April 22, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

5 Variations of Poker You Should Try Today

Poker has been around for several centuries, and even today, it remains one of the most popular casino games people enjoy. This game is a mainstay at both traditional and online casinos.

If you have played a lot of classic poker on your days and are looking for something other than vanilla poker, then you’re in luck because we’ll talk about poker variants that might pique your interest. 

Texas Hold’em

Of course, we should start with Texas Hold’em. Texas Hold’em is the most popular version of poker in the casino. Not only that, but it’s also very popular online and you can play this version in a lot of online casinos. For starters, it’s very easy to learn, which is also why many beginners in poker, if they want to learn a different variation, would go and learn Texas Hold’em.

However, what if we tell you that Texas Hold’em wasn’t that popular back then? This variant became mainstream in the early 2000s when someone named Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 WSOP Main Event. And just like that, Texas Hold’em became the number 1 poker variant in online and brick-and-mortar casinos. So how do you play it?

The game is played with holes and community cards. To kick things off, the players will be dealt two hole cards, with two posting a designated big and small blind. The first betting round would start, and the players would be allowed to see their hole cards. After that, the community cards, the flop, will be dealt with for all the players to see, and there will be three. After that, another betting round would start.

Every flop card will have a betting round until all three are turned. With all the five community cards dealt the players would be allowed to use their two-hole cards and the community cards to form the best five-card poker hand possible. The final betting round would then happen if the river cards are dealt. When the bets are all settled, a showdown will begin, and the players will turn their cards to see which wins.

Omaha Hi

Omaha Hi is the second most popular poker variant, just second to Texas Hold’em. In Omaha poker, the highest-ranking hand would win the full pot of the round. However, Omaha Hi also has another name, Pot Limit Omaha or PLO. This is given to Omaha Hi because it has a fixed limit.

This poker variant is similar to Texas Hold’em, except it has a fixed limit. At the beginning of the game, instead of the players being given 2 hole cards, they are given 4. Of course, they can use it to create the best poker hand on the table to win. However, they can only use two hole cards and three community cards each time they play. Omaha Hi is popular because creating a winning hand in this variation is easier.

So, whether you’re playing in a PA Online Casino or trying your luck in Vegas, this poker game will surely give you the thrill and excitement you’re looking for.

Omaha Hi/Lo

Omaha Hi/Lo, also known as Omaha8, is a poker variation derived from the popular variation of poker called PLO or Omaha Hi, which was discussed above. Omaha Hi/Lo is played in both limit and pot limit formats. This variant features the same rules as PLO, with the big difference being the pots are split between the highest-ranking hand and the worst one if the players manage to make a low. 

The best high hand still follows the standardized poker rankings. However, it’s quite interesting for the Lo part of the game. The best possible low hand a player could have in this variant is A2345, called the “wheel.” In this game, there should always be a high-hand winner. However, the game could also go without having a low-hand winner.

Five Card Draw

Of all the games discussed in this article so far, the five-card draw may be the game played least on the professional level. However, it’s one of the most entertaining to watch if you like a game full of bluffing.

If you’ve never played this poker variant before, you might be shocked at how easy this game is to learn. In a gist, a five-card draw is a paradise for bluffers as it allows you to bluff on each hand and choose whether to bluff your way to winning or have the highest-ranking hand possible on the table. So, how is it played?

Each player will be dealt five hole cards that they can only see in a five-card draw. Possibly, the biggest difference this variant has among its peers is the absence of community cards. Instead, they can discard as many cards as they want and be able to draw cards based on the number of cards they discard. 

This variant has only two betting rounds, so the game is often played with no limit. Because of the nature of this game, overbetting, bluffing, and aggressive playing are part of the core mechanics, which is why it’s also popular.

Seven Card Stud

Seven Card Stud was the most popular poker variant in the past until Texas Hold’em took over. This also means that the core gameplay mechanics don’t have anything to do with Texas Hold’em. Learning to play seven-card studs will open doors to learning other poker variants similar to seven-card studs, like five-card studs, Seven-card studs, Hi/Lo, and Razz. So, how is this variant played?

In all poker variants similar to seven card studs, the players are dealt with sequencing up and down cards exclusive to their hand. In the seven-card stud, the number of sequencing cards is seven. Seven card stud is always played as a limit game, with the player showing their lowest up card, posting the bring-in, and all of the other players on the table posing an ante bet. 

Players then take turns raising, betting, and calling before further cards are dealt. Of course, the goal of the variant is to make the best five-card hand in the table by making the other players fold.

Final Words

The world of poker is truly huge, as there are a lot more poker variations that you can play both at home and in the casino. If you’re bored with your classic vanilla poker game, you might want to try the poker variants discussed in this article. They’re fun, and they can provide you with a fresh breath of air once in a while.

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