Understanding Different Poker Games

The poker game is often intimidating for new players because there are many different types and rules. However, with just a few key terms, you can understand the basics of how each type plays differently without having to learn an entirely new language!

Popular Poker Games

  • Texas Hold ’em – players hold two cards each and combine them with five community cards to make a final hand of five cards.
  • Omaha – players hold four cards, and make a hand by combining any two of these with any three out of the five community cards.
  • Stud – players are dealt face-down and face-up cards, with no community cards. The most popular variety is a seven-card stud, with three cards down and four cards up, with players trying to make the best five-card hand they can.
  • Razz – a seven-card stud variation in which the lowest hand wins.
  • Draw – players are each dealt a complete hand, with no community cards. They then choose cards from their hand to return to the dealer in exchange for new cards. Five-card draw is the most common version.
  • Badugi – an increasingly popular variant of the four-card draw, where the lowest hand wins.

Variations of Game Rules

  • Limit – all bets are a fixed amount (e.g. they must be equal to the value of the big blind, must be double the big blind, etc.)
  • No-Limit – bet sizes are chosen by you, with no maximum restrictions.
  • Pot-Limit – bet sizes are chosen by you, but can only go as high as the total amount already in the pot.
  • Number of Cards – when this isn’t a pre-set amount (like it is in Hold’ em), the name of the game will tell you how many cards you receive. For instance, in a five-card draw, each player receives five cards.
  • Rounds – a round of betting is generally played after initial hands are dealt, and subsequent cards are dealt. In seven-card stud, for example, three cards are dealt first, followed by further betting rounds for each subsequent deal (where one card is given to every player).
  • Hi-Low or High-Low – a game where both the highest hand and lowest hand can win, splitting the pot. The qualifying limit for the low hand should be specified. For example, in ‘eight or better, a low hand must be below 8-high. (Any poker game that includes hand ranks in the title will usually make you aware of qualifying winning hands in this way.)
  • Lowball – a form of poker where hands are ranked by how low they are (such as Razz). This may or may not take into account suits and consecutive cards.

If you’re looking to get into poker, some important rules will help your game. For example, 7-card Hi/Low Limit Stud is a stud game with seven cards dealt out, and each player has set betting amounts according to their rank in sticking within these guidelines; however, what’s most important about them (and see this played live) would be learning how high or low hand can split winnings if they do not have flush etc., so make sure never miss an opportunity!