Types of Poker: What’s the Best Game for You?
Nowadays, most people’s minds turn immediately to Texas hold’em when they think of poker. However, there are many other types of poker for enthusiasts to enjoy and potentially make money on. This amazing game combines fun, skill, and adrenaline with the possibility of earning – or losing – anything from chump change to huge sums of money. All this considered, it’s no wonder poker has been one of the most popular card games in the world for decades.
Whether you’re a beginner or you already have some experience, the list we’ve compiled will help you navigate more easily through this thrilling world. Read on to learn more about poker and its elements, rules, and dynamics.
Casino Poker Games
Some variations of poker allow you to play against the dealer or the house instead of against other players. There are also many online casinos where you can practice your strategies for free until you’re ready to play for some real money. In this type of game, luck has a much bigger role than skill, but it’s still fun and entertaining.
There are numerous popular variants of casino poker, such as pai gow poker, ultimate Texas hold’em, and Caribbean stud poker, but video poker surely sits at the top of this list. It’s one of the oldest versions of casino poker, and it’s played on machines. All types of video poker games use the rules of five-card draw, with the most favored being jacks or better, deuces wild, and joker poker.
While online video poker’s popularity continues to grow, physical video poker machines remain unmatched. They offer a special kind of excitement by combining the best elements of slot machines and game tables. These machines have improved and branched out immensely over the years, so you’ll be able to find one that suits you no matter what kind of player you are. There are many different types of video poker machines, but all of them can be divided into the following categories:
Jacks or better
This is the original video poker machine from which all other variants were spawned. If you’re a beginner, jacks or better may be the choice for you, since it’s very easy to play. It’s just a matter of making the best possible hand with five cards, without any complications. People also love this variant because of its excellent payout percentage of over 99%. The downside is that jackpot-style hands are almost impossible to achieve.
These types of poker games are, in fact, a whole branch of machines, and all of them differ from jacks or better by offering higher payouts for hands at the top of the paytable. However, to compensate for this, bonus games give smaller payouts for winning more common hands.
Wild card machines
Wild cards are cards that players can change into any cards they want. As a result, rare hands are much more frequent on these machines. Considering that wildcards are extremely popular among all types of poker players, they are an element of many different video poker machines. The two main kinds are deuces wild and joker poker.
All games in this category have their little twists, such as free spins or multipliers, that set them apart from other games. The twist is often activated by placing an extra bet, which makes them a little more expensive, but it also raises the payout percentage.
There are also multi-hand machines, which include various games from the previous categories. They offer you the chance to play several hands at once from a single deal.
Home Poker Games
For those who don’t want to or can’t gamble at a physical casino or via a website, playing poker in a private space among friends might be a better option. These are usually referred to as home poker games, even if they don’t take place in somebody’s actual home. There are several types of home poker games:
These poker leagues allow players to accumulate points over the span of a full season and win a prize at the end. It’s a great chance to meet interesting people and develop friendships.
These tournaments put players’ skills to good use. Players buy in as usual, but part or all of the proceedings are donated to charitable causes.
A friendly game could be as simple as inviting a few friends around for some poker, pizza, and a few beers. Even though they’re often played for tiny stakes or no money at all, these games might be illegal in some states.
Remember in The Simpsons when Fat Tony and his pals played cards in a smoky basement? This is the very definition of underground poker. These games are illegal and organized for profit, kind of like a lawless casino.
Different Types of Poker Betting
Depending on the type of betting they involve, poker games can be:
- Fixed-limit: These are games with fixed stakes that determine how much players can bet. There’s a variation of fixed-limit poker where players have a range in which they can bet; it’s called spread-limit poker.
- Pot-limit: In pot-limit games, bets depend on the size of the pot. The larger the pot, the bigger bet can be placed.
- No-limit: This is pretty self-explanatory; in these games there are no limits on bets, which is the traditional approach to Texas hold’em.
