Different Poker Games
Without a doubt, Texas No-Limit Holdem is the most popular poker form in the world. We already how to play Texas Holdem poker and rules for this variation, but there are many different poker games that can give you a lot of fun, excitement and challenges so it is worth checking it out.
Obviously, apart from having fun and relaxing after your serious session, you will have a chance to improve your overall strategy and approach to the game by learning other formats, and that is why I explain rules of poker games that are also popular in different regions of the world.
Omaha Poker Rules
Omaha is a community card game similar to Texas Hold’em in many ways but there are several important differences of Omaha poker rules you need to know about before you take on what is certainly the second most popular poker variation out there. The first and the most obvious difference of poker rules is that you’re dealt four cards instead of just two you get in Hold’em. Hand rankings are still the same and so is the action, i.e. there is a small blind and the big blind, and the action begins with the first player left to the big blind.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that most Omaha games are played with pot limit rules, i.e. the biggest amount you can bet on any street is the size of the pot. Occasionally, you’ll also find No Limit Omaha tables, where betting rules are the same as in Texas Hold’em but these are quite infrequent.
We’ve mentioned that you get dealt four cards in Omaha. However, you can only use two (and two only) cards to make your hand on the flop, turn, or river. This is often confusing for novice players but what it means is that you can only make a five card hand using two cards from your hand. For example, on a board containing four spades in Omaha, you don’t have a flush if you only have an Ace of spades. Likewise, if the board is all spades, you don’t have the flush unless you have two spade cards in your hand.
On the showdown, the best five-card hand wins, using the standard poker hands rankings system, that is used in Hold’em and many other poker forms.
Omaha Hi-Lo Poker Rules
Omaha Hi-Lo is a variation of the main Omaha game. The game is played in the same fashion as traditional Omaha except for one important aspect. When it is time to showdown hands, it is possible for the pot to be split between the best high (hi) and the best low (lo) hand. The best high hand is determined the same way as in standard Omaha, sometimes also referred to as Omaha Hi for the distinction sake.
When it comes to low hands, the ranking system is probably familiar to mixed games’ players but there is nothing to worry about if you’re new to this concept as it is pretty simple. In order to have the low hand, you need five different cards ranking between Ace and Eight, i.e. A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. It is important to keep in mind that all five cards need to be different, i.e. if you have five low cards but one of them is paired up, you don’t have a qualifying low hand.
When it comes to forming low hands, rules are the same as for high hands, i.e. you must use two and only two cards from your hand and three community cards. In the event there are more than one low hands at the showdown, the one with the lowest card wins. For example, A, 5, 6, 7, 8 beats 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Straights and flushes don’t count against the player in Omaha Hi-Lo.
If it happens that there is no low hand at the showdown then the high hand will win the entire pot, in which case player is said to have scooped. It is also possible for the same player to have the best high and the best low hand, in which case they’ll also win the entire pot.
One final thing to keep in mind about Omaha Hi-Lo is that you can use the combination of any two cards to make your hands, so you can use two completely different cards for your high and low hands or you can use one or two of the same cards to make both hands. All combinations are allowed as long as you use two cards from your hand and three community cards. This makes the game somehow difficult to master, so make sure to understand pot equity for various situations not to leave money at the table.
This could be tricky at the beginning, so make sure to learn all rules off poker Hi-Lo format before trying it out.
7 Card Stud Poker Rules
7 card stud used to be one of the most popular poker variations before Hold’em and Omaha emerged onto the scene. It is also by far the most popular form of stud variations. Games belonging to this group are significantly different from these two modern variations because they feature no community cards whatsoever. Instead, players need to make best hands with the cards they’re dealt individually making 7-card stud poker rules a bit different from the rest.
The goal is to make the best five card hand from the seven received cards. The game uses the standard poker hand rankings for high poker variations.
7 card stud is usually played in the limit format, which means that betting is limited and your bet sizes are fixed on each particular street and there are two The hand of 7 Card Stud begins with all players posting the ante. Then, everyone receives three cards, two of them face down and the last one face up for everyone to see.
The player showing the lowest card according to the standard card rankings (2 being the lowest and Ace being the highest) is the one to start the action. If two players have the same lowest card value, the one with the lower suit will act first. Suits are ranked, from the lowest to the highest, as clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades (the easiest way to remember this is simply memorizing they go in alphabetical order, C, D, H, S). The action then continues clockwise until all players have acted.
Then the next card is dealt face up and the next betting round begins. On this and all subsequent streets, the best hand showing will initiate the action, be it the highest card, a pair, etc. After betting is finished, the fifth and sixth cards are dealt face up (with a round of betting in between as well). Finally, the seventh card (7th street) is dealt, and the final round of betting ensues.
In the end, if there are two or more players still active in the hand, they’ll turn over their hands and the best hand will win the entire pot.
