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How to Play Express Elevator


EXPRESS ELEVATOR Poker: Each player is dealt 4 hole cards. The board cards consist of 2 vertical columns of 3 cards each. A single "elevator" card is placed between the 2 vertical columns. The elevator card is a common wild card that is shared by all players. Only the single elevator card and no other card(s) plays as a wild card. Reveal one entire column, then the other and finally the single elevator card, with betting rounds between. Players may use any 2 cards in a horizontal row, plus the elevator card (ie 3 cards in total from the board). That is: both top cards, both middle cards or both bottom cards, plus the elevator card. (ie. the elevator card "moves" up or down to what ever horizontal row you want.) Vertical or diagonal cards may not be used. Hands are made from the best 5 of 7 cards. May be played high-low split.

Summary of action
Deal 4 hole cards to each player. Arrange board cards.
Reveal all 3 cards from one vertical column.
Reveal all 3 cards from 2nd vertical column.
Reveal middle "elevator" wild card.
High only or Hi-Lo Cards Speak: Showdown
High-Low Declaration: Declare



Variations of Express Elevator Poker include adding additional "stories" to the vertical columns. For example, place 4 or 5 cards in each vertical column to increase the number of card combinations that can be used.

Playing Tips for Express Elevator


Your hand in Express Elevator poker will be taken from 7 cards: the 4 hole cards dealt to you, 2 of 6 board cards and the single elevator wild card. You may use any 5 of those 7 cards to make your hand. While in theory it is not required, in practice, players will always use the wild card in their hand since there is never a reason not to.

The winning hand for Express Elevator poker usually must be excellent. For high, expect 4 of a kind to be the minimum needed to win although sometimes a full house may win if there are few players in the hand and no raising. For low, the nuts or second best hand, with much depending on the board cards. Low board cards also make a tie for the low more likely.

Remember that there is one and only one wild card - the single elevator card. The other 3 cards of the same rank are not wild. Since only the elevator card is wild it means that you and all the other active players have 1 wild card. You need to think of this game as having one wild card for each active player. So, if there are 5 players remaining in the hand that is as if there were a total of 5 wild cards. Obviously, the more active players and the more wild cards, the better the hand you will need to win.

Since Express Elevator poker allows the use of any 5 out ot of 7 cards, it should be considered to be a version of Stud.

Starting Hand Selection


Starting hands for Express Elevator poker fall into 2 broad categories based upon the 4 hole cards you are originally dealt: made hands and drawing hands. Either takes into account the fact that you add the wild card.

Made hands are starting hands that have a chance of winning on their own and include:
4 of a kind. You have a guaranteed 5 of a kind and are an overwhelming favorite.
4 to a straight flush (including one-gapper). You have a guaranteed straight flush and are a big favorite.
3 of a kind. You have a guaranteed 4 of a kind and a draw to 5 of a kind. The higher the trips you start with the better. A final hand of 4 aces or kings may stand up while a low or medium 4 of a kind may not.
2 big pairs or aces with any pair. Guaranteed full house and a draw to 4 of a kind. This is the least of what can be considered made hands. Be especially wary if both are middle or low pairs. A full house is often not enough to win unless there are only a few players and/or no one is showing strength by raising. A hand that also includes a low draw (eg. AA332) is a big plus.
4 card straight or flush. These are also made hands, but neither is going to be a winner. Unless they have low hand potential they should not be played.
For low, any 4 unmatched cards of 5 or less gives you the nut low (playing by 5432A rules) or any 6-low (except if it includes a 5) playing 6432A rules.

Drawing hands are those that need help from at least 1 of the 6 board cards and include:
3 to a straight flush, including up to a 2-gapper. You'd much prefer the 3 cards to be consecutive as there are then 4 cards that make your hand. You have only 3 good cards with a 1 gap and just 2 good cards with a 2 gap.
A single big pair. Draw to 4 of a kind. A big pair plus low draw potential (eg. KK42A) is a big plus.
3 unmatched cards of 5 or less (6 or less if playing 6432A rules). Draw to the nut low.
To become a winner each of these starting hands needs additional improvement from among the board cards. But, with 6 cards available to choose from there is a decent chance of making them.

Hand Probabilities


Approximate chances of being dealt the following LOW hands as your 4 hole cards.

4 Card HandPercent ProbabilityOdds Probability
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

X = any card

Approximate chances of being dealt the following HIGH hands as your 4 hole cards.

4 Card HandPercent ProbabilityOdds Probability
4 of a Kind0.005%20,000:1
Straight Flush*0.048%2082:1
3 of a Kind0.92%107:1
2 Pair3.04%32:1
1 Pair30.5%2:1

*Includes 1 gapper