Types of Poker Hands
In poker, players collect “hands” consisting of five cards. Each type of hand is ranked by probability; the smaller the probability of getting that hand, the higher it ranks. If it comes down to a reveal, the strongest hand wins. Both the number and the suit of cards affects the strength of your hand.
As is the case with most card games, the number on the card is important in poker. Two is the lowest-value card, while ace is the highest. This means that a pair of sevens will always beat a pair of fives, for example. These rules are consistent across all forms of poker. Here are all hands ranked from strongest to weakest, with examples included in brackets:
- Five of a kind – This hand consists of five cards of the same value (A, A, A, A, A). It’s only possible when wildcards are included.
- Royal flush – A royal flush is the best hand in poker when no wildcards are involved. It consists of 10, jack, queen, king, and ace from the same suit (A, K, Q, J, 10 – all the same suit). In most popular poker variations, this is the top dog.
- Straight flush – This is like a royal flush but with lower-value cards; it consists of five cards of sequential rank from the same suit (8, 7, 6, 5, 4 – all the same suit).
- Four of a kind – Four cards of one rank with a fifth card called the kicker (A, A, A, A, 8).
- Full house – Three cards of one value and two cards of another value (A, A, A, 8, 8).
- Flush – Five non-sequential cards of the same suit (A, J, 10, 5, 2 – all the same suit).
- Straight – Five sequential cards that aren’t from the same suit (9, 8, 7, 6, 5 – different suits).
- Three of a kind – Three cards of one value and two kickers (A, A, A, J, 6).
- Two pairs – Two cards of one value, two cards of another value, and one card of a third value (A, A, K, K, 3).
- One pair – Two cards of one rank and three kickers (A, A, J, 7, 4).
- High card – Five kickers (A, Q, 7, 6, 2).
Different Types Of Poker Chips
Poker chips are a special component of every game. The material they are made of determines their quality and their value. When playing at home, most people will use plastic or faux clay chips, which are cheap. In casinos, you will usually find ceramic chips, which are more durable. The most expensive type is made with true clay and some added hardening elements to stop them from breaking.
In a game, players differentiate types of poker chips by color, where every color has a different value. In low-stakes cash games, chips could range in value from a few cents to a few dollars. However, in high-roller games, the most valuable chips could be worth several thousand dollars apiece.
As it’s undoubtedly the king of the poker world, chances are you’ve heard of Texas hold’em even if you’ve never played it in your life. Its popularity increased enormously in the 2000s, and it has been the most common variation of casino poker games ever since. The rules of poker can be complicated, but Texas hold’em strikes the perfect balance between simplicity and intriguing gameplay, which is why it’s so beloved.
A hand of poker begins with big and small “blinds,” which are small contributions designed to encourage betting. Before any cards are dealt, the two players sitting to the left of the dealer need to put a small amount into the pot (the amount of money that’s up for grabs in each hand). Each player is then dealt two cards face-down – these are called hole cards.
With only these two cards and having no idea what anyone else has, players then begin the first round of betting. They can either match the highest bet to keep playing, raise the bet to increase the stakes, or “fold,” which means they don’t put any money in and take no further part in the hand. Few other types of poker games at casinos give players such control over their own destiny.
When the betting is over, it’s time for the flop. Three community cards are put face-up in the middle of the table, followed by another round of betting. The fourth card dealt is called the turn, and the final card is known as the river. After both the turn and the river, another round of betting ensues.
Once all five community cards are on the table, you need to make the best possible five-card hand. You can do this by combining one or both of your hole cards with the community ones, or you can “play the board,” which means using only community cards to achieve the best possible hand. If two or more players are still in the game, they reveal their cards, and the pot goes to the player with the strongest hand.
Another characteristic that puts Texas hold’em at the top of the poker games list is the possibility of playing it as a no-limit game. This means that a player can go all-in and bet all of their chips at any time! This is the form of Texas hold’em played in the World Series of Poker (WSOP), a famous and prestigious tournament that’s definitely worth watching if you enjoy the game!
