STRATEGY

Types of Poker – Different Variations You Can Play

When it comes to poker, it seems like there are more varieties out there than you can keep up with. Even though options like Hold Em or even Seven-Card Stud are quite popular in modern game rooms, there exist plenty of poker variations that you can learn.  Every player has a favorite type of poker. Hopefully, you will find yours here!

If you’re a novice looking to understand the concepts of poker and how to play, we’ve developed a list of all the major games that people play. If you’re a pro looking to try out a new game and test your skills, our list will help you out too. Overall, if you just want to find out more about poker and what kind of games you can play, read on.

Flop Games

Texas Hold’em – Most Popular Type of Poker

Texas Hold Em is a community card game. To start, all players receive two hole cards. Then a card is burned, and a set of three cards is dealt face up. This is called the flop, and it is the start of the board (community cards).

After each section of the board is dealt, another card is burned. First is the flop, then the turn, and finally the river. Each time a new card is dealt players start betting.

Once the last shared card is dealt, then comes the showdown.

Betting

In Hold Em, betting usually starts with the blinds. Typically, there is a small blind and a big blind. These are forced bets to start the game. The blinds transfer to the person on the left, moving around until everyone has paid a blind bet.

Betting begins once the hole cards are all dealt. Players may either match the big blind to stay in, raise the blind, or fold. The small blind has the option to fold as well, but he or she must pay the blind regardless.

HoldEm Type of Poker

Example

Round One: dealer gives out two cards to everyone. Whoever is to the left of the big blind starts betting.

Round Two: The flop is dealt. Betting starts on the dealer’s left side.

Round Three: The turn card is flipped over. Betting starts in the same order.

Round Four: The river card is dealt, and betting begins the same way.

Showdown: This is when all players compare hands. Only five card hands qualify, and the best one gets the pot.

See our favorite Hold’em sites here. To find out why Texas Hold’em is currently the most popular type of poker, you could do a lot worse than reading about Chris Moneymaker.

Omaha

This is another community card game, similar to Texas Hold Em. The way this version works, however, is that everyone is dealt four hole cards instead of two. The board is still face up and dealt in the same way, starting with the flop, then the turn, and finally the river.

Omaha

To make a hand in Omaha, you are only able to use two cards in your hand. Similarly, you can only utilize three of the shared cards on the board. No more, no less.

Betting

Betting in Omaha is similar to Hold Em. There are blinds in this game, and betting opens in the same method as Hold Em. There are four rounds of betting overall.

Omaha Hi-Lo

This poker variety is identical to regular Omaha, except now players can try to get a low hand. As with all games that have low hands, only an eight or less will qualify. As with standard Omaha, players can only use two of their cards and three of the shared cards.

Betting

Betting is the same in this version, except that now the pot will be split in half, with one going to the high hand and the other going to the low hand. If there is no possibility of a low hand, then the pot will only go to the high hand. For example, if these are the shared cards:

A-J-9-7-3

Only two of those cards qualify as a low card. Regardless of what other cards are in this player’s hand, there is no possibility of a low hand being made.

Our favorite five Omaha Poker sites can be found here.

Crazy Pineapple

In Crazy Pineapple, the game mechanics are identical to Texas Hold Em. The only significant difference is that each player gets three cards instead of two. Everything else is the same, although players can only use two of their three cards to complete a hand.

Stud Games

7 Card Stud

Stud refers to a game where players are given both face-up cards and face-down cards. In Seven Card Stud, the game opens with everyone getting three cards. Two cards are dealt face down, and the third is face up. The following three rounds are all with up cards, and the final round is face down.

Seven Card Stud

Each player makes the best five-card hand only out of the cards he or she receives. There are no communal cards in this type of poker. That is unless all eight players make it to the last round, in which case the dealer places one communal card.

Betting

This game uses an ante instead of a blind bet. An ante is a forced bet that everyone must play to get cards.

To begin, whoever has the lowest up card starts the bets. For each subsequent round, only the person with the highest open hand starts the betting.

Example

Round One: each person gets three cards; two of them are down and the last one is up. Betting starts with the player who has the lowest up card.

Round Two-Four: All live players are dealt one up card. Whoever has the highest up hand starts the betting.

Round Five: All live players are dealt one more down card. Betting is still the same.

