Poker variants guide
Posted in Guides December 5, 2020

Poker variants for all tastes: beginner’s guide

Poker is a popular card game played all around the world and has gained recognition through movies and TV shows. Regardless of your experience level, you will likely find yourself playing poker at some point in your adult life.

To become a master at the game, it is important to understand that there are several poker variants, each with its own set of rules and played with different numbers of cards.

What are the most popular poker variants?

Here are the most popular poker variants:

Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em is the most commonly played poker variant at prestigious events worldwide, often seen on TV channels like ESPN. It is played with two hole cards and five community cards. It has become so popular that many video games now incorporate poker hands as a part of missions.

5 Card Draw

In 5 Card Draw, players are dealt five cards. The main difference with this variant is that there are no community cards. Instead, players have the opportunity to “draw” new cards by discarding unwanted ones during each betting round. This variant is often featured on TV shows like Friends.


Omaha is a poker variant where players are dealt four hole cards. To form the best possible hand, players must use exactly two of their own cards and three community cards. Omaha is typically played in a “Pot-Limit” format, where bets are capped at the money currently in the center of the table.

Are there other variants?

Yes, there are several other poker variants played in casinos worldwide:

  • Seven Card Stud: This complex card game involves players receiving seven cards – four visible up-cards and three private down-cards.
  • Lowball: This variant reverses the hand ranking compared to traditional poker.
  • Short Deck Hold’em: Also known as 6+ Hold’em, this variant removes low cards (2 to 5) from the deck.

Typically, players specialize in one poker variant, but some professionals prefer HORSE, which stands for Hold’em – Omaha – Razz – Stud – Eight or Better. In this game, the format changes throughout the gameplay.

However, there are some common concepts used in all poker formats:

  1. Bets: Bets can be “no-limit,” “pot-limit,” or “fixed limit,” depending on the maximum amount allowed per bet.
  2. Streets: For games with community cards, there are usually three streets: flop, turn, and river.
  3. Hand ranking: The hands formed with your cards follow the same pattern, with slight variations in lowball or short deck games, which are still based on the original ranking.

Tournaments or cash games

In addition to poker variants, there are two standard game formats: tournaments and cash games. Tournaments bring together multiple players who pay a buy-in for a fixed amount of chips, with the winner claiming a large prize. Cash games involve players exchanging money for chips at a flat rate and playing with fixed blinds for an indefinite amount of time.

Now that you have a basic understanding of poker variants, you are ready to further study the game and take a seat at the tables of your preferred poker room.

5 Card Draw, Omaha, Poker, Texas Hold´em


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