Types of Poker

Types of poker that are easy to learn

As someone new to poker, you might be surprised by how many variations there are available. To help you differentiate between the different types of poker and understand which are easy to learn as a beginner, we’ve put together this guide.

Seven of the most common types of poker are:

Texas Hold ‘em
Tequila Poker
Omaha Poker
Seven Card Stud
Five Card Draw
Razz Poker
Crazy Pineapple
High-low Chicago 

If you’re eager to learn a particular type of poker, click the link to jump straight to the rules of that game. For a broader overview of each, feel free to take it from here.

Texas Hold ’em

Texas Hold ’em has been around since the early 20th century and is one of the most popular types of poker. While the principles of gameplay are the same as other poker games, there are some differences. For example, Texas Hold ’em uses ‘community’ cards – five cards that are dealt face-up on the table.

The fast rule in Texas Hold ’em is that the deck is shuffled between every hand, so the deal is random. Because of this rule, players must place their bets based on the hand that they’re holding.

The stages of play

Texas Hold ‘em uses a standard 52 card pack with no jokers. To begin, the deck is shuffled and play moves on in the following stages:

  1. Pre-flop– each player is dealt two ‘hole’ cards (face down)
  2. The flop– three ‘community’ cards are dealt (face up)
  3. The turn – otherwise known as ‘fourth street’, is the addition of a fourth community card
  4. The river– otherwise known as ‘fifth street’, is the addition of a fifth community card

Rounds of betting take place after each step when players can check, call, raise or fold.

Your aim is to put together the best five-card poker hand from the seven cards you’re dealt (two ‘hole’ cards and the five ‘community’ cards). If these cards happen to all be ‘community’ cards, this is known as ‘playing the board’. There’s no need to include a hole card in your final hand.

The end game

Two possible scenarios will end a game of Texas Hold. The first is a ‘showdown’, where the two or more players left in the game reveal their cards and the best hand wins. The second scenario occurs when all but one player has folded, and that player takes the pot.

Texas Hold ’em strategy

To succeed at Texas Hold ‘em you want to play a ‘tight’ and ‘aggressive’ game. You don’t need to win every hand; instead, evaluate each hand and only raise when in a strong position.

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Tequila Poker

Tequila Poker is a fast-paced combination of blackjack and poker. However, you’re not playing against the dealer or other players.

Like most types of poker, the game starts with placing the first bet (the ante). Then, you’re dealt four cards face up, at which point you have three choices:

  • Go for high tequila: you aim to make the highest value five-card hand. If your hand totals 45 or less, you lose.
  • Go for tequila: you aim to build the best conventional poker hand you can.
  • Fold and forfeit

To continue with tequila or high tequila you must double your bet. From here, you’ll be dealt two more cards giving you a total of six. Out of the six cards you now hold, you want to make the best five-card hand you can for the best payout.

The cards carry the same value as they do in blackjack except that in high tequila the Ace is always valued at 11.

Tequila Poker tips

  1. Prepare to fold often, as you have to double your ante every time you play for money.
  2. As a guide, a good starting hand for high tequila will total 28 or more.
  3. Check the payout tables to see what the biggest payout potential is for your hand.
  4. As Tequila Poker is available online, check out our 7 Tips for Playing Poker Online.

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Omaha Poker (including Omaha Hold ‘em)

Omaha Hold ‘em is the second most popular type of poker after Texas Hold ‘em and like Texas Hold ‘em is easy to understand. What makes Omaha poker exciting for beginners and professionals is the constant action. In this game, most people play right up to the end.

Omaha Hold ’em is a combination of two poker games: Omaha Poker and Texas Hold ’em. In the original Omaha Poker game, players are dealt two hole cards and must use these, plus community cards, to make their hand. This differs to ‘draw games’, where your hand only includes hole cards. Across all the versions of Omaha Poker, the use of two hole cards remains consistent.

In North American casinos the term ‘Omaha’ can refer to the following types of Omaha Poker: ‘Omaha high’, ‘Omaha Hi-Lo’, ‘Omaha eight-or-better’ or ‘Omaha/8’. In Europe, ‘Omaha’ normally refers to the high variation of the game, where you limit the size of the prize pot. You’ll often see this variant abbreviated to PLO.

How does Omaha Hold’em differ to Texas Hold ’em?

The main difference with this type of poker is that whereas you’re dealt four hole cards in Texas Hold ’em, you’re dealt two in Omaha Hold ’em. The betting rounds and layout of community cards are the same.

