There are perks to having your own high-stakes poker room. You can relax, forgo optimal strategy for a moment, and switch up the poker rules a little.

Maybe you’ve switched up the rules a little in your home games, but not like this, and definitely not at these stakes.

The poker hands ranking stayed the same, but everything else was loose. At one point, Doug Polk said:

“It’s lucky we don’t have a gaming commission here in Texas”.

In early 2023 at The Lodge Card Club in Texas, friends sat down for a casual $200/$400 heads-up match. No-Limit Texas Holdem was the game, but with a couple of major twists:

  • Discounts were negotiated (usually by Perkins).
  • Cards were shown and exchanged for new ones.
  • Players could swear they didn’t have specific cards, in exchange for discounts.

We’ll probably never see some of these poker rules in action again. To immortalize this historic game, we collected some of the weirdest and most rule-breaking moments.

Don’t Want to Pay the Bet? Negotiate!

The floodgates of rule-breaking and lawlessness broke open – and stayed open. It all started when Doug made his Queen-high flush on the turn and bet $3,500 in $5,000. He had , dominating Perkin's

Doug - It’s a fair price.

Bill - It’s not! It seems unfair.

DIs it too big or too small? It’s too big? What’s not fair about it?

Can I change this to your liking?


D Well, within reason, what do you want?

B - $1,500.

D Okay.

Bill Perkins was always the one asking for discounts, with Doug deciding to them or not. Sometimes, he’d reject proposals, but most of the time he’d accept. The table talk and laughter were constant. Nobody was going for blood in this game.

While watching, it’s easy to forget that there was around $700,000 on the table at times. The stakes were high, but the poker rules got looser than a college student’s home game.

Did you know you can organize home games online for free? You, your friends, and whatever format you’d like. Yes, you can switch to real money home games, but free-play is an option too.

Customizable, private home games are on most of the best poker sites, like PokerStars, partypoker, and 888poker. Choose the format, stakes, and tweak other options before inviting your friends. You can even schedule the tournaments or cash games ahead of time if you want.

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Don’t Like a Hole Card? Get a New One!

Doug starts the hand with and Bill has . He says the words we’ve all wanted to ask, but never been allowed to.

Bill Can I request another card?

Doug No…

BLike, I call, but I throw one card away and get another card.

DUm, I need to think about that… No.

BI show you the card that I throw away and I call. Final offer here now Doug.

D - I’m going to do this with one caveat okay? I also can throw one away.


Bill gets a major improvement to one of the mid-strength pocket pairs and Doug’s gets downgraded to a .

On the flop, it looks like the negotiations have swung in Bill’s favor. Doug bets, bill calls, and a comes on the turn. Both players check, then Bill bets $5,000 on the river .

After a bit of thinking and confused facial expressions, Doug pays him off with King-high. Bill scoops a $22,000 pot via some expert rule adjustments.

This card exchanging happened again later on, when Doug had and Bill wanted to exchange a card to continue. He was giving action, as always, with , like a true friend.

However, Doug didn’t want to switch his card (obviously) giving Bill an unexpected strength tell his UpSwing courses didn’t prepare him for.

When Doug c-bet the flop, Bill peeked at his new card. It was stronger than the , but his new missed the board, so he folded. “I could have picked up a King!”

“That would have been sick”, Doug replied.

Want a Discount? Tell Your Opponent What You Have!

Bill raises to $1,000 with off in position. Doug has a nice and 3-bets, but Perkins wants another price reduction on the re-raise. This time, he throws in something extra to sweeten the pot, so to speak. Nothing surprising, especially since we've seen Perkins go all in and then immediately leave to catch a flight.


Bill $3,500! I want a discount.

DI’m going to have to stand on the $35k.

BAre you sure? What if I tell you I don’t have an Ace or King in my hand? Binding.

DI will make it $2,500.

BAlright, fine.

When Doug put in the c-bet, that information was helpful on a monotone diamond board with Broadway cards. So, Perkins got the discount, but what his binding statement might have cost him $2,500.

This happened a couple of times in the session. In one hand, Bill said that he had an offsuit hand with two black cards and got himself a $1,500 discount on a preflop 3-bet. He was dominated, until he paired his 7 on the river.

And everyone got to see a celebratory river dance.

Accidentally Say Fold? Just ask to Unfold!

In most gaming establishments, verbally announcing actions is binding. If you say "check, bet, raise," or "fold," you’ve got to stick to your word.

But not at The Lodge Card Club when you’re heads-up with the co-owner. After Doug opened with , Bill misread his cards. He had


BillFold… no, no, no, unfold. Can I unfold?

DYeah, that’s fine.

B - I call.

Doug bet a third pot on the flop and got called. A came on the turn and both players checked it through . Then, a on the river, and Doug bet about 4x the pot ($15,000 into $3,600).

Fearing “any random three” that Doug could have, Bill tossed his pair into the muck. He could have saved thousands if that “Fold” had been verbally binding.

This article was about poker rules, or at least, the breaking of poker rules. Another incident from this room was the record-breaking tank from Nik Airball. It technically didn't break any rules, but many people think it should have been.

On a high-stakes streamed cash game, a player tanked for almost half-an-hour on the river. It was Nik Airball, creating controversy as usual and stirring up discussion.


At the end of this session, Bill Perkins booked a small win of just under $30,000. Hopefully, this style of game sees a revival this year.