Five cards are dealt to each player. There is a free draw from the deck of up to two cards. Players declare in or out; Elan suggests the coin-declare.
Those players who are in play a version of Liar’s Poker (without the lying) with an open round of asking who can beat given hands; for example, “Who can beat a pair?” “Who can beat a straight?”. Players who can’t meet the requirement are out of the running (don’t worry, not out of the hand yet). The player who ends up declaring having the best poker hand gets to call trump.
[NOTE: For players not familiar with trump, it is a designated suit called in games where players must follow the lead. When a player has none of the suit that has been led, he is free to play a card from the trump suit which automatically takes the trick. The only thing that beats a trump is a higher trump.]
That player can call a suit as trump, can call no-trump, or can determine reverse no-trump, which isn’t a suit but rather means that Two’s are high, followed by Three’s, etc. The lead is to the left of the dealer. Players must follow suit if they can. High card or high trump takes the trick.
A player must take three tricks to take the pot. Players that take only one or two tricks have to match the pot. As a variation, players that take no tricks have to double-match the pot.
Lying during the ‘Liar’s Poker’ round is cheating. The player who declares the best hand is kept honest to his hand. It should be considered cheating, but you may prefer something a little more flavourful, like triple-matching the pot.