"Pay Cards" is a funny little show. If you told somebody "It's a poker game show," your gut would tell you "Poker with trivia questions." Nope. It's really just poker. In fact it's even scaled down poker. For each hand, you're only using a 20 card deck, and flushes & straights don't count. The only real game show-y tweak they've made to it is that it's a memory game vaguely akin to "Concentration."

The game is played by two or three players (the TV show used three and it works better that way) over the course of four rounds. Each round has a designated deck of cards. You're simply picking cards trying to build the strongest poker hand possible, with a cash award designated for every poker hand and a bonus for the player with the strongest hand in each round. You can reject a card if it doesn't help your hand, but the two risks are, #1, you lose your turn by rejecting the card, and #2, it can help another player's if they remember which number is hiding that card. The final round, based on the show's bonus round, is a particularly tricky round where you have to remember the exact location of four specific cards, one at a time. You can use it as just a bonus round, but the home game's rules offer different game play where all contestants play and it counts toward the overall score of the game.


As a side note, there appear to have been two different printings of the game. One printing comes with "wild cards" in the decks, which are what they sound like. As far as we can tell, the Wild Card printing is rarer, but not drastically so.


About the only drawback to the game is that you can't "make a night of it." It truly comes with only four decks for four rounds. The problem with this is that by the end of the round, you know which cards have more matches than others, and if you immediately played a second game, you would know instantly which cards to reject or accept as they came up. It's a good game, but only when you and your friends are playing a variety of games during the evening.

EQUIPMENT: starstarstarstar
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OVERALL RATING: starstarstarstar

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