If variety is the spice of life, then poker is the game. After all, there are many types of poker games, making the pastime exciting, dynamic and truly thrilling in all its incarnations. Best of all, once you understand the basic rules of poker, you can play practically any of the poker variations from 7-Card Stud, to H.O.R.S.E to the ever-popular Texas Hold’em.
Of course, when your new to the world of poker, the sheer quantity of the types of poker games can seem overwhelming and the prospect of spending what little free time you have mastering a myriad of forms is a little underwhelming. Well, here’s the good news: we’ll make it easy for you by making the learning process easy on you.
Get a feel for the various types of poker in ten minutes or less with our simple and effective introductions. We start you off with the wildly popular Texas Hold’em as our foundation, and then branch out from there using what we’ve learned about Hold’em to understand the other types of poker. Our commitment to you: the basics about the most common types of poker in 5 sentences or less. Hold on to your hats and get ready to get stackin’!
Types of Poker Games
By far the most widely played and wildly popular of the different types of poker games. Create your best 5 card hand using a combination of two hole cards (for your eyes only) and community cards (for everyone to use).
7 Card Stud
This poker variation used to be the main draw in the USA, and while the official top-dog title now belongs to Texas Hold'em, 7 Card Stud remains one of the most played and enjoyed types of poker games. 7 Card Stud is played with between 2-8 players. Each player receives 7 cards, 3 of which are closed and 4 open. As with Texas Hold'em, your goal is to make the best 5-card hand using the cards you've been dealt; unlike Texas Hold'em, ALL players must ante a token amount to be dealt into the hand - not just the blinds.
7 Card Stud Hi-Lo
Also known as Stud 8 or Better, this hi-lo variation of 7 Card Stud rewards the highest and lowest hand equally with a split pot (highest possible 5 card hand beginning with 8 or better, and lowest possible 5 card hand beginning at 8 or lower). Same rules apply as with standard 7 Card Stud, with the notable exceptions that this hi-lo version of the game does not allow for bets to be doubled on the 4th card dealt to each player when a pair is present and straights and flushes do not count against a hand.
Basic Omaha (also known as Omaha High) is very much like Texas Hold'em insofar as it is a community card game that determines the winner by who has the best 5 card hand. It stands distinct from Hold'em in that each player is dealt 4 hole cards rather than 2. One more notable distinction: in Omaha, the players must make the best 5 card hand using 2 of their hole cards and 3 of the 5 community cards.
Again, look to basic Omaha for the general premise and then shake things up by making it a split pot came that rewards both the highest and lowest ranking hands.
5 Card Stud
When it comes to types of poker games, 5 Card Stud is generally considered to be the oldest. Over the course of its illustrious life, it has enjoyed much play and popularity thanks to movies like ‘The Cincinnati Kid’. In this stud variation each player is dealt 1 hole card and 1 up-card, then, after a round of betting, three more open cards to any players who have decided to stay in the hand, peppered with a round of betting following the deal of each card. In the end, every player who is still in the action has 5 cards; 4 of which are face up and 1 closed (i.e. face down). Players have to use ALL their 5 cards to try to make the best hand at showdown.
5 Card Draw
There are many types of poker games that use the basic draw rules, so we are going to illustrate the fundamentals using the most popular version - namely, 5 Card Draw. The game is usually played with 2 to 6 players (it can be played with 7 or 8, but the possibility of cards running out during the draw increases so it is best kept to 6 ideally, or less), and like Hold’em, the winner is determined by whoever has the best 5 card hand – or whoever is left standing in the event a player manages to push everyone out before showdown. Every player puts a nominal ante in the pot (usually the equivalent of the minimum bet) and then they are dealt cards facedown and clockwise until everyone has 5 in total. A betting round commences and whoever is left in the game (i.e. active players) may choose to discard up to 3 cards and be dealt replacements in hopes of getting a better hand. Another round of betting ensues, and then whoever is left in the game (if anyone) moves to showdown.
This poker variation is much like 7 Card Stud, except that the lowest hand is the best hand in Razz. Your aces are your very lowest card, making the ultimate hand A-2-3-4-5 (also known as 'the wheel'). Your next best ranking hand (i.e. lowest hand) would be A-2-3-4-6, then A-2-3-4-7, etc. As with 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo, flushes and straights do not influence the strength of a hand, but unlike 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo, the ‘8 or better’ rule does not apply. Best 5 card combo wins!
A combo of all your favourite types of poker games! H.O.R.S.E (standing for Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, Razz, 7 Card Stud and 7 Card Stud 'Eight' or Better, respectively). Each time the dealer button makes a full orbit of the table, the poker variation changes. In other words, you get to taste test a little bit of several types of poker games in one sitting. It’s a smorgasbord of poker fun!
Crazy Pineapple Poker
This poker variation is almost exactly the same as Texas Hold'em, except that in Crazy Pineapple players are dealt 3 hole cards instead of 2. There are still 5 streets of action, and the best 5 card hand still wins, so players are required to give up one of their cards after the flop.
Don’t shy away from trying out a few different types of poker games. Variation and experience will only serve to boost your confidence at the tables, and that’s your real money maker – not your cards, your confidence.