Strip Poker is a fun way of adding a fun and/or naughty twist to your home-games.

When Panic! At The Disco said, 'lying is the most fun [you] can have without taking your clothes off', they clearly hadn't run a strip-poker bluff!



What Is Strip Poker (SP)?

Strip poker (SP) is a poker variant that involves players removing clothing. The loser in a hand is required to remove a piece of attire as a forfeit. 

This poker format encourages the fun, risk, and the hilarity of embarrassing your friends. Best played after (and along with) a few decent helpings of rum as SP replaces chips with clothing. 

In poker, your chip stack is an indicator of scoring in regular poker

In strip poker, it's the visibility of your right chest hair!


Getting Ready to Play Strip Poker

There are countless ways to personalise a strip poker game. Before you dabble with any of them though, you’re going to need to find – 

  • a deck of cards
  • some poker chips
  • at least one open minded friend

Technically you could play alone, but that’d raise a couple of serious questions:

  1. Firstly, if you’re sat in buff while clutching the wining hand, have you won or lost?
  2. And secondly, when’s your bus back to the asylum?

Once you’ve rounded up the essentials, you can clarify your rules and get started. (We’ll look at this in more detail later.)


How to Play Strip Poker in 6 Steps 

With all the creases ironed out, it’s time to ‘shuffle up and deal’. As you might expect, you can play strip poker with traditional Texas Hold’em rules.But as well as requiring some level of poker fundamentals, it  tends to be quite slow and dull.

(Which is pretty counterproductive for what  is supposed to be a bit of light-hearted fun). 

With that in mind, here’s a step-by-step example of a simple, fast-paced, heads-up strip poker game. Two people can play,  with little to no poker experience:

1. Set-Up

Start by ensuring that each player has the same number of chips. Then allocate an item of clothing to each chip (if you’re unsure, I’ll explain how to do this later).  When this is done, clarify the rules and format of the game. For this version we will be allowing a card changing on the flop to make things a little more exciting. 

All done? Great! The last thing to do is draw the curtains and put a tie on the doorknob!

2. Shuffle and Deal

Next, we need to shuffle and deal the cards. Start by washing them, and no, not in the sink. (Though, you might want to give them a thorough washing after the game). Washing simply means spreading the cards out face down, and mixing them up. It’s like you’re giving them a back rub. (You’ve probably seen a dealer do it in the casino.) 

When that’s finished, deal each player two cards (which they can look at immediately). The deal two bonus cards, face down in front of them. (They can’t look at these yet.).  

3. Deal the Flop

The next step is to deal a flop: Start by ‘burning’ the card at the top of the deck. (Throwit into a discarded pile not the fireplace…). Then deal 3 cards face up at the centre of the table (this is known as the flop). These are communal cards that everyone can use. 

4. Allow a Change

With the flop dealt, players can decide if they want to exchange one or both of their face-down cards. This swap is a blind exchange. They cannot look at the new cards before they change them, Once the cards are discarded, they can’t be taken back. 

This version is a game for people who aren’t super familiar with poker. So, this play this is the only decision point in the hand. In your own game, you can add more yourself if you wish. 

5. Run the Board

The next step is to deal the rest of the communal board. Burn another card and deal one more card face up, next to the flop (known as the turn. ). Do this again for the fifth and final community card (the river). 

Now there are five communal cards in the middle of the table. Players can use these with their own cards to make their best 5-card poker hand. It’s up to you when you decide to expose the cards. 

But the game is more exciting if players turn them over on the flop (after the exchange). The suspense keeps everyone involved in the drama. Thus, making makes suck-outs way more exciting. 

6. Showdown 

The final stage is to see who wins (or loses!). The player with the worst hand loses a chip and must lose the appropriate item of clothing. (Chips represent lives in this game. So, the used chips get put to one side until the next game. They are not added to the winner’s stack). 

The whole process repeats itself until one player is out of lives, chips, clothing, dignity… etc – you get the point.

How to make Things Fair:

If you care about the game being fair, make sure everyone has the same starting stack. It’s unlikely everyone will have the same number of clothes. So, the best way to make things fair is to assign a chip value to each item of clothing. This method ensures that everyone has the same number of total chips. 

If someone is wearing fewer clothes, you can assign different chip values to each item. They will lose that item of clothing when they have lost the corresponding number of chips/lives. 

