Popular Poker Game Variants
Texas Holdem may have been the poker variant that made online poker a huge hit in the early 2000s, but it is far from the only real money poker game you can play. In fact, the world’s biggest poker sites tend to host as many as a dozen or more different real money variations on the game of poker. Here’s a little bit of information on other excellent poker games you can play for real money online.
Poker game names tend to be colorful, with a local flavor. Texas Holdem got its name from the fact that it was brought to the world of professional poker by Amarillo Slim and other Texas-based poker players. Omaha probably got its start somewhere in the Midwest, borrowing its name from the city in Nebraska.
Omaha is popular because it is similar enough to Texas Holdem for fans of that game to learn quickly, but different enough to provide some game variety. The main difference between Omaha High and Texas Holdem is the number of hole cards the players are dealt (four in Omaha) and the player’s final hand has to be made up of exactly two cards from their hole set and exactly three cards from the community set. Remember that in Texas Holdem, your hand can be made up of any combination of community and hole cards. Omaha High, usually just called Omaha, is extremely popular in Europe, especially in pot limit ring games and tournaments at Europe-facing poker rooms online.
Omaha rewards players with a similar skill set to Texas Holdem, probably another reason this game is popular among the world’s best Holdem players.
As the name implies, Omaha Hi/Lo is a split pot version of Omaha, where half the pot goes to the holder of the best hand and half the pot goes to the holder of the lowest-valued hand. Many of the world’s most popular real money poker sites also offer a variant called Omaha Eight, which requires an eight or better to qualify for the low half of the pot. Omaha Hi/Lo and Omaha Eight are both normally available in limit and no limit versions.
Seven Card Stud
Long the most popular poker game in the world, Seven Card Stud is now second fiddle to Texas Holdem. The world’s most popular real money poker rooms all offer Seven Card Stud because the game is still extremely popular. This game is vastly different from Texas Holdem: there are no community cards in Seven Card Stud, the blind system is replaced by an ante and a bring-in bet, there are five betting rounds as opposed to just four in Texas Holdem, and a lot of emphasis on put on player’s memory. You have to have a strong memory in Seven Card Stud in order to remember the folded upcards. Seven Card Stud also rewards players with larger starting bankrolls, since short-term luck is a big factor in the game, and it has more variance.
Also known as 7 Card Stud Low, Razz is probably the most popular of all the many poker lowball variants. Lowball games reward players that can form the lowest-possible hand. The rules are essentially the same as in Seven Card Stud, except that the pot goes to the player with the worst five card hand. Good Razz players tend to have excellent memories, similar to Seven Card Stud players.
HORSE (and any number of other mixed-game version of poker) is available for play at the world’s most popular real-money online poker sites. HORSE stands for the games you play in rotation: Holdem, Omaha, Razz, Seven Card Stud, and Eights or better. Some sites also offer a special 8-game mix for players who really like to play lots of different kinds of poker all in one sitting. Obviosuly, mixed games of poker reward players who have well-rounded poker skills that are adaptable to a variety of games. The standard 8-game mix version of HORSE adds No Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, and 2-7 Triple Draw for an even greater variety of real money poker action.
Five Card Draw
Probably the first card game you ever learned the rules for, Five Card Draw is one of the simpler poker variants that you can find an online version of at the world’s top poker rooms. Five Card Draw rewards bluffing skills and the psychological aspect of the game more than Holdem, since in Draw games, there are no community cards and no cards are dealt face up. Bidding becomes an even more important aspect of poker in a game of Draw poker. Players that can read their opponents tend to do well in games of 5 or 7 Card Draw.
2-7 Triple Draw & 2-7 Single Draw
Usually referred to colloquially as “deuce to seven” Triple Draw or “deuce to seven” Single Draw, these are lowball poker variants that once again reward the player who can form the worst possible low hand in a game of poker. It’s important to learn the ins and outs of scoring in all 2-7 games, since they all have different rules for reading the hands and hand hierarchies. Lowball games are ideal for players who have perfect other variants of poker and are looking for a way to spice up their online poker game, or as a diversion after a long round of Texas Holdem or Omaha.
Badugi is one of the youngest poker variants, first appearing worldwide in the 2000s, mostly at online poker rooms. Badugi is essentially a version of draw poker in which the object of the game is to put together the best possible low hand composed of all different suits out of four cards you are dealt. The betting structure and the general rules of Badugi are similar to any other poker game that uses blinds instead of antes, with the main difference being that players’ hands have just four cards at any given point. The game involves three drawing rounds, during which you can trade anywhere from none to all four of your cards for new ones from the deck in an attempt to make the best hand. Badugi is a lowball variant where an emphasis is placed on having a hand made up of as many suits as possible, rather than high cards of the same suit, and is ideal for poker players who have mastered other versions of poker.
There are dozens of fun real money poker games you can discover online. Registering for a real money online poker account gives you access to all kinds of poker variants with rules as different from one another as they can be. No matter your particular skill set, there’s a version of real money poker that’s ideal for you.