To spice things up a bit in our regular home game Greg (a friend and regular player) and I have taken to playing “props”. Props or “proposition” bets are side bets that are not (necessarily) directly related to the game. Also, not every player at the table is involved… usually it’s just Greg & Me. The bets we make are loosely based on a discussion of props that I read a while back on Daniel Negreanu’s blog. We’ve adjusted them to better fit our game and stakes. And, we mostly only play Texas Hold ‘Em, so we don’t have props for any of the other games.
There are a number of different props that we bet on. First off, we each pick a suit. If the flop (for any hand, even one in which the prop players are not involved) comes out with 3 cards of your suit you win. In our case, this pays 2 bets. The amount of the betting unit is agreed upon prior to the game.
If the flop comes 3-to-a-straight-flush in your suit, that pays 4 bets regardless of the rank of cards.
Also, prior to starting the match each player chooses one or more “props”. Your prop is a series of 3 cards (e.g., 2-3-5, 9-T-J, etc.). If the flop is your prop (regardless of suit) you win 3 bets. If the flop is your prop AND your suit, that pays 10 bets. Among your props, one is designated as the “Big Boy” meaning it pays more than the others. Hitting your Big Boy pays 4 bets; if it’s all your suit it pays 12 bets. Since we’re beginners at this whole props thing, we usually pick just one prop and one Big Boy to simplify things.
We also play “Jacks”. This means that if the Jack in your suit comes on the flop the prop is paid according to where the Jack is located and whether or not there are other cards of your suit. In order to get paid on a Jack, there must be at least one other card of your suit on the flop. If the Jack is the only card of your suit, it’s a “Stiff” Jack and you owe the other player(s). If the Jack comes in the middle of the flop, that pays 2 bets. If the Jack is on the side, that pays 1 bet. And remember, YOU pay if there are no other cards of your suit to accompany your Jack.
If the Ace, King, or Queen of your suit comes in the middle of the flop, that pays 1 bet… nothing if it’s on the side.
If the flop has any combination of AK, AQ, KQ in your suit, that pays 2 bets.
I have a sheet we use to keep track of the bets so we can settle up at the end of the game. In order to get paid for anything, you have to call it when you see it. So, you could say “I see my Ace of Spades in the middle and your Stiff Jack on the side… that’s 2 for me and I’m on for doubles”. Doubles? Anytime you hit a prop you call it and say you’re on for doubles. If you hit any of your props on the next flop, it counts for double. Then, you’d call that prop and say “I’m on for Triples!” Likewise if you hit the next flop, your props pay Triple. We stop at Triples, so if you hit a prop at Triples, you’re still on for Triples on the next flop. Whenever you miss a flop you're reset and the next prop you hit pays 1x.
Remember, these props are only on the flop (the first three community cards); the Turn and River cards have no impact on these side bets.
Here’s the latest version of the sheet I’m using to keep track. It lists the possible props (that we play) in the column on the left along with their payouts and a checkbox to indicate whether they’re “On”… We don’t always
play all the props on the sheet; it just depends on the mood. On the right side of the sheet there’s a section for each suit. After a player picks a suit, you write his/her name next to the suit they’ve chosen and then list their Prop(s) and Big Boy in the spaces below their name. The big box to the right with the suit in the background is used as the tally area to keep track of how many bets that player is owed. At the end of the game, a net is calculated for every player in the game and then everyone settles up.
This works pretty good for us, but I’m open to any suggestions or recommendations, just post them in the comments section. Or, if you have question, send those as well.