It’s the television card game that everyone can play ...


William Sydnor Jr. provided the screenshots below.
Mary Lou shows the payoffs
Art with contestants
Doreen plays
Brian plays
Bonus round
Art James and Mary Lou Basaraba were the hosts of this Canadian game show in the early 1980s. It was distributed in Canada by CTV and in the United States by Metromedia. I am trying to port this game to either TNT Basic or Stencyl.

Two contestants, a man and a woman, competed in three rounds to build the best possible poker hands using a standard Anglo-American deck of 52 cards. Only 16 cards were in play in each round. In this poker variant, straights and flushes were not considered valid hands. The payouts were:

  • One pair: $20
  • Two pairs: $40
  • Three of a kind: $50
  • Full house: $100
  • Four of a kind: $200
  • High hand bonus: $50

The first round was called “Five-Card Draw”. At the start of the round, four of the 16 cards were shown briefly to the contestants. Each player, in turn, called three cards. Finding a pair or better allowed the player to keep those cards and try to complete the hand.

The second round was one of the following:

  • Four of a Kind: On the game board were four differently ranked cards, one in each suit (such as deuces, fives, 10s and queens).
  • 2-3-4-5: Hidden among the 16 cards was one five-of-a-kind hand (including one duplicated card, such as two jacks of hearts), which paid off at $300 for the player who assembled it.
  • Strategy: Three cards were shown at the start of the round. Each player called two other cards on his or her first two turns and selected two cards from the five that were showing. Afterward, each player called one card per turn.
  • Seven-Card Stud: This round was rarely played. Mary Lou gave each player a choice of two sets of two cards to use and see privately and place in front of him or her. The players used their own two cards with the five additional cards each wanted to keep. Neither player revealed the two extra cards to the other until each player kept all five cards.

The third round was “Wild Card”. This round added one to three jokers to the deck, making five of a kind possible, again paying off at $300.

Whenever a card was exposed, the player in control had to make a decision: Accept the card and continue playing, or reject the card and let the opponent play. Play continued like this until one player’s hand was completed. After this, the other player had to complete his or her hand at once with whichever cards he or she chose from those still on the board.

At the end of each round, the players received money for their hands, and the player with the better hand received a $50 bonus. Both players kept the money credited to them. The player with more money after three rounds advanced to the bonus round.

The Super Pay Cards! bonus round was played in three stages. In each stage, the player was shown a number of cards for the same number of seconds: stage 1, four cards for four seconds; stage 2, eight cards for eight seconds; stage 3, 12 cards for 12 seconds. Mary Lou held the same cards in her hand; the contestant picked a card and tried to remember its location on the board. Finding the chosen card was worth $50 at stage 1, $500 at stage 2 and $5,000 at stage 3.

I have seen the following episodes of Super Pay Cards! on YouTube:
  • Arnold vs. Janice (three cards are unrevealed after each of the last two rounds)
  • Brian vs. Doreen (the source of the images above)
  • Darnley vs. Francine
  • David vs. Blossom
  • Mark vs. Ann Marie (“Science vs. the Arts”)
  • Mel vs. Lilly
  • Mitchell vs. Helen (card #9 is unrevealed after the third round)
  • Peter vs. Joan
  • Sam vs. Lorry
Do you like the background on this page? Download the Playing Cards Symbols background for free!
Super Pay Cards! was produced by Nick Nicholson and E. Roger Muir in association with Champlain Productions. I do not know who owns the format at present.

Send email to James H. Vipond