Poker Variants

Poker Variants

Introduction

Are you enjoying poker but tired of playing the same old round of Texas Holdem? Or are you new and don’t know where to start? You have come to the right place if the answer is yes to either of these questions.

This blog will help you understand the different variants of poker, its gameplay, and how easy or difficult it is to play. The blog will also help you decide by telling you the pros and cons of each variant.

Texas Holdem

Texas Holdem is the most popular poker variant. It plays out in 4 stages: Pre-flop, Flop, The Turn, and The River. Players get 2 hole cards and 5 cards are placed in the middle (in each round after Flop) called the community cards. You aim to make the best 5-card poker hands.

Popularity

Originating in the early 1900s, the game became famous after a group of players founded the World Series of Poker (WSOP). In 1970, the game featured on the television show “The World Series of Poker.” This feature made Holdem the most popular form of poker in the world.

Ease of Learning

With the amount of resources available, the game is easy to learn. However, you will have to keep practising to improve your game.

Gameplay

Once the hole cards are dealt, the players sitting to the dealer's immediate left put in forced bets called Blinds. The action starts with the player sitting left to Big Blind, they can either, Call, Raise, or Fold. After the first betting round, 3 community cards are revealed. 2 more cards are dealt, 1 in the Turn round and another 1 in the River. With the help of your hole cards and these community cards, you will make the best 5-card hand. Later, in the showdown, everyone will show their hands and the player with the best hand wins.

Pros

You can find this variation on any poker platform due to its popularity.

Cons

You can lose your bankroll if you indulge in no-limit Texas Holdem recklessly.

Pot limit Omaha

Pot limit Omaha is similar to Texas Holdem but the players deal with 4 cards instead of two. In Hold'em players use one or even none of their hole cards to make the best pot, whereas Pot Limit Omaha requires you to use two cards of your hand at showdown. For example, holding the king of clubs in your hand when there are four clubs on the board gives you a flush in Hold'em, regardless of your other card. In contrast, Pot Limit Omaha requires that you should have two clubs in your hand to have a flush in this situation.

Popularity

Although the game is not available on every poker site or casino. But it is considered the 2nd best poker variation after Holdem.

Ease of Learning

If you know Texas Holdem, then this variation is relatively easy to learn. Since you get more hole cards compared to Holdem, the chances of making a good hand are higher.

Gameplay

The gameplay is similar to Texas Holdem. You just get 3 hole cards instead of 2 based on the variation.

Pros

Since you get more hole cards, it will be easier for you to make the best hand.

Cons

Although you get more cards than Texas Holdem, you can only use 2 holes to make the hand.

Omaha Hi-Lo

Omaha Hi-Lo is a popular variant of Omaha poker played with four-hole cards and five community cards. The objective of the game is to make the best possible high hand and/or the best possible low hand using two of your hole cards and three community cards.

In Omaha Hi-Lo, the pot is usually split between the player with the best high hand and the player with the best low hand, if there is a qualifying low hand. To qualify for the low hand, a player must have five unpaired cards of 8 or lower. Ace is considered low to make a low hand, which means the best possible low hand is A-2-3-4-5 (also known as a "wheel").

Popularity

Not as popular as Pot Limit Omaha, but people play in private tables.

Ease of Learning

The game is complex as you have to think about both the high and the low combinations of the hands.

Gameplay

The gameplay is similar to Omaha Hi, with a difference in pot. In Omaha Hi, the highest bet gets the entire pot, whereas in Omaha Hi-Lo, the pot gets divided into 2, one for the highest card and one for the lowest card.

Pros

It is easier to win since the pot gets divided. So, even if you have low cards you can still win.

Cons

You won’t be able to win high, as the pot gets divided.

All-In or Fold

It is one of the fast-paced poker variants. As the name suggests, you either go All-in or you quit. The game is available on GGPoker.

Popularity

The popularity is moderate. It is a popular option on GGPoker.

Ease of Learning

It is easy to pick up. Based on your hole cards you have to decide whether you are all-in or folding.

Gameplay

In every round, you have to immediately decide on whether to be All-in or Fold. There is no betting round.

Pros

The variant is easy to learn and the fastest to get over.

Cons

The game is risky, you can lose all your money in a single decision. There’s also no room for strategy.

PLO 6

Pot Limit Omaha 6 is again similar to Texas Hold’em, where each player is assigned six private cards, and they have to make the best hand rankings using two of their hole cards and three of their community cards. The rules again here are similar to that of Pot Limit Omaha this means the maximum bet allowed will vary according to the size. 

Popularity

Plo 6 comes under the niche category. The game is less common and less popular.

Ease of Learning

The basic rules remain the same, it’s only the number of hole cards that are dealt varies.  The variant becomes complex as you get 6-hole cards.

Gameplay

You are dealt 6-hole cards and you can only have 2-hole cards. With the help of those 2-hole cards and 5 community cards, you have to make the best 5-card hand.

