The most popular poker game these days is unquestionably No Limit Texas Hold´Em. Neuroatypical poker also mainly focuses on NL Texas Hold´Em, simply because it is the poker game I have most information on. However, there are even hundreds of different poker games play variations. Some of these variants, like Pot Limit Omaha, are also very popular these days. Other ones are fairly unknown. Have you ever heard of Pineapple or Chinese Poker?
On today´s post I´m going to introduce some popular and a few not so well-known poker variants. While it is better to learn one poker variant properly, rather than mixing everything, it is fun to know something about different poker variations. Trying them is also a lot of fun!
I´m going to classify the poker variants into four main categories: Community card poker games, stud poker games, draw poker games and mixed games. Each poker game is introduced under the respective main category, so that it´s easier to understand the outline.
Community Card Poker Games
Today´s most popular poker games belong to the community card poker games category. In these games each player has an incomplete hidden hand. All players see the community cards which complete each player´s hand.
The most popular poker game in the world today is No Limit Texas Hold´Em. There is no limit to the bet size in this form, so players can go all-in anytime. There is also Limit Hold´Em, which is not as popular as No Limit Hold´Em these days. In Limit Hold´Em the bet size is limited.
In Texas Hold´Em there can be maximum of 10 players. On each round the big blind and the small blind are posted, but antes are mostly posted in tournaments only. Each player is dealt two pocket cards. The first betting round is pre-flop. On the flop when 3 community cards are dealt on the table, the second betting round takes place. The third betting round is on the turn, when the fourth community card is dealt. The last community card is river, and it is the last betting round.
Omaha is similar to Texas Hold´Em, but instead of two cards, in Omaha four pocket cards are dealt to each player. There are five community cards just like in Texas Hold´Em. The most popular form of Omaha is Pot Limit Omaha High. In this form the bet size is limited to the size of the pot, and the highest hand wins.
There are also different Omaha variations. One of them is Omaha High Low. The highest and the lowest hand share the pot in this variant. There is also Five Card Omaha, in which five pocket cards are dealt to each player instead of four.
In Omaha the players need to use no more or less than two pocket cards and three community cards to form a hand. This is different from Texas Hold´Em, in which players can use any number of pocket cards and community cards to form the five card hand.
In Omaha, if you can only form one decent Texas Hold´Em starting hand from your four pocket cards, it´s not a great Omaha hand. I´ve been informed that you should be able to form four decent Texas Hold´Em hands from your four cards to make it a good Omaha hand. Suited connectors and four cards with two suits are especially great in Omaha.
If you have two aces, though, it is the best starting hand in Omaha too, regardless of the other two cards. In Omaha, you can actually have four pocket aces! Isn´t it the greatest hand ever? I´m afraid not. Remember, in Omaha, you need to use no more or less than two of your pocket cards to your hand. So you could only use two of your aces, and because you had the other two aces as well, you would not get any aces on the community cards to give you trips or quads.
I have tried Pot Limit Omaha, but I definitely can´t claim to be a good or experienced Omaha player. I did win a micro-stakes Omaha tournament once, but it was probably mostly beginner´s luck. A beginning poker player would be better to start playing with Texas Hold´Em, rather than Omaha. One reason is the bigger variance in Omaha. Because of this, you also need a bigger bankroll to play Omaha.
In my opinion Omaha is not the best poker game for us neuroatypical players either, because a big variance can lead to a big tilt problem. Nevertheless, I do encourage you to try Omaha at least once, as long as you don´t invest a lot of money. Playing with four pocket cards is an experience in itself.
If there are Omaha players reading this, please correct me if I have said anything incorrect about Omaha. Please share your Omaha tips with us as well!
Pineapple is basically a variant of Texas Hold´Em. In pineapple, players are dealt three pocket cards instead of two. However, players need to discard one of their pocket cards before the first betting round. There is also a variation of Pineapple called Crazy Pineapple. In Crazy Pineapple the active players need to discard one of their three pocket cards before the turn.
I have played Pineapple once in a home game sit and go. It did n´t go well; I was the first player out. I guess playing with too many pocket cards is not my cup of tea!
Stud Poker Games
In Stud poker games each player receives both face-down and face-up cards in several betting rounds. Most of the cards are face-up, so other players get an idea of the strength of each opponent´s hand.
Seven Card Stud
Seven card stud is the most popular stud game today. It is also played on casinos. Each player is dealt seven cards in total, three face-down cards and four face-up cards in five betting rounds. The player with the best five card hand wins. Razz is a variant of seven card stud. The lowest hand wins in Razz.
Five Card Stud
Five card stud is an early stud poker game. In five card stud each player receives one face-down card and four face-up cards in several betting rounds.
Draw Poker Games
In draw poker each player receives all of their cards before the first betting round. On later betting rounds players can discard cards and get replacing cards from the dealer.
Five Card Draw
Before Texas Hold´Em became the most popular poker game, five card draw was the most well-known form of poker. It is still the first type of poker most of us have played. I also played five card draw with my friends and family when I was a kid.
In five card draw each player is dealt five cards face down. Each player can only see their own cards. They can replace a desired number of cards with new ones on each betting round.
Badugi is available to play on some casinos. Each player is dealt four cards face down. Players can replace any number of cards to new ones on three betting rounds. In Badugi the lowest hand wins. Ace is the lowest card. The best hand is called Badugi, four lowest cards of different suits A-2-3-4.
Some players don´t settle for playing just one type of poker at a time, but want to mix different variations. In mixed games several poker variations are played in one game session or tournament.
Dealer´s choice is mostly played in home games. On each deal the dealer gets to decide the poker variant played. As each player takes turns to be the dealer, all players at the table get to decide the poker games played.
H.O.R.S.E. is a mixed game also played in casinos. The five games played in H.O.R.S.E. are Texas Hold´Em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Seven card stud and Eight or better (seven card stud high-low). A full round of each game is played in turns.
A Bonus Game: Chinese Poker
Chinese poker does n´t belong to any main category of poker. I´m aware of only one online poker room having Chinese poker available. There can be two to four players in Chinese poker.
Each player is dealt 13 cards. All players arrange their cards face down in three rows. The best hand of five cards must be placed in the back row. In the middle row must be placed the second best five card hand. In the front row players must place their worst hand, and it only consists of 3 cards. The hand in the front row can only be three of a kind, a pair or a high card.
Players finally show their cards and compare each hand with the corresponding row of hands of other players. Payments are called units. Second best hands also win some units by beating the worst hands.
Poker For All Occasions
Different poker games play variations are endless. I would compare playing poker variations to learning foreign languages. Learning multiple languages can improve your linguistic abilities. However, you should learn your first language properly before learning foreign languages. The same goes with poker. Learning different types of poker can give you a deeper understanding of poker, but you should learn one form of poker well before studying other variations.
I know I´m going to just stick to Texas Hold´Em for a long time, because I think I still have so much to learn about it. Nevertheless, it is fun to try some new poker variant once in a while.
Have you tried different poker games introduced in this post, or maybe a type of poker I did n´t even mention? Let me know in the comments!