Here’s an example of how to make it fair for two players with a different number of clothes:

Girl in a dress:

Dress - 3 chips
Socks - 1 chip
Shoes - 1 chip

Total - 5 chips

Guy in Jeans:

Shirt - 1 chip
Shoes - 1 chip
Jeans - 1 chip
Jacket - 1 chip
Cap - 1 chip

Total - 5 chips

Remember you can use bracelets, rings, and caps to even things out too.

Who Should I Play Strip Poker With?

You can play with anyone. But strip poker isn't going to be replacing charades as a weekend family activity any time soon. So, it's probably not the greatest idea to throw Grandma a cheeky wink the next time you're ruffling a deck of cards.

With that said, it is essential to play with people you feel comfortable around. A group of close friends or your partner make great candidates. But, if playing with a group of strangers at a party works for you, then go right ahead.

Just like in any other poker game, table selection is key.

How Many People Can Play Strip Poker?

You can play with 2-6 payers. Strictly speaking, you can deal until you run out of cards. So, the maximum size of your game will depend on what poker variant you're playing. 

But you should go with a two-player minimum, though. You can even play on your own. But if you do find yourself going solo, a trip to the psychiatrist might be in order...

Oh, and remember, heads-up strip poker is likely to be more intimate and flirtatious. A group game at a party will far more likely centre on the hilarity of playfully embarrassing each other.

Heads-Up Strip Poker Is Likely To Be More Intimate

What Do I Need to Play Strip Poker?

  • Cards
  • Chips
  • A sense of humour
  • Drinks (optional)
  • The consequential lowered inhibitions (optional)
  • Curtains! (recommended by your neighbours)
  • Clean underwear

Strip Poker Example Game

With the rules ironed out, you're free to get started. Here's a variation you can use with friends where you can allocate rooms or forfeits too.

It's a quick format of the game.

  1. Ensure each player has a similar number of items of clothing before the game stars. You can group items or accept jewellery if you need to make it a little fairer.
  2. Players nominate an item of clothing as an ante.
  3. Players are dealt five cards. They are allowed to look at two, with the other three remaining face-down in front of them.
  4. A flop is dealt.
  5. Players have the option to exchange any of their known cards for an equal number of unknown cards. Discarded cards are mucked and no longer in the game.
  6. Turn is dealt.
  7. Players can exchange ONE of their cards with a face-down cards if they wish.
  8. River is dealt.
  9. There is a showdown, with the worst hand losing the item nominated as their ante.
  10. Once you’re out of clothing, you must await the next game.

If you'd like a slower more skillful variant, you could always allocate a number of chips to each player. You would enforce 'stripping' whenever a player loses all their chips, or another reaches a particular number.

What about Strip Poker Online? 

Strip poker doesn’t have to be limited to the real world. So don’t worry if you don’t have a poker set sitting around, you can always take things online. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any sites currently offering strip poker online. But there are loads of creative ways to get around that. 

That doesn’t include booting up a ring game alone and waving your big pair at every flop either! (Seriously… get back to the asylum!). You can use existing poker software to facilitate the game. 

It’s against online poker rules to sit at a table together if you are in the same house. But there’s nothing wrong with pulling up a full, active cash game. 

  1. Project the table onto the big screen.
  2. Pick a player already in the game to represent those wanting to play strip poker.
  3. It’s pretty straight forward.  If your player loses a pot, you lose some of your clothes. Simple.

This is a great way of adding an extra level of excitement to strip poker. The game is entirely out of your hands and everyone can share the sweat together. 

This ghosting method is a great option for new players too. Since they won’t have to worry about understanding the rules of poker. They can just pick them up as they go. Or not. It doesn’t matter! 

This kind of strip poker can work well great in person. But the most obvious time to play online is when you’re not physically with your mate. 

It can be a great way to spice up a distance relationship or spend some amusing time on the phone with your friends. 

  • Simply boot up a video call
  • Check you’re watching the same table
  • Have some fun.

It’s perfect during lockdown when we can’t mingle in each others’ houses.

Incidentally, if you do boot up a table with your friends, no collusion please!

How Do Strip Poker Games Differ?

A game of strip poker can work as simply as playing a regular game of poker. You simply have to get naked if you get eliminated. But it’s far more fun if you have to get your kit off a little more gradually. 

As far as rules go, you can be as flexible and creative as you like in constructing your game. But do try to be sensible with how you assign chip values too. Deep stacks and a slow pace are a bad idea. Nobody wants to sit around bored, naked, and cold! 

Here’s are a few other tips to help you maximise your strip poker experience:

1: Be inclusive. If people are new to poker, play a higher variance game that reduces the skill gap. You can give newer players a stack (or clothing) advantage to even things out. This set-up should make poker-muggles more likely to want to play. 

