Poker continues to grab a huge slice of the online casino market and there are new players signing up on a daily basis. Those who are new to poker will be aware of the basic concept of the game and there is always the option to play trial hands for free for those that need to brush up on their rusty skills.
But did you know that there are several formats of this classic card game? While roulette has its European, American and French variants, there are far more versions of poker so it may pay to take some time to dissect the subtle changes before making your pick.
Anyone who has dipped into poker and played on a casual basis is likely to have tackled the Texas Hold’Em version. This is by far the most popular in the present day and while most newbies start here, many experienced and professional players continue with this variant.
Like most poker games, Texas Hold’em starts with a single, standard 52-deck of playing cards. At the start, each player is dealt two ‘hole’ cards which are face down at this stage. This phase is also known as the pre-flop and then we move onto the flop itself.
The flop sees the first three community cards dealt face upwards in the middle of the table. Two single cards – the turn and the river – will follow. At each stage of this process, the players involved can either bet, if they feel they have a strong, winning hand, or they can fold if they feel they are destined to lose.
As with all versions of poker that we list in this guide, it’s important to understand the winning hands of the game before venturing onto the tables.
The majority of poker variants offer subtle variations to the Texas Hold’em process. Omaha is no exception and at one point, this was marginally more popular before its southern state rival emerged to take over.
In this version of the game, each player is dealt four-hole cards at the pre-flop stage but they can only use two when assembling a final hand. From this point, Omaha is identical to Texas Hold’em with the flop, turn and river following in the same order with the same number of community cards being dealt at each stage.
Seven Card Stud
Classic card games are usually focused on strategy, patience and, of course, that crucial Poker Face. If, however, you like your action to be a little faster-paced, Seven Card Stud might just be the game for you.
This poker variant is played between two to eight participants and the distinct difference to Texas Hold’em and Omaha is the complete absence of any community cards. At the start of the round, each player is dealt three cards – two will be face down and the third, referred to as the ‘Door Card’ is face up. Eventually, seven cards are dealt to each player – three face up and four face down.
Like all poker games, the object with Seven Card Stud is to assemble better hands than your opponents. The difference here is that the majority of the opponents’ hands are visible so it should be easier to assess odds before deciding whether to bet or fold. As such, Seven Card Stud can also be a great option for those who are just starting out with poker.
Want things to get a little weirder? Razz follows the process of most poker games but there is a distinctive twist. In this version, the player with the lowest hand scoops the pot so forget about the Full House and the Four of a Kind, those outcomes are likely to lose you the round.
A complete list of winning and losing hands is available and should be studied closely before anyone attempts a game of Razz but the best possible outcome is known as a ‘wheel’. Aces are low in this version of poker and a wheel is a run of A, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
As for the dealing, this is similar to Seven Card Stud in the sense that two hole cards are dealt face down and a face up door card follows. Betting then commences until each player has seven cards and the hands are then declared.
Five Card Draw
If you are completely new to poker or you just want to keep things as simple as possible, we suggest starting out with Five Card Draw. This variant forms the basis of slot machine video poker and is therefore kept as straightforward as possible.
In an initial round of dealing, each player receives five cards and a round of betting ensues. Players then have the option to change a certain number of cards and receive replacements from the deck. Betting continues and the hands are then declared.
All of the above are versions of a classic game with subtle variations applying to each. You may already have your own favourite but if you’re still looking for the perfect poker partner, simply trial the games online until you find your match.