Betting Rules in 7 Card Stud
The biggest thing that could confuse players new to 7 card stud poker rules is the betting. The game has a fixed betting structure, with the lower and higher limit, also often referred to as the small and big bet. The ante is usually set at ¼ of the lower limit although this can vary, while the big bet is usually double the amount of the small bet.
Once the action starts, the player with the lowest card has an option to do one of the following:
- Pay the bring-in (a fraction of the lower bet)
- Complete (pay the full amount of the lower bet)
The player to the left of the bring-in is the next to act and they can choose to fold, call the bet in front of them (match the amount) or raise. If the first player has just posted a bring-in, the first raise would be the amount of the small bet. In a $1/$2 Stud game, this would be $1. If the first player completed, then the raise would be double the amount of the small bet, i.e. $2. The next raise would be to $3, i.e. not doubling the previous raise but rather adding an extra small bet, etc.
The action continues around the table and each player is given the same options (fold, call, or raise). However, in 7 card stud, the number of raises per round is usually limited to three, so once there are three raises, players yet to act can only fold or call. The maximum raise rule is usually waived in heads-up pots.
Once players get to the fifth street, i.e. the fifth card is dealt, the big bet comes into play. At this point, the upper limit becomes the minimum bet. In the example we used, the minimum bet would now become $2, the first raise would be to $4, then to $6, etc. As already mentioned, the action begins with the strongest hand showing and if there is a tie here, suits are used to determine who goes first.
There is one more thing to remember about betting in 7 card stud. If a player is showing a pair on the fourth street, although the small bet is in play, they’re allowed to open betting with the big bet. So, a player showing any pair at this point can start the action by betting $2 instead of $1, and the action continues the same as if a big bet round was in play.
5 Card Draw Poker Rules
5 card draw is another poker variation that used to be popular a while ago but it is hardly played in casinos these days. However, there are still some online poker sites spreading the game so knowing the poker rules can be very handy.
First of all, as the name suggests, 5 card draw is a draw form of poker, so there are no community cards and the process of dealing cards differs from stud games. Hand rankings for high games still apply, so best hands range from a high card to a royal flush. The game is sometimes played with blinds, just like Hold’em, although usually in the pot limit variation, while sometimes it is played with antes and follows a more stud-like pattern.
The game begins with all players receiving five cards, all face down. Once all players are dealt their cards, the first betting round begins. In games with blinds, the action begins with the player seated left to the big blind (under the gun). In the ante games, the first player to receive the cards begins the action. These days, most 5 card draw games are played with big blinds.
The first player to act has the option to fold, call the big blind, or raise. The exact betting structure depends on whether the game is played in limit, pot limit, or no limit format. In pot limit and no limit, betting rules are pretty much the same, except for the fact the biggest bet/raise is limited to the size of the pot. In the fixed limit structure, all players follow the betting rules, with the fixed amount of bets and raises.
Players base their decision on the five cards they have in their hands and their future potential. Once the first betting round is over, all players have an option to exchange as many cards as they like (between just one and all five) and receive new cards or “stand pat,” indicating they’re happy with their current hand. The goal of the draw is to improve your hand, so, for example, if you have four to a flush, you’ll probably want to take just one card, discarding your non-suited card. If you have a pair, you’ll likely want to discard three unpaired cards to try and improve to trips or better, etc.
Once all players have exchanged their cards, the second betting round ensues. Once all bets are done, if there are two or more players still active in the hand, they’ll turn their hands over and the best hand according to the standard hand rankings for high poker variations will win the pot. If two or more players have the same hand, they’ll split the pot equally. Suits do not play a role in determining the best hand, i.e. an Ace high flush in spades will tie with an Ace high flush in diamonds.
Razz Poker Rules
Razz is essentially the low variation of 7 card stud. The game is usually played with the fixed betting format and, just like in 7 card stud, all players put up an ante at the start of the hand. Three initial cards are dealt, two face down and one face up. The main difference from 7 card stud is that the action will begin with the player showing the highest card. On the fourth and all subsequent streets, the first player to act is the one showing the strongest (the lowest) card.
The biggest difference between 7 card stud and Razz is in hand rankings. In Razz, your aim is to make the lowest possible five-card hand and the cards are ranked from an Ace (being the best and the lowest) to a King (being the worst and the highest). So, the best possible hand you can have in Razz is actually the wheel, i.e. the straight from an Ace to a Five (A, 2, 3, 4, 5).
Straights and flushes don’t count against the player in Razz. However, you do need five cards of distinct value to make the five-card hand. For example:
- 5, 6, 6, 9, 10, 10, K beats
- A A 2 2 3 5 5
This is because the second hand, although it is all low cards, doesn’t have a legitimate combination of five distinct cards. Every complete five-card hand beats any four-card hand.
After the betting is finished on the seventh street, there is a showdown and the best (the lowest) hand wins the pot. The lowest card in the combination is used to determine the winner, i.e.
