Be a Gem Shark: Poker Mode Tips!

Recently, Bejeweled & Bejeweled HD for iOS added a new and exciting game mode that is genuinely not like any other. Everything you know about Bejeweled must be shelved in order to excel at this challenge. As a Bejeweled Poker Mode devotee, I’m here to help!

In Poker, you start with a hand of five face-down cards. Making a match in Poker mode will flip over a card in your hand and set its color. The goal is to create a hand that fits one of the following types:

Pair: Two cards of the same gem color
Spectrum: All cards show a different gem, like a straight in standard cards
Two Pair: Two pairs of two gem colors
3 of a Kind: Three cards of the same gem color
Full House: 3 of a Kind & a Pair
4 of a Kind: Four cards of the same gem color
Flush: All five cards show the same gem color

Matching more than three gems to create a card for that color will create a flaming or sparkling card which is good for a point boost in counting up the hand at the end.
There are other special moves that can help you:

Wild Cards
Making a move which creates two matches simultaneously earns you a Wild Card! Wild Cards show both the gem colors you matched on that move, for instance, both white and purple. As you continue to make matches, the Wild Card will automatically select which color is best for your hand. If your next two matches are both purple, the Wild Card will set the card to count as purple, so you will have at least a Three of a Kind hand!

If you create a Hypercube, the card created is not set to the gem color used to create the Hypercube. It becomes a Wild Card with a question mark on it. Just like the dual-gem Wild Card, the ? Wild Card will automatically become whatever color best suits your hand! When you later match the Hypercube to detonate all gems of whichever color you choose, you will create a card of the color you chose to detonate.

How the game ends:

In Poker, the stakes are always going up! Poker mode is no different. You have to keep achieving excellence with your hands to maintain your momentum! If you are scoring lower hands consistently, those smaller hands will no longer be good enough to continue the game. When you see a Skull appear on the scoreboard, that’s how you know the game is upping the ante!

Skulls start to appear on the scoreboard as the game goes on. When a Skull appears beside “Pair,” you know that you will need to score at least a Spectrum on your next hand. Make stronger moves and more valuable hands to wipe out the Skulls again and get some breathing room.

If you fail to make the minimum required hand, you will see a coin flip to decide whether your game can continue. If the flip comes up safe, you get another Skull on your scoreboard, but you can play another hand. If the flip doesn’t go your way, the game ends.

Got the basics down? Great! Now, I will be your Kenny Rogers and help you become the king of Bejeweled Poker!

Lesson #1: Speed is the enemy of Bejeweled Poker!

Poker is the opposite of Blitz, Lightning, Diamond Mine…all the impulses you have to make the first move you see, the instinct to keep moving at breakneck speed, the sense of the ticking timer…none of that will serve you here! In Poker, much as in Butterflies, you must take the time to consider your moves carefully. Don’t even let your fingertip hover too closely while you’re trying to break the habit of frenzied gem-matching!

Lesson #2: The “best” match is almost never the best choice in Poker!

In every other game mode, you allow yourself to get used to scanning for matches of four or more gems, because that’s inherently the superior choice to make. How could it not be the best? It’s worth more points! In Poker mode, it may be nothing more than a waste of resources. Here’s why:

Poker mode rewards you based on the strength of each set of five matches, which means you’re aiming for consistency rather than flashiness. If you give in to the impulse to generate a beautiful Star gem, you will feel thrilled with your move for a moment before realizing you just wasted two useful smaller matches for the glory of one bigger match. Meanwhile, your best potential hand is now reduced. You thought you were going for a Three of a Kind, but now you’ll be lucky to have a Pair.

Lesson #3: Explosions are a roll of the dice at best, and you should save them for emergencies.

Notice the incredibly tempting four-gem match available in the third column from the end. Those purple gems are calling out to you, aren’t they? And what’s the harm, you think? It’ll just make a Fire gem, which will still sit atop a three-gem match waiting to be made. I’m well on my way to at least a Pair!

But here’s the problem…

Make that Fire gem, and when you match it, it triggers an explosion that takes out several of the surrounding gems, probably even causes a secondary explosion from the nearby orange Fire gem! Suddenly your board will look completely different, and you will no longer be able to make the matches you thought would be available to fill out your hand.

On the other hand…

Remember that roll of the dice? Explosions can be the way to revive a game that seems to be nearing its conclusion. As you start to see fewer and fewer matches, aim to wipe a big section of the board clean and let it fill back in with new gems. That’s the “knowin’ what to throw away” part of the equation.

Lesson #4: Put on your Poker face.

The game itself is both the deck of cards and the opposing players. Your job is to control the game.

Look at all those special gems I have carelessly allowed to fill up my board! I can barely make a move without risking some kind of explosion and cascade that will destroy whatever plan I may conceive.

Lesson #5: Every hand’s a winner…

A good player can make something out of any hand they’re dealt! It’s important to consider all your options before making a play, because there’s no taking back your move once you make it.

Look over the board and see what guaranteed matches you can make. Count matches by color; are there three orange matches available? That means you have the potential for a Three of a Kind! If you can find two of another color, you could turn this into a Full House!

But the order in which you make these matches will determine your ultimate fate. In most Bejeweled games, it’s a good idea to match at the bottom, because cascades are usually your best friend. Not in Poker! Matching at the bottom just removes the options you were counting on at the top. So take your moves in the order of descending risk. Match at the top before you match at the bottom. Match basic gems before risking a special gem explosion. Take your time, consider your choices at each move, and you’ll be sure to find an Ace that you can keep.

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