Omaha poker comes to most players naturally after they’ve got to grips with Texas hold’em. It’s hard to say which of the two is more challenging and exciting, but Omaha holds its own Texas hold’em when it comes to most popular poker games.
The main difference is that in Omaha, players are given four hole cards instead of two. Even more importantly, to win, they must make use of both their hole cards (no more than two) and the community ones to make the best possible five-card hand. There are big and small blinds – just like in Texas hold’em – and the betting rounds happen in the same manner before the final showdown.
Omaha is most commonly offered in casinos as a pot-limit game. This means that the amount you can bet is governed by the amount in the current pot. Drawing in Omaha is also more frequently present, as a bigger drawing hand has better odds. Strategy is extremely important in this game, since the number of possible starting hand combinations can be 100 times greater than in any other poker game variations. For that reason, you must be very apt at identifying good starting hands.
If you find Omaha poker suitable for you, you should check out the most common version of it: Omaha hi/low. Interestingly, in this type of Omaha poker game, the pot is divided between the highest and the lowest hand. It’s unquestionably this variation’s best feature – the loser in any other poker game is the winner here!
7-Card Stud Poker
Before Texas hold’em appeared, stud poker used to be the most common type of poker game. The main difference between these two kinds of poker is that 7-card stud doesn’t involve community cards. For those who prefer betting limits, this type of poker is an ideal one!
This game can be played with two to eight players. The rules are straightforward, which makes it suitable for beginners, but also tedious and slow for more experienced poker players.
After paying an ante, each player gets three cards – two face-down, also known as hole cards, and one face-up, known as a door card. This phase of the game is called the third street. The player who receives the lowest face-up card is the bring-in and has to start the action. This is when the betting kicks off.
The fourth street begins with the dealer passing out a fourth door card to each remaining player, and the one with the highest fourth street or hand opens another round of betting. One of the most popular poker variations continues in this manner until the seventh and final card is distributed face-down. This is the moment when players can see all of their three face-down cards, without disclosing it to others.
The seventh street or the river starts with the player whose visible cards have the highest value. After this final betting round, the showdown ensues if there’s more than one player left in the hand. In the showdown, as the name suggests, cards are revealed, usually starting with the last bettor or raiser and continuing clockwise around the table. The one who manages to make the best five-card hand is the winner.
If you’re looking for fairly easy forms of poker or online poker games and you’ve mastered the rules of 7-card stud, razz is probably your best option. Fitting for observant poker players who enjoy a slower pace, razz belongs to the list of classic poker games.
The stages of this game are the same as in 7-card stud – the ante is followed by the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh street, which leads to the showdown that determines the winner. What is different in razz is that the goal is to make the lowest hand, which means that the player with the lowest-valued cards is the one who opens the betting. Because of this, it’s worth mentioning that pairs count here and are thus undesirable, as they make hands higher.
The strategy of this popular poker game requires paying attention to opponents’ cards to evaluate your chances of drawing the worst hand and winning the game. As in stud, the maximum number of players is eight, bearing in mind that the deck contains 52 cards. Straights and flushes are not taken into account in this game, meaning that A-2-3-4-5 represents the best possible hand or the lowest straight (commonly referred to as the wheel). So, if you’re given A-2-3 at the beginning of the game, you have huge potential to leave the game as the winner.
2-7 Triple Draw
When it comes to different types of poker, 2-7 triple draw is another variety favored by a wide range of players.
For the game to be more amusing and challenging, this poker variation makes use of blinds, which reminds us of hold’em and Omaha. The players sitting on the dealer’s left are assigned the small and the big blinds, which dictates the dealing of the cards. After each player receives five cards (one at a time) that are face-down, the betting can begin.
The course of action is such that each player is given the possibility to fold the hand, call the current bet, or raise it. Like in most types of poker draw games, when the first betting round finishes, remaining players can discard certain cards (and be dealt new ones) or decide to stay put. Betting and the second and third drawing rounds follow, after which the showdown ensues.
