The dealer deals two face-down cards to each player. A betting round is opened by the player sitting to the left of the dealer. A number of cards equal to the number of players are then flipped face-up onto the table. Each player will be choosing one of these cards to go face-up into their hand. To determine which player gets which card, each player including the dealer, chooses a sum of money ranging from the table’s minimum bet to the table’s maximum bet, hiding this money in their hands. At the same time, each player drops the money they are holding in their hand. The player who drops the highest sum of money gets the first pick of the face-up community cards.
The player who drops the second highest sum of money gets second pick of the community cards, and so on. If two players drop the same amount of money, the one sitting closest to the dealer in clockwise sequence picks first. By the end of this auction round, each player will now have the original two cards dealt to them face-down as well as one card face-up. The dealer then flips another set of community cards, equal in number to the number of players at the table, and another auction round ensues.
There are four auction rounds in total, after which each player will have their two original face-down cards, and four cards face-up, the ones that each player chose on the auction rounds. A betting round ensues. The seventh and final card is dealt face-down to each player, followed by the third and final betting round. Best hand wins.
Because of the four auction rounds, play in this game can be slow. Players are normally reminded at the game’s beginning that it’s going to be a long game, and that the auction rounds should go as quickly as possible. At a nickel-table with betting numbers ranging from 5 cents to 25 or 50 cents, the amount of money a player chooses to auction can vary greatly and be factored into a player’s ‘auctioning strategy’.
At a quarter-table however, where bets vary less (usually being either one quarter or two quarters), the dealer will need to decide if players can bid more money than the table’s usual maximum bet. The dealer at a quarter-table that has a fifty-cent maximum bet may determine that players can bid up to a dollar on auction rounds.