Poker variants guide
Posted in Guides December 5, 2020

Poker variants for all tastes: beginner’s guide

Poker is a world-famous card game that has been featured in many movies and TV shows. It’s an exciting game that you’ll likely get the chance to play at least once in your life as an adult. However, there are different poker variants that you need to be familiar with before hitting the tables.

Popular Poker Variants

The following poker variants are the most popular:

Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em is the most widely recognized poker variant played worldwide and usually televised on ESPN. It’s played using two-hole cards and five community cards. It has gained such popularity that many video games now include poker hands as part of game missions.

5 Card Draw

The 5 Card Draw variant is played with five cards, and instead of community cards, players “draw” their own cards in each betting round. It’s common to see this variant on TV shows like Friends.


This poker variant is played with four hole cards, and the player must use two of their cards and three community cards to create the best possible poker hand. It’s usually played using the “Pot-Limit” format where maximum bets are limited to money already available on the table.

Other Poker Variants

Besides the three poker variants mentioned above, there are other variants played in casinos worldwide, including:

  • Seven Card Stud: A complex game where the player receives seven cards, four visible up-cards, and three private down-cards.
  • Lowball: This variant involves inverted hand ranking.
  • Short Deck Hold’em: This is also known as 6+ Hold’em, and low cards (from 2 to 5) are removed from the deck.

Generally, players specialize in one poker variant, but some prefer HORSE, an acronym that stands for Hold’em-Omaha-Razz-Stud-Eight or Better, a game that changes formats throughout the game.

Nevertheless, basic concepts are used in all poker formats, such as bets, streets, and hand rankings.

  1. Bets: There are “no-limit,” “pot-limit,” or “fixed limit” bets, according to 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 you can form with your cards follow the same pattern, with only some tweaks in lowball or short deck games that anyway are based on the original ranking.

Tournaments or Cash Games

Apart from the poker variants, two game formats exist: tournaments or cash games. Tournaments involve several players who pay a buy-in in exchange for a fixed amount of chips, and the player who finishes in first place claims a big prize. In cash games, players exchange money for chips at a flat rate and play with fixed blinds for an undefined time.

Now that you are aware of the basic poker variants, you can take your studies ahead and hit the tables of your preferred poker room.

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


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