In this final stage of the game, the lowest hand leads to victory. The finest hand is 7-5-4-3-2 with cards of a different suit. If the same hand is shared by two players, the pot is split between them.
What is particularly interesting for lovers of these types of poker game is the fact that this game can be either a fixed-limit or a no-limit one. The no-limit variation of 2-7 triple draw consists of only one draw with two rounds of betting (before and after the draw). Players have the option to raise or bet any amount of their whole stack, which more experienced gamblers love!
We’ve looked at different versions of poker games, poker rules, and poker styles. Now here’s one that represents a mixture of five. They are played in a set rotation, which depends on the number of hands or the fixed time. The name is the acronym of five well-known games: hold’em (H), Omaha (O), razz (R), 7-card stud (S), and 7-card stud eight or better (E).
Most players find it difficult to get used to the fact that in H.O.R.S.E., hold’em is played as a fixed-limit game. Both hold’em and Omaha are blind games, while the other three, as previously noted, require antes and bring-in bets.
The final game – 7-card stud eight or better – is sometimes referred to as high-low (or hi-lo). It represents a variant of 7-card stud in which players need to reach two hands from the seven cards they were given. Needless to say, to succeed at H.O.R.S.E., you need to be familiar with each poker game, while also being capable of adapting easily as the games change at the table.
This can happen every hour, but also every five minutes if the gambling site determines so. For this reason, this kind of poker is definitely not in the category of easy poker games. It’s not very popular among beginner gamblers who are still learning the ropes of poker itself. Nevertheless, it’s a very interesting way of discovering what types of poker are there.
The advantage of H.O.R.S.E. is that your opponents are unlikely to excel at each part, which is beneficial for those who have a good strategy. There are usually no more than seven players at the table, since there is a possibility of deck running out. The level of skill and quickness required for this game is the reason why not all poker places offer it, so it’s among the rarer types of online poker. If you deem yourself a master of poker, you should try to win this game!
How many types of poker are there?
While there are many poker variations, three main categories are called draw poker, stud poker, and community card poker. The main difference is in the types of poker cards. They can be hidden, exposed, or shared, depending on the rules of the specific variation. Draw poker includes games with hidden hands, where players can replace some of their cards and try to improve them. In stud games, players are dealt hands with both hidden and exposed cards. In community card poker games, the hand consists of both hidden and so-called community or shared cards.
There is also the interesting but hard-to-master category of mixed poker games. They represent a combination of several different kinds of poker in one. Usually, in poker, the highest-ranked hand wins, but there are some exceptions. In lowball games, the pot goes to the lowest-ranked hand, while in high-low split the pot is divided between the players who have the highest and the lowest hand.
What is the easiest poker game to learn?
There are many different types of poker games, but probably the easiest and definitely the most popular starting point for anyone who wants to learn how to play poker is Texas hold’em. Because of its enormous popularity, there are a lot of materials and sources for studying this variation. It is simple enough, but it also gives you plenty of space to improve and master the game. That’s why there’s such a great gap between amateur and professional players.
What is the most popular version of poker?
Without any doubt, the most popular version of poker in this century is Texas hold’em. It has become part of mainstream culture not only in the US but all over the world. In most tournaments – such as WPT, EPT, and WSOP – Texas hold’em is the form of poker the professionals play. It’s easy to see why this game has been the top poker game for so long. It is not only amusing to play, but it’s also very entertaining to watch. The rising success of Texas hold’em has been attributed to several factors, like its simplicity, the invention of online poker, and its appearance in film, TV, and commercials.
What are the 5 cards in poker called?
In poker, a set of five cards is called a hand. Each hand is ranked according to its probability, and the player with the highest-ranked hand wins the pot. In Texas hold’em, unlike in other types of poker, each player has two hole cards and can make use of five community cards: the flop (the first three cards), the turn, and the river. The best hand in poker is called a royal flush.