Poker Variations

by Mario Alfonsi  |  Published on May 23, 2017  |  Updated on May 23, 2017

Most poker players have no idea how many poker variations there are in the world. Due to the popularity of theWorld Series of Poker, most of us at least have some idea what Texas Holdem is. Texas Hold’em is at current the most popular poker game in the world. With that in mind, we’ll start with the many variations of Texas games

Texas Holdem Poker Variations – Tournament Style

Many poker players first saw Texas Holdem played tournament style, and then, many went on to play in a tournament themselves. The game is an endless source of raging emotions and excitement for players, and for spectators.In a Texas Holdem Tournament players each pay a standard flat fee to pit their poker skills against other pokerplayers. This is a great way to get into the game while still limiting your risk. Some play to win, but just as many Texas Holdem tournament players play for the social aspect of the game. The general consensus is $50 to play a game for a few hours, be entertained, exercise your brain and have an overall good time isn’t a half bad price.Texas Holdem Poker Variations – The Standard Holdem TournamentThere are a few tournament variations of the game as well. The the normal Texas Holdem tournament involves people buying in, and then playing until they run out of chips. When one player has all of the chips, that player wins 1st place, however in most cases, several players actually win money.There are several variations of Holdem Tournaments including bounty tournament events, where players win money whenever they knock other players, or specific players out of the tournament, deep stack tournaments where players start with a lot of chips, and the blinds generally go up pretty slowly, and turbo tournaments where players begin shortstacked and the blinds go up pretty rapidly.Texas Holdem Variations – The Rebuy Tournament A rebuy tournament works a lot like the above tournament, except, when you bust out during the earlier stages of the event, you can buy your way back in. Most of these types of events also allow new player entries until about the 5th blind round or so, when rebuys end. Rebuy tournaments are basically a way to build bigger tournament prize pools. They are general action filled games, with lots of players doing crazy things with crazy hands.Rush Poker – A Full Tilt Poker VariationFull Tilt Poker introduced the next best thing since crack cocaine as far as the poker world was concerned with the introduction of Rush Poker, which they promptly patented and trademarked. In a Rush poker game, you’re moved to a new seat, at a new table, and given a hand, the very second you finish the last hand. So, if you’re using the fold button, you could actually have played 2 more hands in the time it takes for your turn to get around to you in the first hand. It’s surprising actually that we haven’t seen more poker sites develop similar action games due to the popularity of this one.

More Community Poker Variations

Community poker is actually a variation of Stud Poker. In community poker games though the common element is that players are dealt their own face-down cards which only they can see, and then the dealer will deal cards onto center of the table that will be shared with the entire table. Every player at the table either may or must use these community cards to come up with the best five-card hand in the game.Some of the most famous community poker games include: Texas Hold’em as we discussed above, Omaha, and Crazy Pineapple.Omaha is another of the more commonly played community poker variations. Omaha poker can be played with as many as ten players, and as few as two. In the beginning of the game, each player is dealt four ‘pocket’ cards face down. Each player bets on the possible value of their hand with only the information they garnered from those 4 cards. Then the dealer burns a card, which basically just means he skips it. It’s placed on the table face down, and won’t be used at all this game. Then 3 cards are dealt onto the flop.Again players make bets based on the current perceived value of their hands. Here’s the thing though, in Holdem, the players MUST use 2 cards from their hand, and three community cards, which are the cards on the table. There are still two more community cards to come, but players will already be considering at this point what their options are with either of the sets of two cards in their hands.Now, just like in Holdem, the dealer burns another card, and deals a card called the turn card onto the table. The players take that card into consideration and bet again, and then the dealer burns a last card and deals a last card, the river card. Players bet, and then show their cards if there are still 2 or more players in the hand at this point.Crazy Pineapple is another one of the community poker Variations, and due to it’s popularity, and the sheer fun players have when playing it, there are actually quite a few variations of this game as well. At any rate, players are dealt three cards, instead of two like in Holdem Games, and rather than the 4 players are dealt in Omaha games.Just like in Holdem and Omaha, players make their bets on the possible value of their hands. The twist however comes during the second round of this game, where each player will discard a card, and then the betting round begins. The rest of this game is finished out just the same as a round of Holdem. With a burn card, a turn card, a bet, a burn, a river, a betting round and a showdown. In another pineapple variation, players discard before the flop instead of after the flop. This changes a lot of things, do you go for suited cards, connected, or strong aces? What would you throw away?

Stud Poker Variants

Many of us have also at least heard of 5 card draw and 5 card stud, largely because of gold rush days, and fun stories to do with hands like Aces over eights, the so-called dead mans hand. Those games are called stud poker games. Years before Texas Holdem took the world by storm, five card stud was the most popular variation of poker.In this classic poker variation, each stud poker player is dealt cards which can be dealt either all face-down, or a mix of face-up and face-down with betting rounds to follow.Some of the most famous stud poker variations are five-card and seven-card stud poker. Less popular stud variations are Razz, Mexican stud, Mississippi stud, Eight-or-better high-low-stud, Blind Stud and Six Card Stud.Unlike draw poker, it is not difficult to find stud poker games at the top online poker rooms. At the very least you will find Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo. In fact, stud poker was the most popular card game prior to Texas Hold’em gaining in popularity in recent times.Some land-based casino’s even hold stud games once a week or so. There aren’t to many stud poker tournaments in existence anymore though.Some of the more popular varieties of stud poker include:

  • 5 Card Stud
  • Caribbean stud
  • Eight-or-better high-low stud
  • High-low stud
  • Mexican stud
  • Mississippi stud
  • Razz (and London lowball)
  • Six-card stud

Whether you’re playing a community card game, like Texas Holdem, or a stud poker game, like 8 or Better High Low stud, or a draw poker game, all of these variations of poker follow the same poker hand ranking hierarchy.

Draw Poker

Draw poker is probably one of the most fun variations of poker, but, it’s harder to play with full poker tables, simply because there aren’t enough cards in a deck to finish a 10 handed game. So it’s not seen in many card rooms or on online poker sites. The game is still largely played in households worldwide though.In a draw type poker game players are dealt five face-down cards before any betting takes place, however, an ante bet is pretty common, ante’s can range from a penny, to hundreds of dollars, since this is a home game we’re talking about, the skies the limit!The player to the left of the dealer starts the betting, and can choose to raise, call, or fold. The game can also be played as a blinds game, in such a case there’d be a big and small blind, and then the initial bet would be made by the player after the big blind. The action continues clockwise to each player until the betting round is completed. After the first round of betting, there is a draw and each player can throw away asmany unwanted cards as they like and draw new ones from the deck.The discarding of cards continues clockwise until every player has selected new cards. After the first draw, the second round of betting takes place, and the action starts with the player to the left of the dealer button. After the second betting round, showdown takes place, and the best 5-card poker hand wins the pot.Some of the most famous draw poker games include:

  • Anaconda
  • California
  • Five Card draw
  • Gardena jackpots (Also known as Jacks to Open)
  • lowball
  • Padooki
  • Q-ball
  • Shotgun
  • Spit in the Ocean