Parlay is an interesting little game. It claims to be a new way to play your favorite poker games such as Texas Holdem, Omaha, Or Five Card Draw. The claim is correct to a certain point. For poker lovers you need to understand the hand is not played out via poker rules exactly, but that poker comes into play if you decide not to fold your hand.
The game is more of a word game with the poker aspect being a nice little bonus. First I will explain the word portion of the game. Each of the cards in the playing deck has a normal playing card rank, a letter, and a point value. Your goal is to form a word from your hand (your hole cards) along with any shared cards of three to seven letters. The number of hole cards and shared cards you have to use is based on the version of poker you choose to play. If you are playing Texas Holdem then you will have a maximum of 2 hole cards and 5 shared cards to form your word. If you are playing Omaha you must use two your hole cards (and only 2) along with up to all five of the shared cards. If you are playing Five Card Draw then you can use any of your five cards or all of them (there are no shared cards). After forming your word you decide to just take your points (fold) or you stay in the hand for the possibility of bonus points.
After the words are revealed any suspicious words that may not be real can be challenged. If you are challenged and your word is illegal you receive zero points are are out of the hand. If you challenge someone else’s word and it is a real word you get zero points and are out of the hand. Anyone that folded and has a valid word (or even if it’s not a real word but it’s not challenged) gets the points for their word based on the point values of the cards they use. Anyone that does not fold goes to the next round of scoring.
Whoever has the best poker hand, which does not have to use the same cards as their cards used to form their word, will get a bonus matching the point value of their word. Then anyone using a 5 letter word gets 15 points, 6 letters gets 45 points, and 7 letters gets 100 points. Finally any point bonuses are added if your word was challenged and ruled legal or if you challenged and opponent’s word and it was illegal. Any of the players that have decided not to fold then compare their scores. Only the person with the highest total out of these players gets their points. Everyone else that failed to fold gets 0 points! You are free to play as many rounds as your group decides ahead of time and then total your scores to see who wins.
This is a good game if you have some people in your group that enjoy word games and some enjoy poker type games since this combines the two. At just under $15 retail price, the game is a good one to keep in your collection for when you have a mixed group to play with. The game loses some of the key aspects of poker and will dissapoint poker fans, but then again if it gets people to play that would normally refuse to play a poker style game it will still please the poker fans!