Balatro: How To Get Through Gold Stake

Strategies for navigating gold stakes with minimal discomfort (lower reliance on random chance compared to a flush) in the game Balatro. Whether you’re striving for completion or aiming to conquer all golds, this guide offers a comprehensive roadmap.

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How To Gold Stake (High Card) In Balatro

From the early rounds to boss encounters, learn the intricacies of ante choices, card selections, and proven tactics. Uncover the power of consistent cards, explore compatible decks, and discover strategies for grinding cards to Gold Stake. In addition, find a minor yet reliable strategy for obtaining legendary cards, ensuring a calculated and strategic approach to High Card success.

Which cards provide the most support? (HIGH CARD)

At its essence, the high card is the most reliable hand type, albeit challenging to obtain. However, the effort is worthwhile as it makes every ante relatively straightforward. Even when facing formidable hands like verdant leaf, certain cards can be acquired with semi-consistent outcomes, enabling victory in gold stakes across various decks. I’ve successfully achieved golden stickers on all jokers, and I hope this information assists others in overcoming the arduous grind.

Cards to Consider

S tier cards

  • BULL (NEED): Increases chips with a scalar effect.
  • Bootstrap: Similar to Bull but not as potent, offers a chip boost with a scalar effect.
  • Joker Stencil: Particularly beneficial for black decks, its usefulness increases as you progress, aiding in grinding cards up to gold stake with a multiplier effect.

Side path

  • Vagabond: A consistent card generator that can assist in the early and midgame. Compatible with other listed cards that don’t focus on money, like Bull or Bootstrap.

Other notable cards

  • Castle: Achieves significant chip gains, especially with smeared joker, but can be challenging to get running with a scalar effect.
  • Hologram: Easily generates a multiplier effect with minimal effort and a scalar effect.
  • Ceremonial Dagger: Offers potential by feeding it cards strategically, requires attention to what it kills, and can carry you far with a multiplier effect.
  • Burglar: Provides three extra hands, effectively doubling chip-making potential, and synergizes well with cards like Blueprint and Brainstorm. [+ HANDS]
  • Drivers License: Depending on the run, it can rival Joker Stencil, especially with numerous card effects and additional jokers, featuring a multiplier effect.
  • Stuntman: Grants +300 chips at the cost of -2 hand size, a reliable option that works well in conjunction with Blueprint or Brainstorm for increased chip benefits. [+chip] [-hand size]

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Consistent Cards

  • SuperNova: Grants a +1 multiplier whenever a high card is played, providing a boost that can be pivotal in pushing a run further. [+mult] [scalar]
  • Misprint: While not as optimal as other choices, it serves as a decent fallback option. [+mult]
  • Wee Joker: Recommended for struggling runs; use splash to consistently trigger 2’s during high card plays. [+chips] [scalar]
  • Splash: Helpful in triggering all cards during chip shortages or when relying on card effects to carry you. [+chips]
  • Green Joker/Ride the Bus: Similar effects, avoid discarding or playing face cards for an additional +1 multiplier. Effective when paired with cards like Burglar to increase it through the number of hands played. [+mult] [scalar]
  • Burnt Joker: Discard any card to easily level up a high card, a straightforward scaler that becomes potent if acquired early, usually after ante 4. [+chips,+mult] [scalar]
  • Astronaut: A slightly inferior version of the Burnt Joker in this context, but still worthwhile, particularly if high on high card levels. [+chips,+mult] [scalar]

(Dis)Honorable Mentions

  • Madness: Only advisable in situations where everything is eternal; otherwise, it can negatively impact your run. [Xmult] [scalar]
  • Stone/Marble Joker: While people desired them, they are rarely effective as they require both in tandem. If successfully implemented, they provide a decent chip scalar and deck manipulation, working well with Driver’s License. [+chip] [scalar]

Compatible Decks:

  • Any Deck (versatility is the key focus)
  • Ghost Deck (more details to follow)
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How to Play High Card:

This section will cover the fundamental aspects of the first three antes. By this point, you should either:

  • A. Have your run set up.
  • B. Choose to restart (Hit R).

