If playing poker is your cup of tea, you already know that gathering with a group of friends for Dealer’s Choice provides hours upon hours of exciting entertainment. Dealer’s Choice poker offers a plethora of interesting and exciting fast-paced games with nearly endless possibilities. One such game, which happens to be one of my favorites, is called “Splits,” or “Hit the Number.”

Rules and game play for Splits are extremely easy to follow. To begin the game, two random target numbers are chosen, with the object being to obtain a point total as close to or equal to one of the two chosen numbers. More common target number choices for Splits include 7 – 27, 5 1/2 – 21 1/2, or 13 – 33. In each of these examples, there is at least a 15-point difference, and one of the sets even works with half numbers. This is for a couple of reasons. First, Splits is, a split-pot poker game, in which the winnings are almost always divided between at least two players. For example, in 13 – 33, at the end of the game, the gamblers nearest to 13 points and nearest to 33 points split the pot down the middle. Second, all face cards are worth a mere half point, while aces are worth either 1 or 11 points. All numbered cards are worth their face value. Therefore, if playing 5 1/2 – 21 1/2, it is possible to hit half numbers, as well as whole ones.

Splits is dealt out like 5-Card Stud with one major difference. The game is not even close to being over after each player has five cards. A player can choose to draw as many cards as he wants, even if he has already opted not to draw during a previous round. To explain, after antes have been paid, the dealer gives each player two cards in a normal clockwise rotation, one face down and one face up. For the sake of betting after each round, the player with the highest point total showing on the board starts off by either betting checking. After a round of betting, the dealer then (once again in a clockwise rotation) asks everyone if they would like another card. If at anytime your point total matches the amount of points required for that particular Splits game, then do not draw anymore cards, as you are already guaranteed half of the pot. A player can pass on drawing a card at anytime, then come back and draw on a subsequent turn if desired. This is sometimes done by a gambler to increase pot size if he is already locked in for half of the winnings, and increasing his point total, even by 10 points, will not matter.

After each round of drawing a card, a round of betting begins. When no one wants to draw anymore cards, there is a final round of betting, then the hand is over. The two players closest to the two selected Splits numbers with their own total points are the winners. Therefore, if you are playing 13 – 33 and you have 13 points on the nose, you split the winnings with the one closest to 33 points since those are your target numbers. Also, unless there are exceptions, a player can overshoot a number and still be closest to it to win (i.e. 33 1/2 points is still a winner over 32 points if playing 13 – 33). The only times a pot is not divided directly in half is when either one player can total both amounts by using aces (i.e. three aces will give a player both 13 and 33 points, like The Wheel, giving him the entire pot) or if two players are equidistant from a target number (i.e. if one player has 12 points and one has 14 points, they will each take a quarter of the pot, while the player closest to 33 points takes the other half). And since two people usually end up splitting the winnings, pot sizes in Splits can become fairly large, adding even more excitement to an already fun-filled, Dealer’s Choice poker game.

Even if by some odd reason you become bored with Splits, variations can be easily utilized. Some ideas include changing the dealer after each betting round, using number combos that are further apart (like 21 – 51 or 9 1/2 – 44 1/2), just counting red cards and making black cards worth zero points, or not being able to exceed your target number (as in Blackjack or 21). Whatever options you decide to choose will definitely increase the excitement level of the game. In fact, even without any variations applied, I am sure you will find Splits to be very fulfilling, constantly keeping you on the edge of your poker seat.