Poker is one of the most popular but also one of the oldest gambling games, which is why over the years many poker variants have appeared. The differences between the variants mainly concern the ways of betting, the number of cards held or the possible combinations.
Here we present the main poker variants, their rules and their specificities so that you can find out which one suits you best.
Texas Hold’em is the most popular poker variant, and the one that comes to mind when people talk about the game of poker. It is also the one that is used in the majority of tournaments.
The objective of Texas Hold’em is to make the best 5-card combination with the 5 community cards and 2 personal cards. The game can be played with as few as 2 players (heads-up) and as many as 10 players (full ring) on one table.
At the beginning of the game each player receives 2 cards and there are 5 community cards on the board face down. The 2 players to the left of the dealer must pay the small and big blinds for the game to start. Then each player will bet clockwise. The first 3 cards called the flop are then turned over and the players bet on this round. Then the 4th card (the turn) and the 5th card (the river) are revealed, the players must then form the strongest combination with the 7 cards: the 2 personal cards and the 5 from the board.
Find in this very complete article the Texas Hold’em poker rules.
It is possible to play Texas Hold’em poker in limit or Pot Limit, which means that the raises are limited according to the amount of the pot.
Poker Variants : Omaha
The Omaha poker variant is a derivative of Texas Hold’em except that it is played in a more aggressive mode. It is characterized by the speed of the game as well as the large hands, in an Omaha game the position of the player on the table is of strategic importance.
The game is played with either 6, 9 or 10 players on one table. Players are dealt 4 cards face down at the beginning of the game, but they only have to use 2 of them to form their best combination. Just like Texas Hold’em, there are 5 common cards on the board (flop, turn, river) and the betting and raising rounds take place in the same way.
To start the game, each player is dealt four cards face down, as in the Texas variant the flop, turn and river are revealed. The objective of classic Omaha or high poker is to form the strongest combination.
There is a variant of Omaha called Hi Lo (High-Low), where players can win the pot with the highest and lowest hand. While in the Hi variant, the player who wins the best hand wins the pot, in Omaha Hi Lo, the player who wins the pot with the lowest combination wins. In the case of 2 different players then the pot is split between the 2 winners.
To understand the terms used in poker, we recommend reading our article on poker vocabulary.
Stud is derived from Texas Hold’em and is played with 7 cards and the ace is considered the best card in this poker variant. In stud, you will have hole cards and face cards for each player but there are no community cards. At the beginning of the game, players are dealt two hole cards (face down) and one face up card (face up).
There are no blinds, but a “bring in”, which means that the player with the highest face up card must make the first bet. If two players have a high card of the same value, then the choice of the payer will be made with the suit in this order: diamonds, hearts, spades, clubs. So if two players have a 2 of diamonds and a 2 of spades respectively, then the spade will be the lowest card.
To call the round, players must then bet double the bring-in, starting on the right of the paying player. Stud is played in a “limit” mode, which means that the amount of bets and raises remain fixed, so it is not possible to outbid from one hand to the next.
Each player pays an ante before each hand, and at each new round, an open card is dealt except for the last hand, when a face-down card is dealt. In each round, the player with the lowest visible suit speaks first. In the last round of betting, the hands are knocked down and the player with the lowest suit wins the hand.
There is a variant of stud called 5-card stud, which is played with one open and one hole card at the start, and then 3 open cards, for a total of four open cards and one hole card. This makes it more difficult to bluff, but also more difficult to make combinations since there are fewer cards.
Stud poker is riskier than other poker variants because it is easier to ruin your starting hand by getting another card. Therefore it is advisable to play starting hands without changing cards when they have a high potential. Also, although the game is very similar to Texas Hold’em, the main difference is that players have much more information about the cards as they are open.
If you want to improve and start making real money with poker we recommend taking poker coaching sessions.
Poker Variants : Razz
Razz is a poker variant derived from Stud 7 where players play with 7 cards. The objective is to make the lowest possible combination, so suits or flushes are not considered and the best combination is As-2-3-4-5.
In Razz, the ace is considered the lowest card.
The number of players is limited to 5 and the starting bet is set according to the game. There are no blinds, no ante, but there is a bring-in which is paid by the player with the highest open card.
Players are initially dealt 2 hole cards (face down) and 1 face up card, then 3 face up cards and 1 hole card. The lowest combination must be made with 5 of the 7 cards. It is possible to discard 2 of the 7 cards, and the folded hands are returned to the deck and can be dealt again.
To determine which of the two low hands wins the round, the highest card of each hand is compared. The one with the lowest high card is then defined as the winner. If both players have the same high card then the second high card is compared.
Closed or Draw Poker
The principle of Closed or Draw Poker is that all cards are hidden, so it is the ideal poker variant for bluffing enthusiasts.
Players are dealt 5 hole cards each and then the first round of betting takes place, which can be played with or without the blinds. After the betting round, players can choose to swap cards from their hand, up to a maximum of 3, in an attempt to form the strongest possible combination. In the event that the player keeps his cards without swapping them then he says “served” and keeps his original hand. There is then a final round of betting and the cards are shown (showdown) to determine the winner.
Closed poker can be played with either antes or blinds as in Hold’em poker.
This poker variant is the easiest to play as it consists of only two betting rounds, one before and one after the cards are exchanged.
Poker Variants : Royal
One of the newest poker variants, royal poker is now increasingly played in physical and online casinos. If you like to play with high value cards, then this is the game for you.
Indeed, the particularity of Royal is that it is played only with cards from 10 to Ace, all cards below are eliminated from the game. The game is therefore played with 20 cards, which is why it can only be played by a maximum of 6 players.
The game is played in exactly the same way as Texas Hold’em, with each player being dealt 2 cards and 5 community cards, the aim always being to form the highest combination. The advantage of Royal Poker is that it is played with a very aggressive poker playing styles, especially as straights occur often, while flushes and full houses are more rare.