Showdown

7 Card Stud Hi-Lo

This variation follows the same rules as Seven-Card Stud, except now there can be a high and a low hand. The high hand is still the best possible poker hand, but the low hand is a collection of the five lowest cards. These do not have to create a traditional hand (such as a pair or straight), they just have to be less than an eight. All other gameplay is still the same. To qualify for a low hand, you must have five cards that are ranked at eight or below. In this case, an Ace counts as a one for the low hand.

Betting

Betting is the same in this version as it is in regular stud, although it is split between high and low players. If one person has both hands, he or she scoops the pot.

Razz Poker

Razz is almost identical to Seven-Card Stud, although in this version only the low hand counts. In this game, flushes and straights don’t affect the strength of the hand. Thus, an Ace through five is the smallest hand, and so on.

Razz

Everything else is the same, including the betting.

Deuce-7 Lowball

This is another game where the lowest hand wins. This is almost like Razz, meaning you are only trying to get all low cards you can while ignoring straights and flushes. One important distinction to this game, however, is that Aces are high, not low. That means that the best hand is a 2-3-4-5-6.

The way the game works is that every player gets five cards. You discard and draw up to three times, trying to make the lowest hand. This is very similar to Badugi, with betting happening between each discard and draw phase.

Here is our list of the five best Stud Poker sites.

5 Card Stud

This is probably the oldest version of poker, but it is by no means the most popular. When it comes to stud games, Seven-Card Stud reigns supreme. Nonetheless, this is a good game if you like a bit of a challenge.

The way 5-Card stud works is that all players are dealt two cards. One of them is face up, and the other is face down (hole). There are four rounds of betting. Each player is dealt three more face-up cards, then comes the showdown.

Betting

Like most stud games, this version uses an ante instead of a blind. The betting strategy is identical to Seven-Card Stud, in that the lowest up card starts in the first turn, then the highest up hand opens the bets thereafter. This continues until the end with the showdown.

Draw Games

5 Card Draw

5 Card Draw

Most of you are probably familiar with this game, but the way it works is that everyone is dealt five cards. Then there is one turn where all players can trade up to three cards in the hopes of getting a better hand. There are only two turns in five-card draw.

Betting

This game uses an ante instead of a blind. The way betting works in this version is that whoever is to the left of the dealer opens, once all cards are dealt. Both rounds are done in the same way. The showdown happens after both rounds are complete.

Badugi

In Badugi, the way the hands work is that every person gets four cards to start. sThen, each round a player discards one of the cards and draws another. The goal is to get four unsuited cards of the lowest possible value. The best hand in Badugi is an A-2-3-4 with no suits matching.

Badugi

When it comes to betting in this game, you have blinds instead of an ante. The process is identical to Omaha or Hold ’em with regards to opening the bet. In the end, lowest hand wins. If you have cards that match in a suit, you only use the lowest of the two cards.

Variations and combinations

H.O.R.S.E. Poker

This is not a variation of poker per se, but instead it’s a combination of multiple different poker games. In this case, the letters in Horse stand for the following:

  • Hold Em
  • Omaha
  • Razz
  • Seven-Card Stud
  • Seven-Card Stud “Eight or Better.”

In this case, you play each game in sequence. This means that you can get a taste of a bunch of different pokers. The game changes when the dealer button has made a full rotation around the table.

HORSE

High/Low Chicago

In this case, High/Low Chicago can be played in tandem with any other stud poker game. Before the game, you must decide whether to play high or low. Either way, the result is the same. In this version, the player with either the highest or lowest spade that is face down wins half the pot.

The only thing to remember about this adaptation is that the spade has to be face down. Otherwise, there’s nothing to it.

Follow the Queen

This is another adaptation that is designed for Seven-Card Stud. The way it works is that you will designate a wild card for the hand. The only way to get a wild card is if a Queen is flipped over and dealt face up. Once that happens, the card immediately following the Queen is wild. So, for example, if one player is dealt a Queen and the next player is dealt a five, all fives are now wild.

If no queens are dealt out, then there are no wild cards in play. This game is designed for Seven-Card Stud, but you can adapt it to any stud game.

Type of Poker – In Conclusion

Overall, when it comes to poker, the sky is the limit with regards to how you can play. With so many variations and adaptations, you can play a different version of poker every night of the week. For anyone who wants to break out of the Hold Em rut, any of these games would be fun with friends or family. Some of them are even spread at certain card rooms or online, so you can even find some action if you want.

We hope this list has helped you find a flavor of poker that is right up your street. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, what’s your favorite type of poker?


I'm a tech geek who enjoys extreme sports, computing and, of course, an avid poker enthusiast.


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