Your Guide to the Main Poker Variants – Ever since the game was invented, there have been different variations on the classic casino game of poker. The object of each version carries the same principle – to finish the round with a better hand than your opponents – but there are subtle differences in each one.
This has always been the case but since the game made its way online in the mid-1990s, digital poker operators have been given a free reign to invent new and exciting versions. With the online gambling industry thriving in the modern day, the latest variants sit alongside the old classics and here is a guide to the best poker options, new and old.
If we’re looking at the most popular poker game in the world, Texas Hold’em is the only place to start. From the pub poker nights all the way up to the dazzling Vegas casinos, this is the classic version of the game and for those who have even a basic grasp of poker rules, it’s almost certain that Texas Hold’Em is the version they will have come across.
The game consists of a single, standard 52-card deck and each player is dealt two hole cards with the aim of creating the best five-card hand of the round. This is also known as the pre-flop and is followed by three more cards – the flop, the turn and the river. Betting takes place on each turn of the card before a winner is declared in what is the most common form of poker.
Many other versions of the game existed since way before the digital age, but online poker operators have certainly helped their popularity increase. Away from Texas Hold’Em, the most common variant is likely to be Omaha which has the same ultimate aim but to get to the climax, players have a higher chance of producing a strong hand.
Instead of the two hole cards issued in Texas Hold’Em, all players at the table are issued with four cards on the pre-flop. Three community cards are subsequently dealt and players need to match them with just two of their hole cards in order to form the best possible hand.
A slight variation here is the game known as Omaha Hi/Lo. Many novice players assume they are the same thing but in fact, they are two distinct options and they can both be found at most online operators.
With Hi/Lo, there are two pots up for grabs and players can scoop one with the highest hand and the second with the lowest hand of the round. It’s less common than the standard Omaha poker version but Hi/Lo is an entity in its own right.
Less Common Options
There was a time when Seven Card Stud was the game of choice for many players before Texas Hold’Em came along and blew other versions away. The key difference with this game is that all players are dealt seven cards at the start of each round, three face down and four face up. Players place initial bets and then make the best five card hand from the seven that have been dealt.
There are, therefore, no community cards with this version and while it lacks the drama of the flop, turn and river, Seven Card Stud remains popular in many circles.
We’ve now covered the four main variants of poker and from this point, things start to get a little obscure. Many additional versions have been invented by online operators and while there is a certain element of exclusivity, some games have started to spread and be covered by a number of poker brands.
Included in this list is Snap Poker which, as the name suggests, is a fast-paced variant of the game. It’s designed to reduce waiting time as it deals new cards and moves you to a new table the instant that you fold.
Blast poker is similarly fast as players wait for the timer to tick down before going all in. Another interesting side point with this game is the fact that the prize fund remains a mystery until the round is over and the hand is won.
Poker remains a classic game and some versions will always be more popular than others. Texas Hold’Em endures while Omaha and Seven Card Stud retain a loyal following but the rise in online poker play has given us even more opportunities to play subtle variants of poker. That’s the beauty of online play where old classics sit alongside promising newcomers, giving us more choice in terms of poker play than ever before.