(Note: The strategy aims for flexibility and adaptability across various decks.)

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How to Play High Card – Scenario:

Round 1:

Aim for a 300-point straight, flush, or full house. If your hand can generate around 40 chips from the cards alone, you can complete the round in one shot. Securing an extra dollar is crucial for purchasing uncommon items or enhancing your consistency with interest. Even if you miss the target, the run is not over, but that extra dollar can have a significant impact.

Round 2:

Consider the shop’s Voucher options, with high priorities being Telescope, Hieroglyph (beneficial for scaling), or Grabber (consider restarting if persistent). Regardless of the scenario, it will take two flushes or two straights without a joker. Prioritize earning money, as interest becomes the most important factor.

Round 3 (Boss):

Jokerless should not be the end of the world; it might be 2/3 flushes or straights. Survive and focus on interest, which can help you purchase any available joker in the shop.

Ante 2 Round 1: The first make-or-break moment. Voucher options can vary; common round 2 vouchers like an extra hand or seed money are viable. By this point, you should have acquired any joker, even one providing chips like Odd Todd, which can carry into Ante 2 Round 2.

Ante 2 Rounds 2 and 3 (Boss): Similar approaches; keep checking the shop and reroll if feeling unlucky. By Ante 3, assess if your run is strong enough for a smooth progression to Ante 5 or if a restart is necessary.

Start of Ante 3: Aim to have a consistent or S-tier card. Even if cards like Bull or Bootstrap aren’t fully set up, they can carry you through the run. Be cautious when playing around Stencil early on, considering what you buy and sell, as one extra joker can impact Stencil’s value.


These are general guidelines for navigating Golden Stake with the focus on obtaining cards without using a golden sticker. Adapt the strategy to fit your jokers and preferences; flexibility is key.

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How to Grind Up Cards to Gold Stake:

By this point, you might have successfully gotten your engine running once or twice, but understanding how to carry cards up to Gold Stake can be challenging. Despite the difficulty, there’s a strategy that can be quite helpful. Since hand size isn’t a concern, you can use as many ectoplasms as you want and carry numerous cards with a Ghost Deck.


  • Consistent Multiplier for Joker Stencil: Using ectoplasms helps maintain Joker Stencil as a consistent multiplier.
  • Carry More Cards Through Gold Stake: Enables you to bring a greater number of cards into the Gold Stake phase.
  • Assistance with Different Effects: Even if certain effects seem irrelevant, focusing on the primary chip/multiplier remains relatively RNG-less.


  • Risk of Death Against Psychic: Fighting the psychic opponent poses a significant threat.

This strategy provides the most consistent approach to elevate cards to Gold Stake. While it may take some time, it serves as a bridge to successfully carry 2/3 cards through Gold, with the potential to acquire up to 10 cards if lucky with shop pulls.

Legendary Card Strategy (Minor Strat):

If you’re aiming for legendary cards and feeling the frustration, there’s a minor strategy that can provide a consistent edge:

Anaglyph Deck and Pray for an Arcana Tag:

Building an Anaglyph deck and hoping for an Arcana tag is a slow and somewhat tedious process, but it’s the most consistent approach. This strategy has proven effective in obtaining 3 out of the 5 legendary cards in the game. While it may seem slow and boring, it helps tilt the RNG slightly more in your favor. If luck favors you with soul cards during the run, consider pivoting into other options like Perkio with an observatory to copy Pluto or Tribolet.

High Card’s Consistency:

High Card is designed for consistent progression through the game, even if its success rate is variable. This strategy aids in searching for the specific legendary cards you need and carries cards that wouldn’t be used otherwise into the Gold Stake phase.


These tips may not be of great significance to those not aiming for 100% completion or all golds. However, for those enduring the challenging journey, these strategies are intended to provide helpful insights. Best of luck!

Last Updated on March 7, 2024

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