Top 10 Crazy & Fun Poker Games to Play
If you have been playing poker for a while, you have probably heard of all the most popular variations, such as Texas Hold’em, Omaha, or Seven Card Stud, but the truth is that there are many more poker games out there.
In fact, visiting most casinos in the world will give you a chance to play some fun poker games against the house, but these are gambling games where you can’t really win in the long run.
Finally, there is a number of unique poker games you can play for fun or for money with your friends, and they will make your home games infinitely more entertaining.
Instead of just playing NLH or PLO every week, learn some of these crazy poker games and try them out with your friends. I can guarantee you won’t be sorry.
I will teach you the basics of ten fun poker games that you can look into further and potentially add to your home game the next time you play to make your poker nights truly memorable.
#1 – Irish Poker
You have probably heard the expression “luck of the Irish” at some point, and you will definitely need plenty of it playing Irish Poker. If you’d like to give it a try, you may be able to find it at some UK poker sites.
This game is infinitely more fun than Texas Hold’em as it plays as a mix between NLH and PLO, with all players starting with four hole cards.
Once the preflop betting round is completed, the flop is dealt and another betting round ensues. Following this betting round, all players must discard two of their hole cards before the turn is dealt.
This is where this game becomes really fun, as there are decisions to be made. After all, you want to make sure the cards you discard won’t make you the nuts by the river.
Irish Poker tends to lead to many such moments where players are disappointed at having discarded certain cards that would have made powerful hands on the turn and river.
Irish Poker is one of the most fun poker games you can play with your home game crew and one that you can actually play in a very real poker game as it's not just a gimmick but quite a real poker game.
The variance in this game, much like in PLO, can be quite high, which is why playing it in a pot-limit format is generally recommended.
#2 – Estonian Twist
Talking about unique poker games, I could not avoid mentioning Estonian Twist, a game that’s played quite a bit in Europe, especially in home game environments.
Estonian Twist is another variation on the game of Texas Hold’em, but it includes a special twist to the rules, as the name suggests.
To start things off, all players are dealt three instead of two hole cards, which only they get to look at, as they are dealt face down.
Once the flop betting round is completed, each player must give one of their hole cards to the player on their left. After this, each player gets to discard one of their three cards.
The preflop betting round can give you some idea about the cards your opponents might or might not need, but tossing them a deuce or a trey will usually do the trick.
Generally speaking, Estonian Twist is incredibly fun as there will be some disappointments over the folded cards as well as some surprises when the card you gave your opponent ends up making them the nuts.
Of course, there are more rules to learn before you can play Estonian Twist, but the game is definitely one worth looking into before your next big poker night.
#3 – Wild Draw Poker
Five Card Draw is a popular poker variant that used to be played quite often back in the day and is still included in some WSOP events, such as the Mixed Draw Poker tournaments.
The big twist in Wild Draw Poker is that a single joker card is introduced into the deck, with this joker card serving as a wild card.
In many variations of Wild Draw Poker that have been played over the years, this wild card could often be used only to replace a missing card for a straight, flush, or a straight flush, or an ace.
However, you can actually decide on the rules of the game yourself and make the joker card be used as anything you like.
What’s even more, some twists of Wild Draw Poker allow for another card to be used as a wild card, with Deuces Wild being a popular variation played in some home games.
#4 – Pineapple Poker
Pineapple Poker is another one of those fun poker games that are derived from Texas Hold’em, and it can actually be played in a few different ways.
In classic Pineapple Poker, players are dealt three hole cards to start with but must discard one of the three cards before any betting is done.
Two other popular variations are Crazy Pineapple and Lazy Pineapple, with the time when cards are discarded being the biggest variation.
In a game of Crazy Pineapple, all players must discard one card after flop betting, while in Lazy Pineapple, the discarding is done after all action is completed and before the showdown.
Each Pineapple Poker variation is a bit different than the others and requires different strategic adjustments.
The one thing all three Pineapple Poker variants share is the fact they are incredibly fun, as they allow players to play many more hands than they could in Texas Hold’em Poker.
The next time you come together for a home game, suggest this game to your friends, as it is one that’s extremely easy for Hold’em players to learn.
#5 – Badugi
Draw poker games can be incredibly fun but also quite frustrating, as you don't get to see any of the cards your opponents are working with.
