What Are Wild Cards in Poker?

How to Spice Up a Poker Game

Wild Cards in Poker
Jokers are wild. Pixabay/CC0

A wild card is a designated card that can stand for another card of the player's choice. If a poker game has a wild card, it means that in that game, whatever card is declared wild can stand for any card a player wants. For example, in a game where deuces or 2s are wild and you have Ace-Ace-2-2-Queen, you can decide the 2s are Aces and instead of having two pairs (aces and twos), you have four of a kind, aces!

Jokers as Wild Cards 

Jokers are also always considered wild cards, and you can include one or two of the jokers that come with a deck of cards in a game to include a wild card element to a game.

Jokers as Bugs

Wild cards are almost exclusively used in home games. The exception is when the joker is used as a bug. If a wild card or joker is referred to as a bug, the wild card cannot stand for any card you choose. Instead, it is considered an ace unless you can use it to complete a flush or straight. For instance, if you have 3-4-5-6-Joker, you can use the joker as a 7 to make a straight, but if you have 3-3-4-5-Joker, you have 3-3-4-5-Ace. The joker can only be an ace, not a 3.

Adding wild cards to a poker game increases the suspense by adding an additional element of surprise.