Pros

The game adds another layer of strategy as you have 6 hole- cards instead of 2.

Cons

The game is quite complex to learn and can be volatile due to multiple hole cards.

7-Card Stud

In Seven-Card Stud, the players must first post an ante, which is a small forced bet that everyone at the table must pay. Each player is then dealt two cards face down and one card face up. The player with the lowest-ranked face-up card must start the first betting round with a forced bet known as the "bring-in". Betting then proceeds clockwise around the table.

Popularity

A 7-card stud used to be a popular poker variant. However, now it is only available on online platforms rather than casinos.

Ease of Learning

The game is easy to learn, however, you may have to learn complex strategies to win.

Gameplay

The game begins when you receive 2 cards face down and 1 face up. After the first betting round, you will again receive 3 cards face up and 1 face down. The game continues until the showdown where each player selects 5 of their 7 cards to make the best 5-card hand.

Pros

The game is suitable for beginners who want to learn the poker basics. Players also get more opportunities to bluff compared to Holdem.

Cons

The game is slower than Holdem. Also, since it involves more hole cards, deciding which to discard and which one to keep is challenging.

2-7 Triple Draw

Opposite to Holdem, you will win in a 2-7 triple draw if you make the lowest 5-card hand. It is another variant of poker, where each player gets 5 cards.

Popularity

The game is less popular. You may find it in some casinos and online platforms.

Ease of Learning

Since the game is different of what we have learnt so far, it’s quite difficult to unlearn and relearn the hand rankings and how to make low hands.

Gameplay

There are total 3 rounds of draw and 4 rounds of betting. After each betting round, you can discard the cards you don’t want, the number can be anywhere between 0-5. You will discard the cards and the dealer will draw the replacement card. After the final round of betting and discarding, everyone shows their hand and the player with the lowest hand ranking wins.

Pros

The game is enjoyable for players who enjoy strategic thinking.

Cons

Due to its lack of popularity, finding the game online can be challenging.

5-Card Draw

A classic poker game where players are dealt five cards and then have the opportunity to replace any number of them with new cards to make the best possible hand.

Popularity

The game is popular in online poker and home games. However, it is difficult to find it in casinos.

Ease of Learning

The rules are straightforward and the game is beginner-friendly. To win you will have to make the best 5-card hand.

Gameplay

The game begins with everyone getting 5 cards face down. After several betting rounds and draw phrases, the player with the best 5-card hand wins.

Pros

Beginner-friendly game. As a beginner, you can learn a lot about poker including hand rankings, betting rounds, and bluffing.

Cons

You will have to rely on your hole cards as community cards are less.

5-Card Omaha

5-card Omaha is another variation of Omaha, where you get 5-hole cards. The aim is to use at least 2 of these 5 cards and make the best 5-card hand with the help of community cards.

Popularity

Pot limit Omaha is more popular but this too is making its place in online platforms and some private tables.  

Ease of Learning

 If you know pot-limit Omaha, then this variation is a piece of cake. The rules remain the same, the only difference is the number of hole cards.

Gameplay

The game begins when you get 5-hole cards and after some betting rounds, you will make the best 5-card hand with 2-hole and 3 community cards.

Pros

Since the number of hole cards is more, the possibility of making a strong hand is higher.

Cons

 Despite getting 5-hole cards, you can only use 2 to make the 5-card hand.

Badugi

Badugi is a lowball poker game that is played with four cards instead of the traditional five. The objective of the game is to make the lowest possible hand using cards of different suits and ranks.

Badugi is played with a standard 52-card deck and can be played with 2 to 8 players. Each player is dealt four cards face down, and the game is played with a betting structure similar to other forms of poker.

Popularity

The game is less popular than other poker variants but it is gaining a niche in online platforms.

Ease of Learning

 The game is complex. You will have to learn to build Badugi hands.

Gameplay

 The game begins when each player gets 4 cards face down. After four betting rounds, the player with the lowest four-card wins.

Pros

The game comes with unique challenges, hence, it’s good for players who love strategic thinking.

Cons

 Due to its lack of popularity, it’s difficult to find the game, especially in live settings.

HORSE

H.O.R.S.E. is a mixed poker format that combines several variations into one. The name "H.O.R.S.E." is an acronym that stands for five different games:

  • Hold'em
  • Omaha Hi/Lo
  • Razz
  • Seven-Card Stud
  • Eight-or-Better (also known as Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo)

The game changes after a set number of hands, either after a certain amount of time or after a complete rotation around the table. This means that players must be skilled in all five games to be successful in the format.

Each game in H.O.R.S.E. has its own rules and strategies. This means you’ll have to be ready to adapt to each new game as it is introduced. H.O.R.S.E. is considered a true test of a player's all-around poker skills, as it requires proficiency in multiple disciplines of the game.

