Manila is a game of 32-card deck poker, the deck consisting of eights or better. It is sometimes referred to as Seven Up Poker and is mostly found in Asia and Australia as a peculiar variant of Texas Holdem. Like in Holdem, players are dealt two cards, thereafter, there are very few similarities. Manila is really gaining ground in Australian casinos, but rare in online poker rooms. It is less rare in home games and is often seen as a poker form to provide variety to the play.
So, How Do You Play Manila Poker?
Manila is composed of five betting rounds where one card is visible at each turn. A player is required to use both cards at showdown as building blocks to the superior five card hand. In addition, chances of drawing a different hand given the 32-card, 8 low composition of the deck and that a flush stomps a full house and aces are only high in a straight are next to none. Manila is generally played with a fixed limit betting format, and occasionally you will run into a table with only three betting rounds. Five betting rounds prolong the game and require greater concentration and focus, making them unsuitable for some casual games.
Some Thoughts on Ideal Manila Strategies
With the deck foreshortened as it is, drawing to a powerful hand (full house or better) is a good ploy so you can see that position is all in figuring the correct play in the game. You should play pair cards when in early position or even high suited connectors, like a suited Jack-ten which has the advantage of being the dynamic duo in every straight in Manila. All the players around the table will be holding high cards so you must choose your hands with discrimination, playing pairs, the high-suited connectors and draw hands when in good position. Any hand below a King-Jack may be takes a full house or higher to make a hand a winner, though drawing to a flush is not unheard of.
You may find it to your advantage to discard straight draws as the board will undoubtedly pair, trumping your straight even in the event of an on-the-mark draw. Focus on the betting patterns of your fellow players through all of the rounds. They often are drawing to a full house. If and when the board pairs or a player becomes zealous, attempt to squash him on a specific hand. A high percentage of players are very discriminating when it comes to their initial hand selection, given that there are no pot odds for a lucky draw to a flush or higher. In these circumstances, you should bless the five betting rounds for offering up more good data so you can readjust your anticipation of the triumphant hand.
The bluff strategy is not usually a good one in Manila as many players tend to stay in the pot due to the limit betting structure and the obstacle-free path that exists to draw to a strong hand. For this reason, one must be very careful when taking on an aggressive stance in a multi-way pot unless he is extremely certain that his hand is the nuts. Given good pot odds, you might want to stay on a strong draw because of the fixed limit format, but do stay clear of any multi-way betting Armageddons.