Texas Hold‘em might be the most popular variation of poker out there, but it’s certainly not the only option. These days, there are many other poker variations that players can choose to play. Read on to learn more about the many different forms of poker, how to play them and the basic strategy.
This is currently the most popular variant of poker available. Whether you’re playing at a casino, a card room or on a website or app like poker at SlottyVegas, Texas Hold‘em is most likely going to be the main featured game with a huge selection of tables and stakes for players to choose from. Many players who’ve been playing poker since the early 2000s, whether they are amateur or pro, will most likely know No-Limit Texas Hold‘em the best. It’s certainly been the most popular and heavily televised of all the poker variants since 2000, and it’s easy for most people to play with simple hand rankings and rules to follow.
It’s an easy game to both learn and get better at. And, its sheer popularity means that there are several information sources that players can use including books, articles and videos to get strategic insights into the game and get to grips with the basics.
The second most popular variation of poker is Omaha Hi – the ‘hi’ refers to the highest hand being awarded the entire pot at showdown. It’s usually played as a pot-limit game. This game is pretty much exactly like Texas Hold‘em; however, there’s a difference – four cards instead of two are dealt to each player. Players must still try to make the best 5-card hard as is the case with Texas Hold‘em but should use two of their four cards and only three of the five community cards. Since players are dealt more cards at the beginning of each hand, making a good hand is much easier in this game.
If you know Texas Hold‘em, this variation of the game is very easy to learn as the two are extremely similar. And strategically speaking, Omaha Hi is a variation in which it’s easier to make a good hand; typically, the hands at showdown will be higher than those in Texas Hold‘em. And you’ll have more blockers – cards that you have in your hand meaning that your opponent can’t hold these cards in theirs.
The next most popular game variation is Omaha Hi-Low, which is often known also as Omaha 8 or Better. It is very similar to Omaha Hi, except that at showdown, the pot is equally divided between the highest-ranked 5-card poker and hand and the lowest. Different combinations of cards may be used in order to make both the high and low cards, although there are certain conditions that need to be met for the low half of the pot to be awarded. This is where the ‘8 or Better’ side of things becomes relevant; all five cards in the low hand should be ranked 8 or lower, and straights and flushes do not count against a hand in this variant.
Things are slightly more complicated in this game as players need to consider both high and low combinations of hands, rather than simply trying to make the highest-ranked hand. And, the specifications of what qualifies as a low hand and how these hands are ranked makes it more complicated than the other variants.
Seven Card Stud
Before Texas Hold‘em began to gain massive popularity, Stud poker was the most common variation of the game. However, it’s much different compared to the previously mentioned game variations which use hole and community cards in order for players to make the best hand. When playing stud, each player receives their own individual hand, some of which are face-down and hidden from players, while others are face-up for all the players to see.
Since the game is based around simply creating the best 5-card poker hand, it’s definitely one of the easiest variations of the game to learn. However, it can be difficult to master strategically because each player has their own separate hand with just some of the cards exposed; it’s important to develop the skill of understanding how to read your opponent’s potential hand strength and compare it with your own, in order to get good at this game. Overall, most players say that being dealt their own individual poker hand while being able to see four of your opponents’ seven cards during a hand is pretty fun.
Which of these poker variations is your favourite to play?