I chatted with Liz and Larry last week as we drove to lunch.
Me: Oooh, ooh, Hank and I played a great new game last night.
Larry: What was it?
Me: Scrabble Poker!
Larry and Liz: *laughing*
Me: Why are you laughing?
Ok, I get it, Scrabble Poker sounds neither like a real game nor a particularly imaginative or entertaining fake one. However, much like Chess Boxing, it IS a real game and an excellent one.
It plays exactly like poker, with betting working the same way, the only difference being that you're dealt scrabble tiles rather than cards. Players then make their highest scoring word rather than their best poker hand.
You see, this improves upon one of the flaws of poker, which, much like most casino games, relies entirely upon the betting for the game challenge and satisfaction. The actual mechanics of constructing your best poker hand are not interesting to anyone with a rudimentary familiarity of the order of poker hands. Without the betting (and all the bluffing, psychology, and odds calculations that go with it), poker would be about as interesting as a game of Candyland.
Now, however, replace the construction of a poker hand with a WORD puzzle!
I know! I got excited just typing that sentence! Total woody!
And, yes, I realize that 99% of the Scrabble fans out there will hate this game because it's a bastardization of Scrabble and 99% of poker fans will hate it because it's a bastardization of poker, but that tiny 1% intersection? That's where I live! Welcome to Mike and Hank Land. Population: 2.
So, for those of you out there who will try this game (and, yes, I realize that I'm talking to exactly zero people), I can recommend the following flavors of Scrabble Poker:
5 Card Draw: A good one to start with. Solid game play.
7 Card stud: Pretty good. Entertaining to watch your potential words develop
Omaha: Perhaps my favorite because it includes word construction challenges that are unique to Scrabble Poker.
Lo-Ball: Also good fun because constructing your worst possible set of letters is a new challenge. Note that this variant must be of the "cards speak" variety whereas all the other variations should probably involve the player declaring what word they have.
Scrabble poker is made of clever.