game objective

As in Backhand the card game, the objective is still for the player to successfully resolve their hand, but to do so with “player total” advantage over the “dealer total.” In both Buffalo Bayou Backhand and Missouri City Backhand the “Dealer Total” is the added numerical values of the last card dealt to the player and the dealer show card directly above it. 

The “Player Total” is the combined numerical values of all the cards dealt to the player up to, but not including the last card dealt to the player. 

The “Dealer Total Advantage” is when the dealer total is greater than the player total. “Player Total Advantage is when the player total is greater than the dealer total. 

The player’s “total hand value” is the sum total numerical value of all the cards dealt to the player including the initial player hand, the backhand card and any hit cards. 

Game Rules

General Rules

  1. All the cards in Buffalo Bayou Backhand are dealt face up. There is no “hole card” in this invention.
  2. When playing with multiple players, Buffalo Bayou Backhand is intended to be played in a 1:1:1 ratio (i.e. 1 deck : 1 player hand : 1 dealer hand). When dealing with multiple players, this ratio is to be adhered to in order to avoid running out of cards during the game. 
  3. There is no “loitering” in this game, which means that there is no option for the player to “stay,” “hold” or “stand pat.”  The player must completely resolve their hand. Although, there is a possibility where the dealer total and player totals are equal, which would result in a stalemate (no winner). A stalemate in blackjack is called a “push,” but this term has a different meaning in The Backhand Series.
  4. Also unlike in blackjack, there is no splitting, doubling or insurance options.
  5. The dealer hand is dealt face up and contains three show cards dealt from right to left prior to the initial player hand being dealt.
  6. The term “push” – is defined as when the player decides to push their initial player hand away in exchange for a new hand. This option is available to the player when their initial hand value is between 17 and 20.
  7. Aces contained in the initial player hand are valued at 1.
  8. Aces contained in the dealer hand (the three dealer show cards dealt prior to the initial player hand) are valued at 1 or 11 to the advantage of the dealer. Said aces are called “Dealer Aces.”
  9. Aces dealt to the player after the Ace Rule has been satisfied and are not a part of the initial player hand are valued at 1 when calculating the player’s total hand value. Said aces are also “Dealer Aces.” When calculating the dealer total, said aces are valued at 1 or 11, to the advantage of the dealer.


Rules of Play

  1. All existing rules for Backhand, the card game will be observed in Buffalo Bayou Backhand, except where rule modifications are expressly noted in the body of this document. 
  2. The dealer is dealt three show cards face up, from right to left first. These show cards make up the dealer hand and are never replaced, moved, picked up or substituted under any circumstances during the hand. The dealer hand is dealt in the beginning of the hand and remain in place until the hand is over.  When playing alone, the player hand is then dealt on the row below the dealer hand, from right to left, face up and positioned adjacent to the bottom left hand corner of the first dealer hand show card. Prior to the player receiving their third card, the Ace Rule must be satisfied, the initial hand value is calculated, then the hand type and hand options are determined.
  3. Player Total – This is the added numerical values of all the cards dealt to the player, except for the last card dealt to the player. Discarded initial player aces are not counted. The backhand card is never included in the player total. 
  4. Dealer Total – The dealer total is the added numerical values of the last card dealt to the player, and the dealer show card directly above it. The dealer total is compared to the player total throughout the hand to determine who has the advantage in the hand.
  5. In Buffalo Bayou Backhand, aces are valued according to what they are being used to calculate. Initial player aces are aces that are contained in the initial player hand (the first two cards dealt to the player) prior to the Ace Rule being satisfied. These are valued at 1. Player aces are aces that are a part of the initial player hand after the Ace Rule is satisfied. These are also valued at 1. Dealer aces are aces that are a part of the dealer hand (one of the three dealer show cards dealt in the beginning of the game) or dealt to the player after the Ace Rule is satisfied, and not a part of the initial player hand. 
  6. Dealer aces (including backhand cards and hit cards) are valued at 1 when calculating the player total hand value, and at 1 or 11 (to the dealer’s advantage) when calculating the dealer total.
  7. Once the backhand card is dealt, if the player’s backhand request is successful, then the player total and dealer totals are counted. The player wins if the player total is greater than the dealer total. The player will lose if the player total is less than the dealer total. If both the player and dealer totals are of equal value after the backhand card is played, the hand will result in a stalemate (no winner) and the hand is over. Remember that once the Ace Rule is satisfied, the option to call backhand is available throughout the hand (as long as the player’s initial hand value was less than 17), the player’s hand contains less than 5 cards and the player’s total hand value is 21 or less. Also, backhand can only be requested by the player once.
  8. In Buffalo Bayou Backhand, every time a card is dealt to the player (either a hit card or a backhand card) the player total and dealer totals are compared to determine the advantage in the hand. Backhand rules still apply to hit cards, if the hit card causes the player hand to exceed 21, the player loses the hand. If it doesn’t, the player is again presented the options to either take another hit card or call backhand. In the case of a five card hand, the player would win according to existing backhand rules.
  9. In the case of a push hand, the hand is played in the usual manner.  If the player decides to “Play the Push” and has done so successfully, the hit card is used to calculate both the player total and the dealer total. The player will win if the player total is greater than the dealer total. The player loses if the player total is less than the dealer total. If the both the player total and dealer totals are equal, the game results to a stalemate. If the player decides to instead “push the hand away,” existing backhand rules apply and the player is dealt a new hand.

How To Play

  1. DEAL three show cards face up, from right to left first. When playing alone, the player hand is then dealt on the row below the dealer hand, from right to left, face up and positioned adjacent to the bottom left hand corner of the first dealer hand show card 
  2. RESOLVE the Ace Rule, CALCULATE the initial hand value, then DETERMINE hand type and hand options.
  3. PLAYER completely resolves the hand (using the rules and options as described above) and where the winner is determined by comparing the player total and dealer total. A player will win any hand which results in player total advantage over the dealer total.

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buffalo bayou backhand example

Do-it-yourself practice hand

In this hand, the initial hand value is 8, dealer hand contains (8,9,2) and there are no initial player aces. The only hand option available to the player is to take a hit card. The hit card is 4 so the total hand value is 12, the dealer total is 12, and the player total is now 8 and the hand options available to the player is to take a hit card or call backhand. Right now the player must determine whether their current player total would beat the dealer total if they were to call backhand. A successful backhand in this case would be a backhand card with a numerical value of at least 10. But the resulting dealer total would be 19 which would give the dealer the advantage and result in a loss for our player; therefore, it wouldn’t make sense for our player to call backhand at this point.

Figure 20 shows that our player chose to take another hit card. The hit card is 8, the new total hand value is 20, the new dealer total is 17, the new player total is 12 and the dealer currently has the advantage. The hand options for our player is to take a hit card or call backhand. And as you can see, the dealer’s last show card is a 2, so if our player decides to call backhand (and the backhand call is successful), the resulting player total would be 20 and a sure win for our player.  But if the backhand card is an ace, our player would lose.  


So how does this hand end?  Well, instead of me giving it away, why don't you play the chance out yourself with your own deck?  This is a great chance to practice.  Good luck!

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