At showdown, the winner is the player with the highest scoring five-card hand.  Unlike in Texas Hold ’em, in the Omaha version a player can’t win with four or five cards on the board if fewer than two are their own. Neither can he or she use three or four hole cards to disguise a powerful hand.

Omaha specific scenarios:

  • A player with a 2? 3? K? J? can play the spade flush. The same thing applies to straights; in Omaha, a player can’t use one hole card and four cards to play with a straight
  • Two pairs on the board doesn’t make a full house for anyone with an individual card that is fitting as it does in Texas Hold ’em
  • A player with 10? 5? 5? 2? can use his 5-5 to play the complete house J? J? 5? 5? 5?
  • Also, in an Omaha Hold ’em hand, a player must have a pair with three of a kind on the board to make a full house

Seven Card Stud

Seven Card Stud was popular before Texas Hold ’em became the ‘in’ game to play. Seven Card Stud involves more skill than other types of poker, which makes it slightly harder to learn.

Key differences between Seven Card Stud and Texas Hold ’em

  • There are no community cards
  • No blinds are present – instead, the forced bets are the ante and bring in
  • There are five betting rounds (Texas Hold ’em has four)
  • Where you’re positioned doesn’t give you an advantage – the cards determine who acts first
  • Your opponent must show you some of their cards during a hand

The basics of Seven Card Stud

Gaming goes clockwise and players can call, fold or raise. After betting is over, players are dealt another card face up. This routine continues to the sixth card, after which players are dealt a face-down card (the seventh). After the closing round of betting, everyone shows their hand.

Whoever has the best five-card hand from the seven dealt wins the game.

Betting tips

  1. Bet against one or two remaining players if you are already holding a high pair or better.
  2. If you have an Ace or King in the first three cards, stay in the game. Play hard from the beginning if you have a pair of either one.
  3. Stay in for two more cards if the first three cards are the same suit or make a sequence. If you have a fourth that matches the sequence or the suit, then continue. Otherwise, you fold after the fifth card.

Unlike flop games like Omaha and Texas Hold ’em, every betting level of Seven Card Stud differs. In Seven Card Stud, the antes and forced bets change in relation to the gaming structure. So, a player should be ready to make certain tactical alterations. The best Stud players are the ones who change gear and adapt their style of play to suit the structure of the game in front of them.

Five Card Draw

Five Card Draw is a well-known five card poker game. Nowadays, this type of poker is more often played at home than at casinos. Five card draw is one of the simplest variations of poker, which is why it’s often the first poker game people learn. In this game, whether you win is mostly down to the cards you’re dealt, but skill and strategy still play a role.

The rules

Aim: To make the best five-card hand.

Gameplay: Following the five card deal, the first round of betting takes place. After your first bet, you can exchange up to three cards (or in some games four). The second round of betting follows and the player with the best hand takes the pot.

There are two ways of playing Five Card Draw:

From the ante – this is the original version of the Five Card Draw. Before the cards are dealt, each player must give a certain amount to the pot.

From the dark – when playing from the dark, there’s a small and big blind from the first and second player to the left of the dealer.

Five card draw strategy

Due to the game’s simplicity, your strategy will often depend on what you know about the others in the game. Specifically, how you can use that to gain a psychological advantage.

If you know someone is a ‘tight’ player who’s selective about the hands they play, you need to hold a strong hand to bet against them. On the other hand, if your opponents know that you’re a ‘tight’ player, you can raise before the draw to throw them off. Use this bluff sparingly or the other players will catch on.

You should also take the size of ante into consideration. If the ante is 50% or more of the betting limit, play a looser game as the pot will be bigger. A small ante of around 15% would mean smaller pots, so play a tighter game.

Watch your opponents’ play carefully. In this game, drawing only one card is a good indication that someone is going for a straight, a flush or a full house.

The position is important in Five Card Draw. In the first position, you need at least two kings or higher. In the second position, you need a jack or higher.

If you have great cards, a good strategy is to slow-play your hand (make it out to be weaker than it is) letting others bet before you raise. This way, you’ll have as much money as possible in the pot.

Remember: if your hand is junk and you’re in an early position, it’s too risky to bet. In a late position, it’s easier as you have more oversight. Also, you can convince players who might have better hands to fold.

Razz Poker

Razz is distinct from most types of poker because it’s a “low” game – you’re aiming to make the hand with the lowest value rather than the highest. The rules of Razz are similar to Seven Card Stud in that seven cards are dealt, but only five are played.

Razz poker rules

Use a standard 52 card deck. To begin, deal each player a ‘hole’ card and a ‘door card’ face up.

