More than 100 million people play poker worldwide and with good reason – it’s an incredibly diverse card game with enough variants to keep any type of gambler happy. Below we’ve listed our favourite versions of poker, from Texas hold'em to seven-card stud.
Texas hold‘em is the most popular poker variant of the modern era, with millions of players and countless pros. It’s a trillion dollar industry across the globe, has many devoted channels, and is favoured by fans of both land and online casinos.
Texas hold‘em is a community poker game. This means that some of the cards are shared by all the players, who use them to make the best possible five-card hand (using their own cards as well as the community ones).
Each player is dealt two cards face-down before three cards are dealt face-up in the middle of the table. Betting action begins to the left of the dealer and players can check, bet, call or fold. A maximum of two more face-up cards are dealt at the end of the betting cycle – the ‘turn’ and the ‘river.’ The winner is the player with the best hand, the person who is able to get the other gamblers to fold, or there can be a split pot in event of a tie.
If you’ve mastered Texas hold'em and want to try something new, then five-card draw may be the variant for you – it’s known as being one of the simplest poker games, and it’s based more on fun than dogged competitiveness. You can find five-card draw in many of the best online casinos, as it is the basis for video poker.
Part of the draw family of poker, where players are dealt a complete hand prior to the start of the first round of betting, five-card draw sees players dealt five cards face-down. Once players have their five cards, they can replace up to three of their five cards by drawing additional ones from the deck. You win at five-card draw by getting the highest possible five-card hand.
One of the most widely played games in the stud poker series, razz has been played by gamblers since the beginning of the 20th century – shortly after the advent of the 52 card deck.
Like seven-card stud, razz uses a combination of seven face-up and face-down cards. Where razz differs from the more popular variant of stud is that players win by making the lowest possible hand. This means that the best hand you can make is a 'wheel' (ace-2-3-4-5).
Once upon a time, seven-card stud was the most popular poker variant in homes and casinos across the Western world. Today, seven-card stud retains a lot of its support and that’s down to the disciplined and patient nature of the game.
Part of the stud family of poker (where players get a mixture of face-up and face-down cards), people playing seven-card are dealt a max total of seven cards and must make the best five-card hand from them.
2-7 Triple Draw
2-7 Triple Draw is ideal for experienced poker fans who are looking for a game to test their skills. Like razz, the aim of the game in this variant of poker is to make the lowest five-card hand – this comes over the course of four rounds of betting.
In the first round, you are dealt five cards and are then given the option to ‘stand pat’ (keep your cards) or draw (replace a maximum of five and a minimum of zero cards) – each player can draw up to three times. There are three ways of determining the ranking of the hands for 2-7 Triple Draw – deuce-to-seven low, ace-to-six low, and ace-to-five low. The video below from poker legend Daniel Negreanu explains how to play 2-7 Triple Draw in more detail.
Possibly the second most popular community poker variant (after Texas hold'em), Omaha is adored by players with great memories and a good grasp of odds – Omaha pros are sometimes referred to as ‘elephants’ because they’re grumpy and never forget.
In Omaha, you are dealt four cards face-down and a maximum of five community cards. Like Texas hold'em, you must make the best five-card hand using two of your own cards and three from the board.
Omaha has been a feature of casinos since being introduced to the Las Vegas Golden Nugget Casino by poker pro, Robert Turner. There are a number of different versions of Omaha, with pot-limit and hi-lo being the two most popular.
Two for the price of one, High/Low Chicago is a version of stud poker that you win by either putting together the highest or the lowest hand made from a maximum of seven dealt cards.
If you’re playing Chicago High, half of the pot is paid out to the player with the best hand, with the remaining 50% going to the person with the highest spade hole card. If you’re playing Chicago Low, the player with the top hand takes half the pot, with rest going to the gambler with the lowest spade for a hole card.
Follow The Queen
A stud poker game that follows the basic principles of seven-card stud, Follow The Queen differs from its parent game by having wild cards – cards that players can use to represent a card they need to complete a hand.
The Queen is always a wild card, but various other cards can become wild and this means that a flip of a card can change the strength of players hands from strong to weak. While it can take work to keep up with Follow The Queen, the fluid nature of the game makes it one of the most diverse and fun variants of poker.
Short Deck Poker
Also known as six-plus hold 'em, short deck poker is becoming increasingly popular among gamblers. It adopts the same rules as Texas hold 'em, but with one important distinction – every card from 2 through to 5 are taken out of the deck.
A community poker variant of poker, short deck sees players dealt two face-down cards and a maximum of five face-up cards – you must then make the best five-card hand from these. With a total of 16 cards removed from the deck, the hand strengths in short deck poker differ to those in Texas hold 'em. Check out this article on short deck poker before you play the game!
HORSE is a favourite of the high-roller tables in land casinos because it combines five different variations of poker:
H: Texas hold'em
O: Omaha hi-lo
S: seven-card stud
E: seven-card stud eight or better (AKA stud hi-lo)
The variation changes from orbit to orbit, moving from H through to E. While HORSE is one of the most engaging types of poker (due to its combination of different games) it does mean that you have to know a lot of rules!
Poker is one of the most popular card games around and much of that is due to the range of games you can play. While the ten we’ve mentioned remain our top variants, there are plenty more types of poker out there. So try these ten, then do a little research and see if you find a new favourite!