Most Common Poker Variations

Most Common Poker Variations

Staff Writer
March 4, 2024
1510

Most Common Online Poker variants

oker, as one of the ultimate classic casino games, comes in many shapes and forms.

And Casino Hold’em is far from being the only casino poker variant you should know how to play.

This guide below will introduce you to some of the most common poker variants out there – from Omaha to Razz and Chinese Poker.

Texas Hold’em

The list starts off with the most popular poker variant you can find out there – the Texas Hold’em. It’s the variant you’ll find in at literally every casino, even one that’s not that well-versed in poker.

The reason why it’s so popular is because it’s quite easy to learn. Moreover, as it’s already quite widespread, it’s the variant for which the majority players know the rules. Plus, the widespread ensured there’s more than enough information circulating on the web about the game and special rules. Oh, and there’s the No Limit version of Texas Hold’em, which is played at the international poker tournaments.

Rules

The variant is quite similar to other five-card draw games. The goal is to create the best possible poker hand using two hole cards together with community cards.

The game round starts with the pre-flop stage where two hole cards are dealt face down. Once that phase is done, you have a flop stage in which the three community cards are dealt face up. The third stage is the turn, when another community card is dealt, followed by the river when players receive a fifth community card.

Players place bets and decide on Call, Raise, and Fold moves after each step. Ultimately, the best hand wins everything.

Omaha

The second-most popular poker variant in the world must be Omaha. Omaha is quite similar to Texas Hold’em. Many elements of the round are quite similar to Texas Hold’em rounds. However, the main difference is in the number of hole cards – Omaha has more.

The last decade has really helped Omaha in the sense that more and more players progressively started playing this variant. As a result, some industry experts even claim it’s now more popular than Texas Hold’em. We’ll leave it up to you to decide. One thing is sure – the game is almost as widespread as Texas Hold’em, especially at US casinos.

Rules

First things first – there are two subcategories of Omaha Poker you’d do well to remember. Those are Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) and Omaha Hi-Lo.

In PLO, the dealer first deals four hole cards (as opposed to two like in Texas Hold’em). Afterwards, the round starts and players get a chance to participate in the round, starting with the one on the left to the Big Blind. All punters get a chance to either Call, Raise, or Fold. The pre-flop stage is followed by the flop stage where the dealer deals 3 community cards to the centre of the table, face-up. This stage is followed by the turn and then the river, and in each stage another community card is added.

Please remember that you can use only two out of the four dealt hole cards.

Seven-Card Stud

Stud poker used to be the go-to poker variant for many players. With the emergence of Texas Hold’em and Omaha, Stud poker became overshadowed by the new variants, but many sites still try to offer Stud Poker, at least in online form.

The main difference between Stud Poker and the two previously mentioned variants is the lack of community and hole cards. Instead, Stud poker comes with individual hands for the players.

7-Card Stud is made for 2-8 players per round, and in general is thought to be a game requiring a bit more skill.

Rules

We can safely say that 7-Card Stud is the Texas Hold’em predecessor. It’s a bit more complex than the two mentioned variants, so players need a bit more skill to get the hang of it.

At the start of every round, players get two face down cards and one face up. The first two cards are the ‘hole’ cards, while the third is known as the door card. Again, the goal is to make the most out of 5 cards and create the best possible hand. You are in total then dealt three face down cards and four face up cards.

But, as you can see 4 cards of other players, so can other players see your four cards.

Five-Card Draw

Like in every poker variant, 5-Card Draw is all about making the most out the dealt cards and creating a fantastic 5-card hand. It’s a draw poker, which means players are dealt an entire hand face down and then they get a chance to replace cards as the round goes. 5-Card Draw is the most common variant of all draw poker games.

Another name for this variant is Cantrell Draw, so if you happen to see that name somewhere, just know it’s 5-Card Draw. Moreover, this variant is considered the easiest poker version ever, so it’s taken as the basis for video poker. 5-Card Draw tournaments are, sadly, rare.

