Card games have been a part of human culture for centuries, with the roots of modern-day poker going back as far as the Renaissance – but our modern game has so many variations, it can be difficult to keep up.
Newbies to the game will undoubtedly recognise the gameplay of Hold’Em, it is the most popular way of playing poker games and especially in live casino surroundings thanks to popular culture and the phenomenon of the poker tournaments that have netted top players millions in winners’ purses over the last 50 years.
Before looking at the poker variations, it is important to understand that there are only three main types of poker, and each variation fits neatly into one of these pigeon-holes.
*Community Card: In this style of poker game, players have their own hidden cards, and a pool of shared cards to use to make the best hand. This type of game includes Hold’Em and Omaha.
*Stud: A stud game includes hidden cards and exposed cards. Other players can see your exposed cards but cannot use them to improve their own hands. Razz and Seven Card Stud are stud poker games.
*Draw: In this game, all cards are hidden from other players, and you can replace the cards in your hand. Five-Card Draw is the most popular (and simple) version of this game type.
Whether you are headed for a poker lounge or about to get started with an online poker site, getting to know the difference between popular variations will help you decide on the style of poker you want to play.
This is the number one game in most poker rooms, virtually and in real casinos. It is probably the easiest to learn because there are countless tutorials online, books on how to play, and different strategies that you can research through effective learning methods.
In Hold’Em, the game starts with every player placing an initial ‘blind’ bet, and then being dealt two cards. These are the hole cards and are hidden from the other players. Following this, the players have a round of betting, where they can choose to call, raise, or fold.
Three further cards are placed on the table, known as the flop and these are community cards. Another betting round follows, then the turn (another community card), then another round of betting before the final community card is placed (the river).
One last round of betting, then whoever is still in the game must reveal their hand in the showdown.
Mostly just known as Omaha, this is a variant of Hold’Em that involves a slightly different number of initial hole cards being dealt.
Following the betting structure of Hold’Em, after the initial blind the dealer will give players four cards that are hidden from other players. The community cards remain the same.
To make a winning hand, the player must use two cards from the hole and three cards from the ones that are face up in the middle.
Often, Omaha games are pot limited (unlike Hold’Em which is popularly played as no limit).
This is one of the earliest versions of poker, and before Hold’Em took off it was the most popular. It is easy to learn and is played in rounds. Each round gives more cards.
After an ante is placed (like a blind), players are dealt three cards. Two of these cards are face down, and one is face up. The face-down cards are not seen by the other players, but they can see another one, although that is only for the player in making their best hand.
The first betting round starts with the player who has the lowest visible card.
Each card that is dealt in the next three rounds is face-up, and a round of betting comes between, starting with the player who has the highest total of face-up cards.
The last card is played face down, with a final betting round before the showdown.
This is probably the easiest poker game to play, and the one that is most likely to happen if you have a poker game with friends or family at party events.
After a blind, the players are dealt five cards, and then a betting round follows where the players must decide whether they want to fold, call, or raise.
Players can then choose to swap out up to five of the cards that they have in their hand before another round of betting, and then the players that remain must reveal their hand in the showdown.
It might not be the most popular version of poker, but it is quite fun and easy to learn. Pineapple is like Hold’Em which means that if you know your way around the turn and the river you will be able to pick this up easily.
The main difference in Pineapple is that you will be dealt three-hole cards initially, and you will need to discard one before the first round of betting.
In some versions of Pineapple, you can keep the extra hole card until after the flop (Crazy Pineapple).
This might not be a version of poker that you will find in a brick-and-mortar casino, or even in an online poker site, but it is a great way to play with like-minded friends.
These are just a few of the poker variations that are available – with different betting limits, card values, and regional changes, you are sure to find your favourite.