Pokeno is a classic game suited for large gatherings such as parties and family occasions. It is fun to play and enjoyed by people from the age of 7 upwards. Pokeno is a combination of two other very popular games, Poker and Keno and incorporates aspects of both. Pokeno in its standard version is much closer to Bingo game but there are variations to how the game may be played. You will learn more about how to play this exciting game by reading further.
The first player to complete either a horizontal or vertical row of 5 chips wins either the round or the game. If the game is played in rounds, the player with most wins at the end of the game wins.
Pokeno Board Game Rules
The rules of the game are very simple. You can only place a chip on a square if it matches the card drawn by the dealer.
Variations of the game may have additional rules. These are discussed under How to Play Pokeno Board Game
Number of Players Needed
2 to 13 players can play the game but 4 to 6 players is best.
- 12 Pokeno Game Boards
- A standard card deck of 52 cards
First, a dealer is selected among the players after which the other players excluding the dealer pick a board each. The dealer gets to pick a board and partake in the game only if there is an extra board after the others have picked theirs. Chips are shared equally amongst the players, for example, 20 chips each. The dealer then shuffles the card deck and the game is fully set up.
How to Play Pokeno Board Game
In the standard version of Pokeno, each player aims to be the first to cover five squares in the same row on their board with a chip each. This could be a vertical, horizontal or diagonal sequence. The dealer picks the shuffled card deck, draws the top card, and calls it out by announcing the rank and suit. If that card is a 3 of Hearts, they must say 3 of Hearts and not just 3 or Hearts.
Once a card is announced, every player that has that card on their board will place a chip on it. The dealer continues to call out the cards, drawing the top card of the deck each time until one of the players completes a horizontal, vertical or diagonal sequence of five covered squares on their board.
Once a player achieves a five-in-a-row sequence, they must call out POKENO to notify the others. This player is the winner of that round and becomes the dealer for the next round. The players may switch boards or retain them to play the next round. This goes on until the players are satisfied.
There are three other variations of Pokeno apart from the standard version. How to play each one is explained below.
This is played in the same way as the standard version. The only difference lies in how the game is won. In the Poker version, the game is carried on until all the players have each formed a five-in-a-row sequence. Then the sequences are compared and the player with the best poker hand wins. Note that this version is suited for persons over the age of 18.
This version incorporates the basic concept of Blackjack which is to beat the dealer’s score to win. The game is played very much in the same way as in the standard version only that in this case, the other players are competing against the dealer. The dealer must complete their five-in-a-row sequence, keeping their board covered in the process.
Once the dealer’s sequence is complete, the game ends. Any player that could not complete a five-in-a-row sequence before the dealer loses and must hand over the chips on their board to the eventual winner which may not be the dealer.
All the players who were able to complete a five-in-a-row sequence before the dealer will compare their poker hands with that of the dealer. The player with the best poker wins and receives all the chips. This means that a player can only win if they have a better poker hand than the dealer and if more than one player has a better poker hand than the dealer, the player with the best poker hand of the lot wins.
Note that this version is also played by persons over the age of 18.
In this version, the game incorporates aspects of roulette. The game boards are shared between the players and each player is given an equal amount of chips at the start of the game. In this version, the dealer also doubles as the banker. To begin, each player places their bet on a square and this square automatically covers other squares in the same row and column of the game board.
Just like in the standard version, the dealer draws the top card of the card deck and calls it out. This continues until a total of 25 cards have been announced. If the drawn card matches any of the squares in the row or column of a player’s board where they placed their bet, the player is awarded a certain amount of chips proportional to their bet. This ratio would have been determined before the game commences. For example, a ratio of 3:1 means that a player receives thrice their bet amount if a drawn card matches one of the squares on the row or column where their bet is placed.
The player with most chips after 25 cards have been announced wins. If none of the 25 drawn cards matches with that of any of the players, (rows and columns where each of the players placed their bets) all the bets are handed to the dealer. As with the other variants of Pokeno, players must be older than 18.
Winning the Game
In the standard version, the first player to achieve a five-in-a-row of chips on their board wins the round. The player who wins the most rounds wins the game if more than one round is played.
For the Poker and Blackjack versions, the player with the best poker hand wins while the roulette version is won by the player with the most chips after