Balatro: How to get Gold Stake (High Card)

Detailed guide how to get high cards and gold stake in Balatro.

The high card is one of the most difficult cards to obtain in Balatro. In this guide, we explained how to get the high card by winning gold stakes.

High Cards

High card to its core is the most consistent hand type, granted it is hard to get but it is so worth it making each ante a breeze, even if you fight something like verdant leaf it is no issue with certain cards that you can get with semi-consistent results, I have beaten gold stake on every deck and gotten golden stickers on all jokers, so I hope this helps some of you complete that horrible grind too!

CARDS TO PICK

S Tier Cards

  • BULL (NEED) [+chips] [scalar]
  • Bootstrap (similar to bull but not as good) [+mult] [scalar]
  • Joker Stencil (dependent on run, helps black deck more than anything, very useful later for grinding cards up to gold stake) [Xmult]

Side path– vagabond – (a consistent card generator can easily help a run through the early and midgame if this card is up your alley and you feel like you can play around it with other cards listed, that don’t orient around money like bull or bootstrap, enjoy it!)

  • Castle (The only reason its up here is because of smeared joker, it can easily surpass bull in terms of chips but its hard to get running) [+chips] [scalar]
  • Hologram (easy mult with no real effort) [Xmult] [scalar]
  • Ceremonial Dagger (you can feed it as much as you can, you just have to stay on top of what it kills, it can carry you really far) [+mult] [scalar]
  • Burglar (BURGLAR MY BELOVED, 3 extra hands is so nice when all you are doing is playing high card, effectively doubling the amount of chips you can make can easily carry runs (THIS EFFECT CAN STACK WITH BLUEPRINT AND BRAINSTORM, BE AWARE AND PLAY AROUND THEM) [+ HANDS ]
  • Drivers License – (depending on the run this could be more than joker stencil, with a ton of card effects and more jokers you’d like to carry this can be a competent substitute) [Xmult]
  • Stuntman – (+300 chips, -2 hand size, always a solid grab [NOTE; the chips stack with blueprint/brainstorm, but the negative hand size doesn’t, take advantage of it after using the effect on burglar) [+chip] [-hand size]

Consistent Cards

  • SuperNova (anytime you play a high card you get +1 mult, it can help push a run over an edge)[+mult] [scalar]
  • Misprint (drop for anything else that’s on the list but it’s better than nothing) [+mult]
  • Wee joker (if you’re running this and struggling I highly recommend using splash to consistently trigger 2’s when doing highcard) [+chips] [scalar]
  • Splash (helps trigger all cards when struggling with chips or needing card effects to carry you) [+chips]
  • Green Joker/Ride the bus (basically the same thing, just avoid discarding, or playing face cards for 1+ mult, it helps if you have something like burglar to increase it with the amount of hands you play) [+mult] [scalar]
  • Burnt joker (just discard any random card to level up a high card easy scaler that can pop off if you get it relatively early, i usually pick it up after ante 4) [+chips,+mult] [scalar]
  • Astronaut (worse burnt joker in this situation, still good to snag if low on high card levels) [+chips,+mult] [scalar]

(Dis)honourable mentions

  • Madness (only grab if everything is eternal, it can kill your run otherwise) [Xmult] [scalar]
  • Stone/Marble joker (the only reason they’re here is because people wanted them to be here, they rarely work since you need both in tandem, but if you do get them running you get a decent chip scalar and deck manipulation, works well with drivers license) [+chip] [scalar]*

Decks this Works with

  • Any (that’s the point)
  • Ghost deck (I will go into more detail later)
How to gold stake (high card)
How to gold stake (high card)

How 2 High Card

What this section will be going over is the basics of the first 3 ante, by then you should either

  • A. have your run set up

or

  • B. Hit R

How to High Card (Scenario)

Round 1

You want to hit a 300 point straight, flush, or full house (a good rule of thumb is if your hand can make 40 chips from the cards alone, you can finish the round in 1 shot)
Getting that extra dollar can go so far, hitting it means that you can purchase an uncommon or even get that interest a little more consistently. even if you don’t the runs not over, but it does help a lot, one dollar gets stretched a long way

Round 2:

Think about the Voucher or whatever you’d like in the shop, high priority vouchers are telescope, hieroglyph (helps with scaling more than i’d like to admit), or grabber (I usually restart if i see grabber if im persistent)

In round 2 no matter what it will take 2 Flushes or 2 Straight without a joker, you’d want your money anyway, interest is the most important thing.

Round 3 – (Boss)

  • It shouldn’t be the end of the world jokerless, if it is, simply unlucky, it will be 2/3 flushes or straights, just try to survive, the interest can push you over the edge with buying any joker that is in the shop.
  • Ante 2 round 1 is where it’s the first make or break of the run, the voucher can be almost anything, common round 2 vouchers that i pick are an extra hand or seed money, at this point you should have any joker, even one that gives you chips like odd todd can carry to Ante 2 Round 2
  • Ante 2 Rounds 2 and 3 (Boss) are very similar, just keep peeping the shop and reroll if you’re feeling unlucky, by the time you reach ante 3 you should know if your run is enough to stroll to ante 5 with ease, or bad enough to restart.

By the start of ante 3, you should have a consistent card or an S tier card, even if something like bull or boot isn’t fully set up it can carry you through the run, if you’re playing around stencil early you have to be very cautious of what you buy and sell, one extra joker can destroy stencils value

NOTE: these are my general rules for getting through Golden stake with the mentality of getting cards I WILL NOT use a golden sticker, you can always alter your strat or change how you play to fit your jokers, nothing is set in stone.

How to Grind Up Cards to Gold Stake

By this point you probably have gotten the engine working once or twice, but don’t exactly understand how to carry cards up to gold stakes, it is a pain, but there is a strat to help as much as it sucks, since you’re not playing into hand size at all you can use as many ectoplasms as you want and carry as much cards as you want with ghost deck.

PROS

  • Using these can keep joker stencil a consistent multiplier
  • Carry more cards through gold stake
  • Help you with different effects, even if they mean nothing, the main chip/mult should be RNG-less

CONS

  • If you fight the psychic you die

This is the most consistent way to get cards up to gold, even if it takes a while, it helps bridge the gap of getting 2/3 cards through gold, you can get up to 10 if you are very lucky with shop pulls.

What about Legendary Cards?

CRY

just kidding, there is a minor strat to help with legendary cards, even if it isn’t a lot, this is the most consistent edge that you can do

Anaglyph Deck and Pray for an Arcana Tag

This helped get 3 out of the 5 legendaries in the game, even if it is slow and boring, it helps by making the RNG sway just a little bit more in your favor. If you somehow get lucky and hit some soul cards on your run that’s great! depending on what it is, you can easily pivot into something like Perkio with an observatory to copy Pluto or Tribolet. High card is made to get through the game consistently, even if it is shotty at best, it is a strategy that can help you look for the cards that you need and help carry things you wouldn’t use otherwise into gold stake!

These tips might not mean a lot to anyone who isn’t trying to 100% or go for all golds, but for those who are trying to endure the pain, I hope this helps!

How to gold stake (high card)
How to gold stake (high card)
Written by Leupe

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