Anaconda Poker: How to Play, Rules, and Tips For Anaconda Poker

Anaconda Poker

Anaconda Poker offers a thrilling twist on Seven-card Stud Poker, allowing players to strategically disrupt their opponents’ hands by passing unwanted cards to their left or right. In this dynamic game, players aim to create the strongest possible hand from a set list of melds.

The game’s name is thought to derive from the “shifting” nature of card passing. Players pass cards to the left, then to the right, and back to the left again, mimicking the movement of an Anaconda snake.

Ready to master this exciting poker card game variant? This is one of the most interesting poker variants.  Here’s everything you need to know about Anaconda Poker, a game typically played by two to five or more players using a standard 52-card deck, sometimes with one or two additional jokers.

How to Play Anaconda Poker?

In Anaconda Poker, players use a standard 52-card deck just like any other poker game like Indian poker or Omaha poker. As with any poker game, players must ante up before receiving their cards. The ante is a small, agreed-upon wager that all players must make at the beginning of each hand.

The Deal

First, a Dealer is chosen at random. The Dealer then shuffles the deck and deals 7 cards face-down to each player, one at a time. The Dealer always deals to another player first and to themselves last. Once each player has received their 7 cards, the first passing phase begins.

First Passing Phase

After receiving their 7 cards, players select three cards to pass to the player sitting immediately counterclockwise. Each player then receives three cards from another player. The betting phase begins with the player to the left of the Dealer taking the first turn.

Betting Phase

In Anaconda Poker, like in most poker games, players have four strategic options available to them during the Betting Phase:


Folding is essentially admitting defeat. When a player folds, they forfeit their cards along with any wagers they’ve placed in the pot. As a result, they are no longer eligible to win any portion of the pot. However, players who fold are not obligated to contribute to the pot in subsequent betting rounds.


Checking in Anaconda Poker is a strategic move where a player opts not to bet any money, allowing them to observe other players’ actions during the betting phase. Players can only check if no one has placed a bet yet or if the highest bet on the table is currently $0. Additionally, the first player to take their turn during the betting phase can also choose to check.


A Call is when a player matches the previous highest bet. For example, if Player 1 bets 5, then Player 2 calls by also betting 5. The initial positive integer bet is simply referred to as the “Bet.”

Raise or All-in

Players can also choose to Raise or go All-in. When a player Raises, they increase the previous highest bet, compelling all other players at the table to match this new amount.

An All-In is a unique type of Raise where a player bets all of their remaining chips on a single wager. When this happens, a side-pot is created. To form the side-pot, all other players must match the All-In wager. Betting for the players who did not go All-In continues normally in the main pot. A player involved in the side-pot cannot win more than its value.

Second Passing Phase

Once the initial passing and betting phase concludes, players proceed to the second passing phase. During this phase, players pass two cards to the player on their right. This is followed by another betting round.

Third Passing Phase

The third passing phase commences as players pass one card to their left, followed by the final betting round/phase. Once the final wagers are placed during this phase, the Showdown begins.


During the Showdown, players aim to create the best possible five-card poker hand using the seven cards they have been dealt. The player holding the highest-ranking hand, as per the “Card Hierarchy” explained below, will win the pot they are competing for.

Anaconda Poker Rules

Here are the official Anaconda Poker Card game rules :

1. Passing Cards:

  • Players pass three cards to the player on their left, then two cards to the player on their right, and finally, one card to the left again. 
  • There is a betting phase between each passing round.

2. Card Passing Rules:

Players are allowed to pass back the same cards that were passed to them in the previous passing round.

3. Betting Requirements:

During the betting phases, players must match the highest bet made previously to be eligible for the pot.

4. Ante Requirement:

Players must pay the Ante at the beginning of the game to receive their cards.

Anaconda Poker Hands

To succeed in Anaconda Poker, understanding the hand rankings is essential. Even if you’re familiar with standard poker hands, knowing the specific hand rankings for Anaconda Poker is crucial for victory. This variant employs 10 hand rankings, with Five of a Kind being the highest hand and No Pair as the lowest.

