Anaconda is a very popular variation of poker, typically played in home or social games rather than at casinos.
Anaconda differs from most other poker games in that each player passes cards they want to discard to the player on their left. This adds to the fun of the game and is responsible for some of the alternative names it has been given – like “Pass the Trash” and “Screw Your Neighbour.” Sometimes, Anaconda is also referred to as “3-2-1 Anaconda” or “3-2-1 Left”.
Before any cards are dealt in Anaconda, all players may post antes, or the one or two players to the left of the dealer may post blinds. Both antes and blinds are small bets of an agreed value that serve to get something into the pot before play starts. Alternatively, Anaconda may be played just as a social game, without any betting.
In the most popular variation of Anaconda, players are dealt six hole cards. As a result, a maximum of eight people can play (with a total of 48 cards dealt). If both jokers are included as wild cards, one extra person can be included.
After a betting round, each player chooses the three cards least likely to help their hand and passes these cards to the player on their immediate left. The three passed cards are placed face down until everyone has completed a pass.
The players check their new cards and place their bets. Players can call, raise, check or fold. They then pass two more cards to their left.
Everyone checks their new cards, bets, chooses one more card to discard, and passes this card to the left.
After a final betting round, each player chooses one final card from the six they’re holding to discard. (This card is tossed rather than passed to the left).
Players who haven’t folded reveal their five-card hands in a showdown, and the person with the best hand wins the pot. Sometimes, Anaconda is played for the best low hand (the lowest-ranking hand), rather than for the best high hand.
For other popular versions of Anaconda, see Anaconda variations.