As is the case for Stud Poker, the player with the highest ‘door’ card places the mandatory first bet. Normally, one-third or half of the regular bet. This is known as ‘bringing it’ and the player can complete the bet by raising the regular bet. After this, betting follows regular increments.

If there are two equal door cards, the bring is determined by suit: Spades (high), Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs (low).

After the first round of betting, deal another face-up card. The next round begins with the lowest hand showing and play continues in this vein until the fifth card when the betting increments double.

The dealer places the seventh card face down and betting starts with the same player as on the sixth card.

What are the differences between Razz and Seven Card Stud poker?

  1. How to decide the winning hand at the end – low rather than high
  2. Aces are low in Razz, which means the highest value card is the King of Spades
  3. The player who starts the action on any given street (betting round) is the player with the lowest showing hand.

Razz strategy

As Razz is a ‘low’ game, the best starting hand you could have is Ace, 2, 3. As a rule, only play unpaired cards that are under eight.

Always keep an eye on the ‘door’ cards in play to assess the likelihood of pairing up on the draw. You’re more likely to avoid pairing up if there are cards of the same value as those in your hand already visible on the table.

To steal the antes and bring-in bets, see if you’re showing a lower card than the ‘bring-in’ player. If you are and everyone else folds, you should raise.

Card shortage

When eight players are at the table, there is a small possibility that the dealer will run out of cards during play. This happens when nobody folds before the 7th and the final card is about to be dealt. In this instance, the dealer deals the last card face up in the centre of the table. Here, it acts as a community card and everyone at the table will use this one card as part of their hand.

Crazy Pineapple

Crazy Pineapple is an exciting variation of Texas Hold ’em Poker because you can win more money! The biggest difference between Crazy Pineapple and Texas Hold ’em is that in Crazy Pineapple every player gets three ‘hole’ cards, but they must discard one after the flop.

As most players enter the flop with a higher hand, there are usually more people betting at the flop. As a result, the prize pot is bigger.

Basic rules

  • Pre-flop – Every player starts off with three cards in the ‘hole’ (face down). This is when the first round of betting takes place.
  • Flop – The dealer uncovers three community cards. The second betting phase follows, where each player discards one of their ‘hole’ cards.
  • Turn – The dealer reveals a fourth community card and another betting round follows.
  • River – The dealer places the last community card.
  • The showdown – The remaining players go to a showdown after the final round of bets 

As in Texas Hold’em, in Crazy Pineapple you can use:

  • Both of your hole cards and three community cards
  • One hole card and four community cards
  • Or all five community cards and none of your hole cards

Crazy Pineapple betting structure

There are four betting rounds in Crazy Pineapple – pre-flop, flop, the turn and the river.

Every bet and raise during the first two rounds (pre-flop and flop) can only be the amount of the small blind. In the last two rounds (the turn and the river) the bets double to the amount of the big blind.

The maximum number of bets per player is four, i.e. a bet, a raise, a re-raise and a cap after which players must call or fold.

Crazy Pineapple strategy

Crazy Pineapple starting hand strategy requires you to think how you would for Omaha poker. This is because you’re looking for hands that are connected either by value or by suit.

To draw three aces isn’t the strongest of starts as one of those aces must be discarded on the flop. One ace is now out of play, and there is only one left in the deck.

Use the third card, which is discarded, to gain more information about the game. Knowing a card isn’t in play anymore gives you an advantage.

High pairs often represent a good starting hand – lower pairs are trickier to play as you can usually only win by getting a set.

Try to play a tight game instead of playing too many hands and relying on the flop. Remember that everybody else has three cards too, so playing lots of hands will often go against you.

Lazy Pineapple

Lazy Pineapple, also known as Tahoe Pineapple, is a variant of Crazy Pineapple. In this take on the game, players don’t discard their third card until after the last round of bets.

High Low Chicago

High Low Chicago is a variant of Seven Card Stud and can be played for either the highest or the lowest hand.

In High Low Chicago, the player with the highest or lowest spade in the hole (face down) wins half the pot. The player with the best hand wins the other half of the pot. If someone has the best hand and the winning spade (high or low), he or she wins the entire pot.

To begin, the dealer gives each player one card face up. The player with the lowest face-up card subsequently makes a bring-in-bet. You usually determine the value of the bring-in bet before the game starts. A round of betting then happens during which each player will call, raise or fold.

Remember the gambling round should begin with the player who has the highest hand. The players then left in the game receive a final card face down.

Tip: To prevent any misunderstandings at the end, it’s important that the dealer establishes whether the two of spades or the ace of spades will act as the lowest spade.

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