Understanding Different Poker Games


Whether playing poker on an online site like Poker Stars, or in your favourite local casino, choosing a game can sometimes seem like it requires a whole other language. With the knowledge of just a few crucial terms, however, you can understand the essential rules of different poker games just from their names.

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 a mix of face-down and face-up cards, with no community cards. The most popular variety is 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 variation of seven-card stud, 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 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 five-card draw each player receives five cards.
  • Rounds – a round of betting is generally played after initial hands are dealt, and then each time 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.

Unusual variants of poker games will usually include the above terms to make players aware of the rules. For example, 7-card Hi-Low Limit Stud is a stud poker game with seven cards dealt to each player, using set betting amounts, where the highest and lowest hand can split the winnings. But the best way to cement these rules in your mind is to see them in practice. You can sign up for free on Winner Poker today to see all these games in action.

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