Poker has come a long way over the past thirty or so years. What used to be a simple five-card draw around the dinner table with family has exploded into a huge, billion dollar industry. The popularity of The World Series of Poker and its bracelets is at an all-time high and it isn’t stopping any time soon.
This boom is well into its second decade as well and new variations of the game are popping up everywhere. Whether it’s backroom games, online poker rooms, or lounges in the casinos, the game of poker is big and it’s being played in a variety of ways like never before. To help you navigate this over-populated landscape we’ve compiled a list of the biggest games going now so you won’t be caught off-guard the next time they come up.
Obviously, this is the most recognizable game of poker going these days. It is the subject of hundreds of books, dozens of movies, and even a few cable channels. Not to mention, it’s the big draw in the World Series of Poker Main Event every year. It’s also one of the easiest games to play. Each player has two face-down hole cards and they use those – along with five face-up community cards – to make their hand. The first three cards are called “the flop,” the fourth is “the turn,” and the fifth and final is “the river.” The betting is before the flop, turn and river and then after the river has been dealt. The winner being the player with the best hand after the last round of river betting.
In Omaha, players are dealt four cards, however, you have to use exactly two of those four along with three community cards. Once the betting begins, it works just as Texas Hold’em. However, the hands, such as pocket aces, that work in Texas Hold’em don’t always work in Omaha. Most poker rooms, online or otherwise, will offer Pot Limit Omaha cash games and tournaments, where players more than the pot.
Another oldie but goodie, Seven-Card Stud used to be the most popular form of poker until Texas Hold’em spoiled its fun. In Seven-Card Stud, every hand begins with players receiving two face-down cards and one face-up. There is a round of betting after every card dealt. The fourth, fifth, and sixth card are all dealt face-up and the seventh is face-down. There are no community cards in Seven-Card Stud. The goal is to have the best five-card hand at the end of the final wagering. There are other versions of Seven-Card Stud, Five-Card or Six-Card for instance, but they are not nearly as popular.
Much like Seven-Card Stud, Razz has players dealt seven cards each and the first two and the last all dealt face down. The big difference with Razz is that it is a lowball poker game meaning the lowest five-card hand wins. It is best to avoid pairs but remember the best possible hand is an A-2-3-4-5. Razz has been very popular as of late and even has a World Series of Poker bracelet event.
A very simple version of poker where each player begins by being dealt five cards face-down, and have the opportunity to draw cards from the deck, putting one or more of their cards at the bottom of the deck. They are then replaced with the same number from the top. The betting rounds are before and after the draw with the goal to make the best five-card hand winning.
Also known as Omaha/8 and very popular in the online poker rooms. Omaha Hi-Lo is, of course, very similar to Omaha. Each player receives four cards and can use two of them as well as three community cards. However, the is split between the best high hand and the best low hand. Players aim to get the best low hand. 8-7-6-5-4 or lower, and the best high hand, using any two of their four cards for each. Omaha Hi-Lo has many split pots, but one player can win the entire pot if they have the best high and low hand, or if they have the best high hand and there is no low hand available.
2-7 Triple Draw
Sometimes this is simply referred to as “Deuce to Seven,” this game is another lowball game where players are dealt five cards and have three chances to draw cards in the same manner as five-card draw. Aces are high and the best hand you can have is the 7-6-5-4-3-2.
Easy to play and easy to find in the online poker rooms. Everyone starts a hand with four hole-cards, however, after the flop is dealt they have to discard two of the four and play the remainder of the hand like a regular Hold’em hand.