Badugi is one such game, where each player is dealt four cards, and the object of the game is to collect the four lowest cards possible, all of different suits.
Of course, getting such a hand is not easy, which is why a drawing possibility is a part of the game to allow players to improve on their starting hands.
Even still, you won’t be making a Badugi every hand, which means there will be a ton of bluffing involved and plenty of opportunity to win the pot without the best hand.
Badugi is now a part of quite a few mixed games events at the World Series and is one of the more popular “novelty” poker games out there, making it one of those unique poker games that can actually come in handy even in casino games, not only in home games.
#6 – Anaconda
Anaconda is one of those fun poker games that are not played too often but certainly deserve quite a bit of recognition for their innovation.
The game is played with each player getting dealt seven cards, face down, which is clearly derived from Seven Card Stud at the basic level.
After these cards are dealt, players get one betting round before they are each forced to pass three cards to their neighbor.
Another betting round is followed by passing two more cards, and then another betting round and another round of passing a single card to your neighbors.
Finally, players will choose the five cards to showdown, expose them one by one, and there will be a betting round between each card getting exposed.
As you can tell, there is a lot that goes into a hand of Anaconda, and you will take a while to really get the hang of this exciting poker variant.
However, Anaconda can actually be one of the very best games to spice up the action and create a really silly home game, which is why I strongly recommend you and your friends try this one at least once.
#7 – Cincinnati
Another poker game named after a place in the US, Cincinnati, probably originated in this historic town and has been played across America for a very long time.
What makes this one of the most unique poker versions is that players can use any combination of their five hole cards and five community cards to make up their poker hand. Unlike Omaha or Omaha 5, you will not have to use only two hole cards to make your hand,.
Getting dealt trips or quads in your hand actually makes for an extremely strong holding.
If you want to try Cincinnati in your home game, it will probably be one of the most exciting sessions you have ever played but be prepared for some huge pots and some very big poker hands.
Straight flushes and quads are not all that uncommon in Cincinnati, so you should not be shocked if your full house is not good by the time the last community card is exposed.
#8 – Red River Hold’em
Of all the fun poker games you can add to your weekly game, this one probably resembles the classic game of Texas Hold’em the most.
In fact, the game will play 100% as Texas Hold’em all the way down to the river, which is where something unique happens.
If the river card is black, a single round of betting will happen before the showdown, just like in regular Hold’em.
However, if the river card is red, another river card will be dealt after it. Furthermore, if this card is also red, another card will be dealt after it.
With a high chance of more than one card being dealt after the river, going for flushes is extremely profitable, as you may be able to see multiple cards to complete your draw.
If your game is filled with players who love to chase their draws, suggest playing Red River Hold’em, and you will see just how many players will jump at the opportunity to play it.
#9 – Vanunu
Unlike the other unique poker games I have talked about here, Vanunu is actually quite complicated to play and probably not an ideal game for the chill surrounding of a home poker game.
However, if your crew is a bit more hardcore and looking for a game to really put their brains to the test, Vanunu could be the one.
Daniel Negreanu popularized this poker game by often talking about playing it growing up in Canada, and it’s a game that has a fanbase worldwide.
Each player is dealt seven down cards in Vanunu to start with. All cards are exposed one at a time until five cards in each hand are exposed. A betting round is played between each exposed card.
Once all five cards are exposed, players get to draw a card by paying a predetermined amount and throwing one of their cards back into the deck.
The amount doubles if you want the new card to be dealt to your face down, and you can then make further bets with your new hand.
There are quite a few rules to Vanunu, so I only recommend playing this game if everyone at the table is actually interested in learning a new poker variant.
#10 – Open Face Chinese
To close out my list of fun poker games you can play with your friends, I will bring up Open Face Chinese, the favorite of poker pros such as Shaun Deeb.
This game is not really a poker game in a traditional sense. There is no betting involved, and instead, there is a points system in place.
Players are dealt 13 cards each, and they try to make up the best possible combinations made up of those cards, with everyone seeing the cards in play.
Open Face Chinese is more a game of math and calculations, and you will have to make sure that each one of your hands is stronger than the one below it, or your entire hand will become illegal.
Learning the rules and the points system of OFC can be a bit overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will become a great game for the entire crew.
The great thing about Open Face Chinese is that it works best for 3-4 players, which means you won’t need to put together a large group each time you want to play it.