Popularity

The game is not popular in common settings, however, people prefer it in high-stakes tournaments.

Ease of Learning

If you are new to poker, then it’s quite difficult to learn as you will have to learn all 5 games at once. Even a professional has to learn to change their strategies according to the game.

Gameplay

Since it combines 5 games, each game is played in the acronym order and lasts for 1 round. There is no Pot Limit or No Limit, each game is played as a fixed limit.

Pros

It is a good way to test your game’s versatility. You also get to play 5 variants under 1 game.

Cons

The game can be difficult for beginners, as it is complex to learn all 5 games.

Razz

Razz is a variation of poker in which the goal is to make the lowest possible five-card hand using seven cards dealt to each player. Razz is played with a standard 52-card deck and can be played with 2 to 8 players.

The game begins with each player being dealt three cards, two of which are face down and one of which is face up. The player with the highest-ranked face-up card must make a forced bet, known as the "bring-in". Betting then proceeds clockwise around the table.

Popularity

It is less popular than Texas Holdem and Omaha.

Ease of Learning

The game is easy if you are familiar with 7-card studs. You will just have to make the lowest possible 5-card hand to win.

Gameplay

The game is similar to a 7-card stud, you will get 3 cards face down and 4 cards face up. After several betting rounds, the player with the lowest 5-card wins.

Pros

The game is suitable for beginners who want to learn the poker basics. Players also get more opportunities to bluff compared to Holdem.

Cons

Due to its lack of popularity, it’s difficult to find the game, especially in live settings.

Chinese Poker

Chinese poker is a beginner-friendly card game. Unlike other variants you don’t get community cards, instead you will get 13 cards and you have to make 2 five-card hands and 1 three-card hand.

The unique thing about this game is that the hands should be in a specific order. The first 5-card hand will have the highest cards, the next one will have lower than that and the final 3-card hand hands will have lowest ranking cards.

Popularity

The game is not hugely popular, but people do play it with friends.

Ease of Learning

You just have to learn the hand rankings and you are good to go.

Gameplay

The game begins with players agreeing with the point value. After that, each player gets 13 cards. They make 3 sets of hands. 2 5-card hands and one 3-card hand.

Pros

The game is easy to learn. You only have to learn the hand rankings.

Cons

After a point, it becomes monotonous as there is nothing much to do.

Short Deck

The Short deck is similar to Texas Holdem. You get 2 hole cards and with the help of community cards, you make the best 5-card hand. The only difference is that instead of a 52-card deck, we use a 36-card deck. We remove 2s and 5s from each suit.

Popularity

The game is not as popular as Holdem. But it is making its place in high-stakes games.

Ease of Learning

If you know Texas Holdem, then this is a piece of cake. 

Gameplay

Similar to Holdem, you will get 2 hole cards and with the help of community cards, you have to make the best 5-card hand possible. The game involves the same betting rounds and bets.

Pros

Since the number of cards is less, it becomes easy to make Full house, Flush, and even straight.

Cons

The game is not valuable on every online platform and casino.

Pineapple

Crazy Pineapple is a variation of the popular poker game Texas Hold'em. In Crazy Pineapple, each player gets three hole cards instead of the usual two in Texas Hold'em. The main difference between Crazy Pineapple and Texas Hold'em is the extra hole card and the requirement to discard one after the flop. This can make for some interesting strategic decisions and bigger pots since players have more opportunities to make strong hands.

Popularity

The game’s popularity is at a moderate level. People do play it with their friends.

Ease of Learning

 It is easy to learn if you are familiar with the Holdem. The basic rules remain the same; only the card discarding adds a nudge.

Gameplay

You will get 3 hole cards; after the Flop, you discard one out of three. The rest of the game remains similar to Holdem. You win by making the best 5-card hand.

Pros

The discarding part after the Flop adds a strategic depth to the game.

Cons

The game is slightly more complex than Texas Holdem.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many variations are there in poker?

There are hundreds of variations of poker. Such as Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi, Omaha Hi-Lo, 7-Card Stud,2-7 Triple Draw, 5-Card Draw, 5-Card Omaha, Badugi, HORSE, Razz, Chinese Poker, Short Deck, and Pineapple.

What is the most popular poker style?

Texas Holdem is the most popular poker style.

Which poker variant is best?

There is no “best” variant in poker. It all depends on which variant you enjoy playing the most.

Conclusion

Poker is a complex and dynamic game. It requires a combination of skill and strategy. Your decision-making abilities and understanding of the game will determine your success.

To become a successful poker player, you have to be patient, disciplined, and continuously strive to improve your skills. By studying the game, analysing your play, and staying focused on the long-term, you can increase your chances of winning and ultimately achieve your goals.

Remember, poker is not just about winning money but also about the thrill of the game and the challenge it presents. So whether you are a seasoned pro or just beginning, start playing on Adda52.com to enhance your poker skills.

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