1- Five of a Kind

In Anaconda Poker, the highest-ranking hand is Five of a Kind, which occurs only when at least one card is wild. For example, a hand like 10♠️ 10♥️ 10♣️ 10♦️ Joker (with the Joker acting as a wild card) or K♦️ K♣️ 9♥️ 9♦️ 9♣️ (with the 9 as a wild card) would be considered Five of a Kind.

2- Straight Flush

In Anaconda Poker, the highest-ranking hand is a straight flush, which is formed with five cards in a sequence and of the same suit. For example, J♥️ 10♠️ 9♥️ 8♣️ 7♦️ would constitute a straight flush.

3- Four of a Kind

The next highest hand in Anaconda Poker is the four of a kind. This hand comprises four cards of identical rank but different suits. For example, A♥️ A♦️ A♣️ A♠️ or 4♣️ 4♠️ 4♦️ 4♥️ make a four of a kind.

4- Full House

In Anaconda Poker, a full house hand consists of five cards, featuring three cards of the same rank and two cards of a different rank. For instance, a full house could be composed of: 10♣️ 10♦️ 10♥️ 6♠️ 6♣️.

5- Flush

A flush in Anaconda Poker is comprised of five cards of the same suit that are not arranged in sequence. For example, K♣️ J♣️ 9♣️ 4♣️ 3♣️ would constitute a flush.

6- Straight

A straight consists of five cards of consecutive ranks, but they can be of different suits. For example, Q♠️ J♣️ 10♦️ 9♠️ 8♦️ form a straight.

7- Three of a Kind

Three of a kind is a poker hand consisting of three cards of the same rank and two other cards of different ranks. For example, a hand with three 10s (10♠️ 10♥️ 10♣️) along with a 7♦️ and a 5♠️ would be considered a three of a kind.

8- Two Pairs

Two pairs consist of two pairs of cards with different ranks, along with a fifth card of a different rank. For example, a hand with 10♥️ 10♣️ 7♠️ 7♥️ 5♦️ forms a two pairs hand.

9- One Pair

A one-pair hand in Anaconda Poker consists of two cards of the same rank, accompanied by three other cards of different ranks. For example, a hand with Q♥️ Q♣️ 10♠️ 5♦️ 3♠️ would be considered a one-pair hand.

10- No Pair

A “no pair” or “high card” hand consists of random cards that do not form pairs, share the same suit, or are in consecutive ranks. For example, K♣️ 10♠️ 7♥️ 4♦️ 2♣️ is a no-pair hand. In the event that multiple players have a no-pair hand, the hands are ranked based on the highest card. In the example given, K♣️ is the highest card. Therefore, if another player has an Ace as the highest card, it will beat the King-high hand.

Anaconda Poker Strategy & Tips

To increase your chances of winning in Anaconda Poker, consider the following strategies:

1. Be Strategic in Passing Cards:

Remember that the player you pass cards to first will be passing cards back to you in the next round. Instead of always giving them your worst cards, consider the possibility that some of those cards may return to you.

2. Avoid High-Ranking Melds on the First Hand:

Melds like a Full House might seem great at first, but in Anaconda Poker, they can quickly lose their value. Since you have to pass cards to your opponents, a Full House can easily be broken up, leaving you with a much weaker hand. If you start with a Full House, it might be best to fold.

3. Strategically Pass Cards That May Return to You:

Keep in mind that some of the cards you pass away may end up back in your hand. In such cases, consider passing seemingly useless cards to your opponent, which they might then pass back to you, unknowingly giving you useful components for your hand.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you’re armed with the rules, hand rankings, and strategic tips, you’re ready to dive into the exciting world of Anaconda Poker. 

This thrilling variation of Seven-card Stud Poker brings an added layer of strategy and anticipation as you navigate through the passing phases and betting rounds. Remember, mastering Anaconda Poker requires not only a solid understanding of the rules but also a keen strategic mindset.

So gather your friends, ante up, and see if you have what it takes to slither your way to victory in this dynamic and engaging poker variant!


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