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How to Play Frame Up Poker


FRAME UP POKER: Deal each player 4 hole cards. The board cards consist of 8 cards arranged in the shape of a frame (or square) consisting of 3 cards on each side. Players must make their hand by using exactly 2 of their hole cards, plus the 3 cards that make up any one side of the frame. Initially reveal all at once 4 cards that are in the middle of each side. Thereafter, reveal just one card at a time in this order: top left, bottom right, bottom left, top right. A round of betting occurs between the revealing of the card(s). May be played high-low split.

Summary of action
Deal 4 hole cards to each player. Arrange board cards.
Reveal 4 cards from the middle of each side.
Reveal the top left card.
Reveal bottom right card.
Reveal bottom left card.
Reveal top right card.
High only or Hi-Lo Cards Speak: Showdown
High-Low Declaration: Declare

Starting Hand Selection


As with most high-low split games you want to have been dealt a hand that gives multiple possibilities of winning so combining elements of good starting low and high hands gives you the best shot.

For high having one or two high pair is a decent start. (In 4 cards you will be dealt 2 pair about 3% of the time and a single pair about 30%) You have a small possibility of getting a full house, but most of the time trips is the best you'll get so the higher your pair(s) the better. Several connected cards will be helpful for straights and a straight is often the best possible hand. Flushes require that all 3 cards of one side be suited and that does not occur often. Thus suited cards, though better than unsuited, are only marginally more valuable. Trips in your hand are worthless since you can only use 2 of your hole cards.

For low 2A is the best start. 3A or 32 gives you a one card draw to the nuts and either is absolutely playable. Unfortunately, when you have only 2 low cards in your hand there is a pretty good possibility that one of them will appear on the board. That does not always mean your low is counterfeited as one of the other rows may save you. But, you must check the board carefully to determine if it is or not. For that reason a protected low like 32A or 42A is a far better hand. Whenever you hold one of these low hands with an ace you'd prefer the ace to be suited to one of your other cards.

Low Hole Card Probabilities


Approximate chances of these LOW hands being dealt to you as your 4 hole cards.

4 Card HandPercent ProbabilityOdds Probability
A3XX or 23XX14.4%6:1
Any 4-low (3 cards)3.6%27:1
Any 5-low (3 cards)7.2%13:1
Any 5-low (4 cards)0.36%277:1
Any 6-low (4 cards)0.9%110:1

The Common Board Cards


There are only 4 separate combinations of board cards that may be used so Frame Up is less complicated than many other games. You still must be aware of all the board cards in order to help in assessing the likely winning hands. A pair must appear in one of the 4 sides in order for a full house or quads to be possible. A set of trips on the board is a 424:1 long shot, but, if it occurs a full house is a near certainty and quads a distinct possibility. A full set of board cards will only occasionally have all 3 cards suited, so flushes do not occur to often. If one is possible you will probably need the nut or second best flush to win. Board cards with straight possibilities are common and if no pair or 3-suited cards appear it will be the likely winner.