1. Texas Hold’em
Texas Hold’em is the most popular version of poker played today. When watching poker tournaments on television you are most likely watching a Texas Hold’em tournament being played out.
Part of the appeal of Texas Hold’em comes from its straightforward rules and game-play. Texas Hold’em is extremely easy to pick up and understand; as evident by the number of new poker players that are breaking into the game through this variation.
When playing Texas Hold’em table position can make or break a player. The player closest to the left of the dealer button will have a disadvantage as he will need to act before the rest of the table. The player at the end of the rotation will have the advantage for that round due to the fact that he or she will have seen the rest of the table act.
No-Limit Texas Hold’em is a slight variation that does not have a maximum bet limit during the rounds of play. No-Limit Hold’em will allow players with fantastic hands to raise their bids, as far as needed to try and bully competitors out of the round. It is clearly a game of higher stakes.
Texas Hold’em also holds the distinction of being the most popular poker game used to decide the finals of many poker tournaments such as the World Series of Poker.
Omaha is in many ways very similar to Texas Hold’em. For a full walk-through of a typical game of Hold’em see our Poker game-play page.
The key difference in Omaha is the extra two hole cards that are dealt with each player at the beginning of the round. With Omaha, the player can pull any two cards from his four hole cards to join with three, of the five, community cards to create a hand.
This difference will not make the probability aspects of the game much different than Texas Hold’em.
Other Omaha game aspects such as betting and showdown rules remain the same as Texas.
Some Omaha games are played high/low, which means that the players with the highest and lowest hands would split the pot. This is a major strategy to consider when playing Omaha High or Low. A player that has a hand with a chance to either be the high or low hand will have a much better chance at winning the round.
3. Seven-Card Stud
Seven-Card Stud is an extremely popular poker game that is most commonly played in casinos. Although the game is not as popular as Texas Hold’em it is certainly one of the most well-known forms of poker currently played.
Seven-Card Stud features much of the same action rules as Texas Hold’em. But is very different in terms of the drawing of cards. In Stud, there are no community cards. Instead, each player is dealt seven cards of his own to match as they please. Four of the seven cards dealt with each player are dealt face up showing the rest of the table part of their hand throughout the round.
Instead of the requirement for two players to place blind bets at the beginning of a round, each player is required to post an initial ante bet. In a $2-$4 dollar game, the ante posting would usually be valued at $2 a player.
Each player on the table is now dealt with three cards – two faces down and one face up. The card that is turned face up is known as the door card. The player that is dealt with the lowest door card is required to begin the betting for that round. Play then proceeds clockwise as in Hold’em.
The dealer will now deal with each player a fourth card that will also be dealt face up. In this round, the player with the highest-ranking fourth hand will now initiate the action.
The last round would be repeated with a fifth, sixth and seventh card being drawn for each player. While the fifth and sixth card is drawn face-up, the seventh (or “river” card) is drawn face down.
From the seven cards that each player is drawn their top five cards would then make their hand. A showdown would now occur with the top hand winning the pot.
4. Five-Card Draw
It is most commonly a home played game that most people learn before other games such as Texas Hold’em. Five-Card Draw features the dealer button, blind bets and clockwise action of Hold’em.
Once the blinds have been posted, each player is then dealt five cards face down. As in Hold’em, each player would now need to call to match the blind bets if they wish to stay in the round.
Each player will now decide if they would like to discard any cards in their hand. If a player sees potential for a strong hand it is wise for them to discard any unrelated cards at this time. The dealer would then re-deal new cards to replace the number of cards that were thrown away.
One each player is dealt with their replacement cards a showdown would occur where the top hand would take the pot.