Rules

Gameplay in 5-Card Draw begins with an ante bet. Every player at the table receives 5 cards dealt face down, one at a time. The rest of the deck is stored aside, and the dealer typically covers it with something.

Players then pick up their dealt cards and hold them in their hands, but hidden from view of the other players. In the betting  stage, players pick how much cards they want to replace. The unwanted cards are discarded, and players receive new cards. The third phase is again betting, followed by the showdown. The best hand wins the pot.

Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is the only game in here not based on actual poker. In fact, it’s based on Pai Gow, a viral Asian game of dominoes.

In Pai Gow Poker, players play with a single deck of 52 cards with 1 Joker. While the original Pai Gow game uses 32 dominoes, Pai Gow Poker uses a card deck. Pai Gow Poker has been around for over 50 games, and it’s quite popular across Asian casinos.  It’s quite easy to play, so it’s suitable for beginners. The Joker helps a great deal as it can replace any card in a Straight, Flush, or Straight Flush hand.

Rules

A typical round has four stages – the betting stage, the dealing stage, the card arranging, and a showdown. All bets in the game are placed before the cards are dealt. Some tables also use a 5% commission fee, typically paid at the start of the round.

The dealer deals 7 cards to each player, alongside 4 cards put into a discard pile. The players then have to arrange the cards into two groups – one with 5 and one with 2 cards. Of course, the goal is to arrange the cards into the best possible 5-card poker hand, while the 2-card group should also have high cards. The winner is the player whose both card groups beat the dealer.

Razz

This is the same as Stud Poker, except the goal is the complete opposite. That’ right, the goal is to make the lowest hand possible! It’s also called 7-Card Stud Poker Low, because the entire pot goes to the lowest hand at the table.

Moreover, between 2-8 players are seated at the table and play using a single 52-card deck. All players are dealt 7 cards and pick 5 to create the best hand (which is lowest in rank).

It’s quite easy to play as it’s easy to locate the 5 lowest cards. Straights and flushes do not count as playable hands in Razz.

Rules

Because it’s the complete opposite to Stud Poker, Razz comes with a unique set of rules. One example of a unique rule that stands out is the lack of 8 or better rule. Moreover, straights and flushes are not valid hands in here.

At the start of every round, players place an ante bet, and the dealer deals 3 cards to each player. The highest-hand player places the bring-in. This begins the betting stage, after which we have Sixth and Fifth Street with 1 extra face up card per stage. In the final Seventh Street, players receive a face down card.

If everyone folds, the last active player takes the pot automatically.

Chinese Poker

When compared to other variants on this list, Chinese Poker resembles poker the least. Traditional poker rules do not apply here, because this variant is quite unique. However, the version is great for newbies, especially those who are familiar only with poker hand rankings. That’s the only piece of info you need to start playing Chinese Poker.

It’s far from being popular. In fact, it’s the least present version at online casinos, but that doesn’t diminish its value. Chinese Poker used to be played at WSOP events during the 1990s.

Rules

Chinese Poker is made for 2-4 players, preferably 4. The game uses a single 52-card deck, with each player receiving 13 cards. The task is to divide the cards into 3 groups called settings.

Two settings should have 5 cards (the middle and the back) and one with three cards (the front). The back must be the highest-value hand, the middle second-highest, and then the front should be the lowest hands. Straights and flushes are not valid hands, like in Razz. Royalties, the bonus points, are used in each round. The scoring system is somewhat complex, but you’ll easily understand it after a couple of rounds.

Conclusion

If you enjoy poker, it’s not fair to stick to one variant every single time you go to a casino. Variation can be quite a refreshment – but only if you know the variant you are playing is worth it. Be sure to give the listed variants a chance if you are looking to change things up a bit.

In the meantime, stay tuned for exciting news and updates from the industry with CasinosOnline.

Further Reading

If you want to explore the topic of poker online further, we recommend checking out the following articles

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