Poker has become one of the most-played games in the world, attracting millions of players for its strategic and methodical gameplay. In basic terms, the game consists of players making bets depending on the value of their hands with the aim of winning the pot. It is a game loved by professionals and beginners, arguably being one of the most popular casino game. There are quite a few variations of poker. In this article, we’ll have a look at several versions of this game.
The rise of Texas Hold’em
Originating in Texas, as the name suggests, Texas Hold’em is the most-played poker variation worldwide. Players each have two hole cards, dealt face down, and five community cards, which are face up. Players use these cards in combination to create the best possible hand. During each round, players will either call, fold or raise their bet depending on their hand. In the end, the highest hand which hasn’t folded wins the pot. If you have the right cards, aggressive play can be the key to winning so be sure of your hand and your position.
Bluffing is another key strategy, but it should be used sparingly and strategically to ensure it looks like you are making proper bets. It is always a good skill in poker to be aware of other players noting their trends and strategies. If you are interested in learning from the best, have a look at tournaments with Texas Hold’em champions like Phil Hellmuth, Justin Bonomo and Daniel Negreanu.
The emergence of Omaha
In recent years, Omaha has become an increasingly popular variation of poker. It has a few key differences from Texas Hold’em, but if you know how to play one it’ll be easy to grasp the other. Players have to use two hole cards out of four and three community cards to try and make a winning hand. In Texas Hold’em, on the other hand, they can use any combination. Since a lot of information is already known in Omaha play, bluffing plays less of a role in this variation, at least at the lowest stakes. Poker positioning is an integral part, this ensures that you can analyse other players’ actions to inform your own strategy. However, on the flip side, if you are out of position then this can make your play far more difficult. Famous professional Omaha players include Phil Galfond, Phil Ivey and Jason Mercier.
Other popular variants
There are a few other variations of poker. Before the popularity of Texas Hold’em, Seven Card Stud was the most known version of poker. In this game, often seven cards are shown upwards. There are no community cards and there is no concept of a flop. Unlike Texas Hold’em, there are five instead of four betting rounds. Recently winning the Seven Card Stud Championship, in the 2022 World Series of Poker, Adam Friedman is one player recognised in the discipline.
Razz is a lowball version of Seven Card Stud, meaning the goal is to make the lowest hand possible. Here, straights and flushes do count against you. Julien Martini is a well-known player who has won Razz events at the World Series of Poker. Regarded as the simplest variation of poker, Five Card Draw only has one betting round after which players can choose to get rid of all their cards or receive new ones.
The accessibility of poker
Recently, poker has undergone significant changes thanks to the boom in online gaming. Online poker has exploded in popularity with platforms such as lucky 7 offering different variants such as Caribbean or Joker poker. Poker players, of any ability, can now easily engage with live poker tables and tournaments with the click of a button. Poker championship tournaments can now effortlessly be watched, attracting a whole new audience. It is exciting to consider the possibilities of how the game might develop as technology evolves. Perhaps, there might be even more variations of poker yet to come.
Now that you’ve learnt the differences and key strategies of these popular variations of poker, hopefully, you can apply this to figure out which variation interests you the most. Regardless of if you’re new to poker or a more experienced player, understanding the types and differences is useful. With the rise of online casinos, accessing the different types, and variants is easy. If you want to learn more there are also many online materials about the history. You can also use guides to help you, check out our cheat sheet below to enhance your understanding of the game.