Bad Games People Still Play: Truth or Dare

“Truth or Dare.”


“How come you never pick Dare?”

“Because if I pick Dare I will either be actually dared to do something, or be dared to answer a particular question truthfully. Essentially by picking Dare you’re allowing your darer to pick either Truth or Dare for you, depending on their motive. ”

The first problem with Truth or Dare, is that after playing once or twice, nobody picks Dare. Both because of smart-ass dares like mentioned above, and because anytime an actual dare is made it’s intended to be as dangerous or embarrassing as can be, while still remaining within the realm of possibility. The intent of a dare is seldom for group amusement, rather they seem to focus on forcing players to either lose their pride (backing down) or their dignity (performing a humiliating dare).

And let's not forget the havoc which may be wreaked by a triple-dog dare.

And let’s not forget the havoc which may be wreaked by a triple-dog dare.

Granted, for the purposes of hormonal-ravaged teens, the game may be well suited. Probing for crushes and making your friends look like morons or cowards probably serves some purpose in the social growth of an individual. But can Truth or Dare be salvaged for those of us without middle-school secrets or cracking voices?

Try instead the fabulous game of Dare Poker! Playing the game is nearly identical to Texas Hold-Em, only instead of betting with chips, you bet with Dares. After hands are dealt, the player to the left of the dealer makes his opening dare, in place of an ante.

It’s best to start with something simple. “Losers have to play with their left sock over their right hand.”, for example. Then, players go around the circle, stating if they want to Check (agree to the conditions of the dare), Fold (decline the dare and drop out of this hand), or Raise (change the dare into something worse).

When raising, it’s important to keep the spirit of the opening dare. While eating a raw egg might be worse than playing with a sock on your hand, it’s best if the creativity of whoever opened is preserved to some extent. For example, a sock on a hand could become shoe and then be raised to cookie jar. This also keeps the dares from repeating too often. It’s not much fun if every hand ends up with the same stakes.

"I see your cookie jar, and raise you a crock-pot."

“I see your cookie jar, and raise you a crock-pot.”

After the dare is settled, the first three cards are turned (the flop), and players may Check, Fold or Raise again. Unlike Texas Hold-Em, the forth and fifth cards (the turn and the river) are flipped at the same time. This is just to speed things along;  since raising requires some creativity, players are more likely to Check than in actual poker. Players are then given one last chance to Fold, Check or Raise.

Hands are revealed, and the winner is determined. Anyone else who is still in must do complete the final agreed-upon dare. Anyone who folded partway through the round must still complete whatever the dare was when they last agreed to it, when they last checked or raised. This way, you end up with a panoply of silly dares to undertake by each rounds’ end. One player may have a shoe on a hand, two others’ have socks, and the winner left boasting of his or her relative dexterity.

I couldn't find any images of people playing Poker with shoes and socks on their hands (come on Google, you're letting us down here), so instead look at these cows.

I couldn’t find any images of people playing Poker with shoes and socks on their hands (come on Google, you’re letting us down here), so instead look at these cows.

Dare Poker works because players get to hear the dares before they know if they will have to do them. Rather than being singled out, as in Truth or Dare, players are all equally subject to constraints of the dare. Only the cards decide who must actually go through with it. Being equally subject also means that dares are kept reasonable. If someone poses a dare everyone is uncomfortable with, it’s easy enough to fold and begin again.

Essentially, the game maintains all the bluffing and boasting, risk and reward that makes poker enjoyable, while providing the additional entertainment of coming up with and performing dares. It’s also a good way to make poker interesting without risking any money. And for you Truth junkies out there, it’s perfectly acceptable in Dare Poker to bet players to tell the truth about something.

Know any good dare games?


3 thoughts on “Bad Games People Still Play: Truth or Dare

  1. Anonymous

    Great post! I have played dare poker before and it’s a riot. Also, it is still sometimes strange to me that Google can’t be used to find things like people playing poker with socks and shoes on their hands – because I am sure that exists on the internet SOMEWHERE….

    My friends and I don’t play Truth or Dare anymore. We play Truth or Truth!

    1. zanderwarren Post author

      Really I should draw my own pictures. That way the internet will gain images of all the things its missing, such as people playing poker with footwear on hands..



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