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Blue Ribbon Ahoy! Round Table Poker Strategies

by gabunni


Round Table Poker: one of Neopia's oldest, non-Flash games, and a game with a very stylish and attractive trophy! If you know a little about the game, you'll be aware that after beating Tournament Five you receive a runner-up medal, a cute silver card set with a lovely blue ribbon. How darling!

However, beating the other neopet players is not as simple as it seems. I myself struggled for weeks to get the trophy, while many guides and other Neopians said this trophy was easy to get! If you too are struggling to win five tournaments, and are slowly turning mad trying to figure out if Kalandra has three of a kind while also deciding whether you should try to complete a straight, here are some tips and strategies born out of my sheer bad luck and almost remarkable lack of talent at Round Table Poker!

You'll probably know the best time to check your fellow competitors' poker faces is when the first hand is dealt, and after everyone has finished discarding. However, like in real life, some players are better at bluffing than others! A few times I have been blinded by my own high two pair, only to have my victory snatched away by a neopet who didn't so much smirk at drawing a full house! A more likely bluff, however, is a neopet who lights up like Plastic Fir after the hands are dealt, and when the time comes to discard, gleefully only removes one card from their hand. Many a time I was tricked into thinking they must have an enviable four of a kind! What is more likely though, is that they are exaggerating, and actually they only have an average two pair. It is very frustrating to fold and then discover your hand could actually have beaten the winner of the round! So be sure to reconsider before you fold just because a player seems excessively happy with their hand - it might not be as great as you're imagining.

Conversely, if you yourself have a great hand, it is easy to ignore all the warning signs indicating somebody else at the table has also been dealt something special! It is important to remember that, if after rounds and rounds of rubbish cards, you suddenly get a good hand, other players that seem happy could have a good hand too – a hand that is better than yours! The general rule is if a player is smiling (usually evilly, Round Table Poker does not attract wholesome Neopian players it seems!) they have at least a two pair. However, it is important to remember the "AT LEAST" part of the rule! They could have a deadly three of a kind, or a flush or full house! If they're not raising your outrageous bets but calling quietly every time, they might be leading you into a trap.

The most ominous poker face a fellow player will use when trying to make you part with your chips is some old-fashioned crocodile tears! If a neopet smiles ecstatically after the cards have been dealt, but makes sure everyone sees them shed a tear as they raise the bet, it is a very good idea to fold! They are lying through their teeth to try to get you to call their bet. Calling their bluff and folding is a good way to hold onto your chips for the next round, as they likely have a very good hand.

Once you've learnt how to navigate the other players' poker faces, it's time to focus on your own hand. The most important skill you can use in this game is... learning how to discard! It seems simple but when you're faced with one pair, an Ace, a King and a Jack, choosing what to discard can become very difficult indeed.

So what should you discard in the hand I just mentioned? It seems mighty tempting to perhaps only discard the Jack, and hope that you draw either an Ace or a King to get two pair, or another card the same number as your original one pair to create three of a kind. However, if you only discard one card, you only have ONE chance to achieve any of these objectives! It is much more likely you will end up drawing something totally useless. Unless every other player has an absolutely horrible hand, it is improbable you will win with only one pair, so this plan could easily let a hand that looked so good when you drew it become worthless.

The smarter strategy to adopt is to learn to discard cards that seem great, and work with what you have been dealt. In this example, you have one pair. If you discard your other three cards (even though they are high cards!), you give yourself THREE chances to change that one pair to a three of a kind. Those are much higher odds than before, and Round Table Poker is very much a game of chance. Even if you don't manage to make three of a kind, you still have a chance to draw another different pair of cards, which would give you a two pair hand to work with. In general, the more cards you discard, the better chance you will have to create a good hand. This is especially true with a starting hand like the example, which starts off well but could improve dramatically if we discard some cards. This strategy is actually the one the neopet players around the table use, so if you're struggling to win enough rounds to beat the tournament and the other players keep winning, taking a few lessons from them is a pretty good idea!

If discarding cards to give yourself more chances is ideal, when should you keep a hand that has a chance of giving you a straight? In my experienced opinion (really, you don't even want to know how many times I made this decision while struggling to win tournament three), you should only keep the cards that could give you a straight if there are four of them. Additionally, it's important to know there are different odds of getting a straight depending on if your four numbers are consecutive or not.

Here's an example: if you draw cards three, four, five, six, and ten, you have four consecutive numbers, ranging from three to six. If you discard your ten, and draw either a two OR a seven, you will make a straight! However, if you draw cards three, five, six, seven, and ten, in order to make a straight, you will need to discard your ten and draw ONLY a four. You only have a 1/13 chance of making a straight if your four numbers are not consecutive, whereas if they are consecutive you have a 1/6.5 chance – much better odds! It's up to you whether you decide to go for a straight or discard your cards and try for a different hand, but knowing your chances will help you make a better informed decision.

Those are the most important, hard-learned strategies and tips I picked up from my difficult struggle with Round Table Poker! I hope they can help you if you're trying to get the trophy. Good luck for your next tournament!

Thank you for reading my article! If it helps you win the trophy, send me a neomail to let me know!

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