The Lowdown On Some of the Most Popular Poker Variants to Play
Last Updated: January 23, 2024
With a storied history, poker has a huge global presence and continues to attract a throng of new players to the table. But for the uninclined, there isn’t just one type of poker variant available. No, there are roughly a dozen to pick from, all with their subtleties.
So, let’s run through a few of the most popular versions out there. We have shared details on basic gameplay and tactics for each and explained what makes them so appealing.
Kicking things off is Texas Hold’Em which is the most revered variant. Used for every major tournament, including the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, it is dubbed the “Cadillac of Poker”. The aim is to extract the most money from the pot by forcing other players to fold or by revealing the best five-card hand.
One of the fundamentals of the game is understanding position, and having a position on other players means you can anticipate what your opponents are likely to do before making your next decision.
In terms of gameplay, the table is dealt two hole cards face-down. After two hole cards have been dealt to each player, the action starts with the player to the left of the big blind, rotating clockwise.
Players can choose to call, raise, or fold, and further betting rounds follow until the showdown is reached, where at this point, whoever has the strongest five-card hand will come out on top. Texas Hold’Em has been a staple of most online poker sites, and it continues to command the most attention
Should you decide to play on non-GamStop poker sites, you will be spoilt with generous bonuses and free spins. Platinum Club, for instance, offers a 300% welcome bonus of up to £3,000 aside from a 500% crypto bonus. They will also have Texas Hold’Em stocked in their library of games, and while they will always be adding to their collection, Texas Hold’Em remains a go-to option for both novices and experienced players.
With a growing array of online learning tools, including poker cheat sheets, it is worth building your knowledge base of the fundamentals before rushing into a tournament or cash game.
Omaha Pot Limit
Having swept across large swathes of Europe during the Poker Boom of the early 2000s, Omaha Pot Limit bears some resemblance to Texas Hold’Em, albeit it is more volatile in terms of the equities of hands, and with some of the crazy action entailed, it can be more tricky to master.
Unlike Hold’em, where the emphasis is on playing the board, players will start with four hole cards in Omaha Pot Limit. Players will still aim to compile the best five-card hand, but they will use two of their four hole cards, and then three of the five community cards at the showdown.
Although the starting hand selection is more complicated, those looking to expand their poker horizons will enjoy playing Omaha Pot Limit.
Seven Card Stud
Stud poker comes in many guises, but Seven Card Stud is the most popular. However, in contrast to Omaha or Texas Hold’Em, there are no community cards to contend with.
With this poker variant, players will put in an ante, and receive three cards: two face-down while the other one will be presented face-up. Those who can stay in hand will receive their fourth, fifth, and sixth cards face-up.
Then, the seventh card will be dealt face-down, and here players will have to assess their cards, including those on display, to determine the relative value of their hands. If you have only learned to play the big bet games, then Seven Card Stud may pave the way for other variants, such as Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo.
Rounding off this list is Short Deck, and more recently, it has won favor from high-stakes gamblers in Asia and beyond.
Highly volatile, Short Deck is played with just 36 cards, where equities run close together, and those who are successful can make large profits. The hand rankings are very different compared to traditional games with flushes beating full houses, while cards marked two through to five are removed from the deck.
With fewer cards available, players have a better chance of making some sort of hand, but then they also need to be mindful of the strength of their opponents’ hands. Anyway, with seasoned pros like Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan gravitating towards Short Deck, there must be something to it that is innately appealing!
As we have seen, each of the aforementioned poker variants brings something different to the table, and they will challenge all types of players.
However, the main takeaway from this guide is to play a game that suits your style and financial expectations. Above all else, always gamble responsibly!