, which are the tiles you need to fill. You can only play 5 times per day, so choose the arrangement wisely.

Your Goal: Create poker hands in the rows, columns, and the 4 corner cards. Stronger combinations get more points and a higher final score.

Steps to Play Pile-Up Poker:

1. Players are dealt out 5 cards at once. This continues until the entire grid of 16 squares is filled.

2. Choose 4 cards to place and 1 card to discard.

3. Slowly fill the 4x4 grid and put 4 cards in the discard pile.

4. At the end, the combinations in your rows, columns, and the four corner cards are counted.

Missing the corner combination can be costly

Pile-Up Poker Points System:

  • Corner hands are worth 2x points.
  • The discard pile hand is worth 3x points.
  • More hands = more multiplier, with a maximum of 6x
  • Straights are worth more than flushes.
Poker Combinations: Complete List And Guide
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A pair is the lowest hand you can make in Pile-Up Poker, paying just 5 points before the multiplier. With stronger combinations, you'll score more points, like 125 for trips and 180 for straights.

The maximum score is $25,000, though $16,000 appears to be the highest score so far, hit by Puzzmo's own employee.

Important Rules:

  • There are no 2s, 3s, 4s, or 5s in the deck.
  • Straights do not have to be in the correct order. For example, is a straight in Pile-Up Poker, no matter how the cards are ordered.
  • Once you place a card down and are dealt a new set of 5 cards, the cards on the board are locked down.
  • If you make 4 poker hands in the rows and columns, plus one from the four corner cards, the discard pile will be your 10th poker hand.

Strategy Tips for Pile-Up Poker

As you play, you must draw for certain hands and plan the board layout carefully. How you arrange the cards in the grid will be the test of your skill.

Aim for strong combinations, without shooting for the stars.
You don't need to try for quads and straight flushes in every hand, but flushes and straights are relatively easy to build. That being said, always prioritize straights over flushes since they pay more (180 vs 125).

Track your discard pile.
Because of the 3x multiplier for the discard pile, it makes sense to monitor the cards you're putting there. Of course, you need to make the other 9 combinations to unlock the discard pile points, which is your first hurdle.

Use standard poker principles when drawing.
Pile-Up Poker may stray from the classic rules sometimes, but your draws should still be thought out. For example, prioritize open-enders over gutshot straight draws. Just as in standard poker games, straight flush draws give the chance for multiple strong hands. You should plan these draws ahead of time, giving yourself options in case you miss your main draws.

For other completely free games, you could check out apps like Governor of Poker or bring your friends together for home games.

PokerStars will let you use their software to become the host and send invites out to fill your seats. In these games, you select the format, stakes, and other variables. If you're ready to kick things up a notch, you can switch the cash games from free-play to real money. The Stars app is one of the most user-friendly, but other sites like 888poker and partypoker also have private online home games.

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