Likewise, if you are playing with competent players, you can stick to a more traditional version of poker. But, for the reasons above, keep things high paced and fun. 

2: Make sure you clarify the rules before you start. You can choose to add more rules later on in the game if everyone agrees. But, for the most part, you need to make sure that everyone is on the same page. You don’t want anyone to feel cheated. 

3: Be creative. Feel free to add some side games to spice things up. Again, it’s up to you how adventurous you are. But a simple example could be to incorporate something like the 7-2 game. (E.g. Everyone must take a shot or lose an item of clothing whenever 7-2 wins the pot.).

4: Be mindful: The most crucial thing is to ensure that everyone in the game wants to play. It sounds stupid, but people are often hyper-conscious about their bodies. Ffor some, the idea of getting naked in front of a group of people can be super-uncomfortable. 

Never pressure someone into playing. And, if anyone has a change of heart and wants to back out of a game, let them. 

5: Don’t be a creep! Some people are uncomfortable when they are naked. 

It doesn’t matter if  - 

  • they’re hotter than Daenerys dragon’s breath after a vindaloo
  • or they have a birthmark the exact shape of Madagascar on their thigh

- it’s rude to stare! 

Remember, the game is supposed to be fun. 

Don’t be a creep! 

If you don’t already, it’s probably a good idea to apply this rule to the rest of your life too…

I'm Too Shy to Play Strip Poker

As you might expect, strip poker isn't a game for the shy or self-conscious. Most people find it a little embarrassing to get their jiggly bits out in company.

If you're especially insecure, I'd probably stick to twister or chess.

If you do decide to play, remember people are way more likely to be laughing at your misfortune of losing than your 'frumpy bits'. 

For this reason, make sure that  you play with the right people.

The Beauty of Strip Poker

Looking to add an element of fun to a stale house party? 

Or just want an excuse to get naked?

The truth is that people love to play strip poker . It can be a fun, sexy or hilarious way to spend a night.

Few would argue that poker is a fun family game. But the truth is that it just doesn’t work as well if there’s nothing to win. With no stakes, there’s no exploitable pressure on players’ decisions. It becomes harder to bluff.

The lack of a prize or forfeit removes any serious sense of competition. This fact means that things can get very boring very quickly.

With nothing on the line, poker is like microwaving ice-cream before eating it. Sure, you’ll remove the risk of brain-freeze, but you’ll ruin the experience in the process.

Poker with too much at stake can be pretty daunting. The financial risk in conventional poker is often enough to put many people off playing altogether.

Since most people prefer to wear clothes, strip poker is a great way of bridging this gap. The embarrassment of nudity provides a fun way of adding just enough risk. This format ensures that people take their decisions seriously, without facing any financial risk.

Of course, stripping isn’t the only way to ensure keep your home games competitive. You could always play for a piece of cake or the best seat on the sofa or something. But let’s be honest, where’s the fun in that?

So, there you have it, strip poker in a nutshell.

Strip Poker – Questions and Answers

Question 1: What is strip poker?
Strip poker is a variant of poker where the losers have to remove items of clothing. Whether bad at poker, or just unlucky, you’ll end up with no clothes on at all!

Question 2: What are the rules of strip poker?
There is no official rule book for strip poker. Throughout history a number of different poker variants have been used for the purposes of playing strip poker. The constant element appears to be that the loser has to remove an item of clothing.

Question 3: Does any poker variant work for strip poker?
Any variation of poker could technically work for strip poker. But, in most cases draw variants without chips are the most fun and straightforward. That way, hands don’t take forever. Players can enjoy the action even if they don’t have a lot of experience with poker.

Question 4: What should I know about hosting a game of strip poker?
It’s good to create a comfortable environment with -

  • Low lighting,
  • Plenty of heat
  • Background music to set the mood

In conclusion, Strip Poker can be a healthy way to changeup a poker night or home game. Texas Hold’em is probably the best poker variation to use. But, pretty much, any poker format will work.

If you decide to host a SP game, follow the guidelines in this article. It’s essential that everyone is okay with the format. Be careful about who you invite. Make sure that the environment is cosy but not to the point of being claustrophobic.

No one should feel uncomfortable about playing.

Make sure the rules are clear beforehand. And each player should start with similar numbers of clothing items.

Above all, keep the game fun, don’t make it creepy.      

Dan O’Callaghan is a professional poker player who got his start in the online poker world as danshreddies. He has racked up over $290K in online earnings.