Okay, at risk of dominating the conversation and hijacking Caustic's game, I've got something more to throw out. Here's what I was thinking:
* the game shouldn't be obvious as a strip-and-forfeit on its face, or we can't lure in the relatively innocent. Each player might get their own invite tailored to their desires and limits (so all of Caustic's invite ideas could be used simultaneously - well, if the college kids are in Vegas maybe).
* the game needs to not hold up on every player, like normal poker would. I played in strip poker game on RPOL, and it was painful to keep momentum going when you had to wait on every player to post, in order, just to get through a round of hands.
* the game can't be too complex, or it starts to require too much attention compared to the character interactions.
* normal poker rotates money around the players, so it's easy for someone to get ahead and then never have to pay a forfeit or even get committed to a hand, so we need some way to take money away from the players and keep them lean and needy
* We want people to choose to do naughty things at first, then be compelled a bit more as we go on
So... imagine this....
* * *
The young lady seated them around the table, her big bright smile and tight casino uniform catching many eyes: Aimee, then to her right her boyfriend Mark, then Michelle, then Dominic, then Sarah with an empty chair between Sarah and Aimee before which was piled a deck of cards and a chip rack.
"Greetings and Salutations!", a voice sounded as they sat down. The voice was rich, charming, and perhaps a little slick. A dark-haired man in a tuxedo swept in, his green eyes twinkling. "Thank you for accepting our invitation to Hedon's Poker. This is a great new game that has swept the Club Med circuit and now we're sure America will love it to." His patter was rapid, sweeping, and immediately attention catching. "It's a simple game with a fun twist, and I'm glad we can offer it to you. We've even spiked the pot a bit as a thank you and are sure that after tonight that you'll spread the word to all your friends."
"The game is simple", his fingers split the deck and shuffled it effortlessly as he spoke. "We have here a normal deck of cards plus a few special jokers. Each of you starts with $1000 in tournament chips as you see before you. You're playing both against each other and the house, and the last player standing at the end wins $5000 in our special game tonight. You can rebuy into the tournament if you run out of money, but we'll worry about that when we get to it. Let me show you how the game works." He finished the shuffle and dealt out cards, one card face up and then two cards face down in front of each player as well as himself, his fingers flying as he continued his patter. "It's similar to 5 card stud. Everyone puts in an ante, and then you start with one card showing and two cards in secret."
Sarah was already thinking about the odds. Come on, let's go she thought to herself. She just wanted to win this thing and buy back in to the big tournament playing downstairs. It was only bad luck she had been bounced our, and she was sure she could whip these tourists in any poker game. She had the nine of hearts showing, and when she peeked at her down cards she saw the nine of spades and the ace of clubs.
"That's right my dear, Sarah isn't it? Everyone look at your down cards. Now just like the poker you know and love, you're trying to make the best five card hand. But to stay in and get your next two cards, you have to pay another bet twice as big as the ante. Nice and simple. So let's just say everyone stays in." His hands flew and two cards appeared, one face up and one face down in front of each person. "Then we have another round, everyone either puts in a bet twice as big as the last or folds out. The winner is the best hand that sticks it out to the end. The house always stays to the end."
Aimee held up one of her face-down cards. "So how does this work?" She showed a card that looked like a joker leaning over to kiss a woman in a classic peasant outfit.
"Ah, there you have one of the jokers. It's a wild card - it can be anything you want. But you see there is a little bit of text at the bottom there. Since you were dealt it face down you can choose to use it or not. If you're dealt it face up you have to use it or immediately fold. The one you have there, can you read the text out loud to us?"
Aimee looked, and indeed there was a careful script wrapped around the borders. "Give the person to your right a kiss for good luck and get $250 from the house." She smiled at her boyfriend and happily gave him a quick kiss, giggling.
"There you go folks, nice and easy. Just because, everyone show your hands and we'll see who won our little practice round." His smile was easy, and his voice seemed to encourage a good mood and yet also compliance with his request. As the cards were turned up, he read them off. "The hand rankings are the same as normal poker. So Aimee, dear, with the joker your best hand is a pair of Kings. Mark, I'm afraid you only have ace-high there. Michelle, there you go with a pair of threes and a pair of jacks, a hand like that will win most rounds. Dominic, yes, that's pretty much nothing, if it was a real hand you would have wanted to fold in the first round. Ah, Sarah, very lucky for you - three nines. Oh, and let's check the dealer hand - pretty much nothing queen high. So Sarah would have brought in our first hand. Congratulations!"
"Now, if anyone has any questions, feel free, otherwise put in your first ante of $10 and we'll get started. Our hostess Lisa here will get anyone drinks if you'd like one."
How's that sound. Obviously our dealer can manipulate the cards, and the implication is that the jokers are just little things. And since the jokers also give you money, even people with a lousy hand will want to follow their instructions. But after a bit the antes will increase, and he puts away this deck and gets out another, which has a bit stronger jokers. He also has neglected to say what happens when the dealer gets a joker - I'm thinking that the instruction applies to everyone. People get more involved, and someone gets eliminated. The dealer offers the rebuy option - which would basically be a bit harder than the last of the joker-tricks - but not quite so much as to drive the person away. And since money is also slowly slipping away to the house, starting with $1000 in chips again won't just make them immediately in danger of being eliminated.
Posting-play wise, we don't need to worry about the order of folding/betting that much since it's a fixed bet. So we'll hold up when the dealer has to put out the next round of cards, and for the last person to announce their action (bet or fold).
How does that sound to everyone?