- A, 4, 6, 9, J beats 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
If two or more players have the same hand, they will split the pot. Suits do not play any role in determining the winner and hands of the same strength will always chop.
Even being a different poker game from the rest, Razz poker rules are not hard to learn, so you can learn and enjoy this game very fast.
2-7 Triple Draw Poker Rules
2-7 Triple Draw is an interesting game from the group of draw poker variations. The rules of this poker game are quite unusual, especially in terms of its hand rankings, which aren’t really found in other poker variations, so this is the most important thing to learn about the game.
Like the name suggests, the best hand in 2-7 triple draw (and other 2-7 variations, for that matter) is the hand that contains 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7. So, it is similar to low forms of poker but in this case, an Ace counts as the highest card, not the lowest. Furthermore, flushes and straights do count against the player, so a hand like 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 is actually one of the worst possible hands you can have. Thus, it is worth to memorize these poker rules before sitting down to play.
Since the hand rankings in 2-7 triple draw are so different, here’s a few examples of hands by their rankings, from the best to the worst:
- 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
- 2, 3, 4, 5, 8
- 3, 4, 6, 7, 8
- 5, 6, 9, 10, J
- 5, 6, 7, 7, A
- 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (straight)
- 2♥, 3♥, 4♥, 5♥, 7♥ (flush)
So, as you can see, the goal is to make the best five-card hand so having pairs doesn’t help your cause. However, even a paired hand is better than the one containing a straight as the straight hand can only beat another straight or a flush hand.
2-7 Triple Draw & Betting
2-7 Triple Draw is usually played with blinds and fixed betting limits, so the setup is similar to that of Limit Texas Hold’em. For example in a $1/$2 game, blinds would be $0.5/$1. The action during the first two betting rounds is played using the small bet ($1) as the minimum, while during the second two rounds, the big bet ($2) is used.
At the start of a hand, each player receives five cards, all face down. The action begins with the first player to the left of the dealer, who can opt to fold, call, or raise (making it $1 to go in our example). The next player can fold, call, or raise, adding the extra $1, etc. Once the betting is completed, all players can discard as many cards as they like (one to five) and get new ones. Of course, the player can also choose to “stand pat,” keeping all of his/her five cards.
The next betting round then begins with the first active player to the left of the dealer. The small bet is still in play at this point. Then, there is another draw, followed by another betting round, where the big bet comes into play ($2).
Finally, there is the third and the last draw, followed by another round of betting with the big bet in play. At the end of the hand, if there are two or more players still active, they’ll show down their hands and the best hand according to the hand ranking rules described above wins the pot.
To avoid any confusion from these rules of poker game, in the case of qualifying five-card hands, the one with the lowest top card wins the pot, i.e. 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 loses to 3, 4, 5, 7, 8.
Open Face Chinese Poker Rules
Open Face Chinese (OFC) is a form of poker that developed from traditional Chinese poker. It is a specialty game of sorts because it isn’t as much of a poker game as the other ones listed here. However, it is an entertaining variation, especially for home games and it is also available at some online poker sites, so here’s the basic breakdown of open face Chinese poker rules.
Open Face Chinese is played using the dealer button although there are no blinds in play. For keeping score, the points system is used, and players agree in advance on how much each point is worth.
In OFC, every player is dealt 13 cards by the end of the hand, which means that the game can be played by no more than four players at the same time. The goal of the game is to make three distinct qualifying hands in three different rows. To start with, players are dealt five cards, all face-up, and they need to arrange them in one of the three rows. The bottom and the middle row contain five cards, while the top row contains only three. OFC uses the standard poker hand ranking system.
Here are the few things to keep in mind when playing Open Face Chinese:
Once you place a card in a row, you can no longer move it – it is fixed there.
The bottom row must be the strongest hand of the three.
The middle row must be stronger than the top but lower than the bottom
So, you need to arrange your first five cards keeping this in mind, i.e. you need to shape your hand in a way where the bottom row will be the best hand, the middle row will be the second best, etc. After the first round, players are dealt one card at a time each and can choose to place them wherever they like. However, once the card is placed, it can no longer be moved anywhere else on subsequent rounds.
OFC Scoring System
As mentioned, Open Face Chinese poker isn’t played with blinds or antes. Instead, it is played using a scoring system. The goal of the game is to beat your opponent(s) in every row and every row is compared to each other. All hands are compared and every winning row brings +1 point. Every losing row is -1 point. For example:
- Player A beats players B and C but loses to D in the bottom row: (+1) (+1) (-1) = +1 to his total points for this row
- In this scenario, player D beats all three players in the bottom row, so he scores +3 points for this row
- The same type of comparison is performed for the other two rows as well
In addition to this, OFC also features bonus points for various hands in different rows. For example, a royal flush in the bottom row gives +25 points, while the royal flush in the middle row (provided the hand doesn’t break the rules) brings +50 points.