Poker has a vast number of variants, from large table games to battles between man and machine. Each one offers something different to pioneering players ready to explore the rich range of options, so we've compiled a quick guide to the best poker variants currently available online.
Texas Hold'em Poker is the staple of poker tables around the world, and the most commonly played variation online. Each player is dealt two cards, before several rounds of betting as each one of five community cards are revealed. Tense, tactical and requiring plenty of thought, this is truly the poker master's game of choice. Poker newbies might want to freshen up on Texas Hold'em strategy ahead of the game.
Played without the pressure of rivals around the table, players can see and bet on any of the four hands laid. Hold out for the 'flop', turn' or 'river' in a bid to bag the best odds (or lowest risk). Available at Betfair Poker, Exchange Poker is an excellent place to pick up the odds and tactics of Texas Hold'em Poker, particularly as you can watch as many hands as you like before placing a bet.
Available at Ladbrokes Poker and 888 Poker, Texas Choose'em is a fast-paced alternative to the carefully considered Exchange Poker. Players are presented with two full hands of five cards, one face up, the other face down. They must then choose which they deem to be the highest scoring poker hand. Winnings can be rolled over until the player chooses to collect. While less useful than Exchange Poker as a teaching aid, it's a great test of nerve ahead of a trip to the table.
Before the advent of Hold'em, Seven Card Stud Poker was king of the poker table. With no community cards, players bet solely on the cards they're dealt, which means fewer high hands: so there's generally fewer frayed nerves as less players chase straights and flushes. Instead, there's a greater focus on calculating odds and aggressive early betting.
Similar to a slot machine, players bet an initial wager, before being dealt (or sometimes spun) five cards. They can then hold any number of the cards, before re-spinning/dealing a final time. Any hand containing a pair of jacks or better is awarded a fixed payout. It's quick, simple, and great for those with a head for probabilities and a desire for rapid-fire poker plays.
Possibly derived from the 16th Century British card game of Three Card Brag, Three Card Poker is another option for quick thinkers; and a good starter for poker newbies.
The game pits individual players against the dealer. Players bet before being dealt their cards face up, while the dealer receives three cards face down. The player may then fold, forfeiting their stake, or play, and place a second bet equal to the first. Wins pay out 1/1, and the house edge is usually a reasonable 3-4%.
Pai Gow Poker is a rare treat, a new poker variant that enriches and enhances the game. Some might even argue it doubles the fun.
Again, players line up against the dealer (or a designated 'banker'). Each participant is then dealt seven cards, which must be arranged ('set') into two hands: a five card 'High' hand, containing the best poker hand, and a two card 'Low' hand. Stakes are split evenly between them, before they're pitted against the dealer's equivalent (i.e. High vs High and Low vs Low). Winning hands pay 1/1, so the aim is to make both hands as competitive as possible.
Another relative newbie on the poker scene, Tequila Poker combines elements of poker and Blackjack.
After the initial bet, players are dealt four cards face up. They must then decide whether to fold, play High Tequila or play Tequila Poker. The former means wagering on a points total, the aim being a total of 46 or more from five cards. The latter means wagering on a decent poker hand. This a brilliantly barmy fusion is not for the faint-hearted.
It might be similar to Texas Hold'em Poker, but Omaha Poker has a few twists that make it an entertaining alternative. One of a few key difference is that players are dealt four cards rather than two. Even though they must use two of their cards alongside three of the five community cards in their final hand, the odds of landing bigger runs like a straight or flush are much better; making this a tense, exciting and potentially risky alternative.
The deal in Omaha Hi-Low Split-8-or-better, often called Omaha Hi-Low or Omaha/8, is the same as Omaha Hold'em Poker (four per player and five community cards), but players must make two hands: a high hand containing the best cards, and a low hand.
For both hands to qualify, a player's low hand must not contain any cards higher than an eight. This makes is similar to Pai Gow Poker, but much more complex. A definite challenge for experimenting pros to play with!