Poker variants – Knowing the most popular ones

There are several poker variants. The rules of the variants differ slightly but the fundamentals are the same. The number of poker variants is easily over 120. Players receive five cards, seven cards, face up and face down depending on the variant of poker. 

The biggest casinos will offer you as many poker variants as possible. In this article, I’ll be talking about the three most popular poker variants. And they are Seven-Card Stud, Texas Hold’em, and Omaha/8. 

Seven-Card Stud – The Former King of Poker Variants

Seven-Card Stud used to be the most popular variant of poker. However, its popularity has declined over the years. Several casinos still offer the game and it is a game of choice of all poker variants for beginners. And this is because it is easy for beginners to understand the game than other poker variants. 

As the name suggests, you receive seven cards in Seven-Card Stud. You’ll receive two cards face-down, four cards face-up while the final card will be face-down. But the goal here is for you and other players to make the best five-card hand possible. 

To win in Seven-Card Stud, you must first make it to the seventh street without folding. After that, you must have the best hand during the showdown. Showdown is when all the players reveal their cards to know the best hands. This occurs when all betting ends. 

Things to know before playing Seven-Card Stud

  • Everyone at the table pays an ante before the dealer distributes the cards. 
  • Each player receives the first two cards face down and the third card face up. 
  • The first betting round begins. 
  • The player with the highest face upward card has the opportunity to bet first. 
  • The first player has the opportunity to check, call, fold, or raise. 
  • The other players also take action.
  • The dealer deals the fourth card face up and another betting round takes place. 
  • The player with the highest-ranking hand bet first. 
  • The dealer deals the fifth card face-up. Another betting round takes place. 
  • The dealer deals the sixth card face-up. Then, followed by another betting round.
  • Here, the dealer deals the seventh card face-down. Then, a betting round takes place, and the players reveal their cards during showdown.  
  • The winner takes the pot. 

Stud’s Basic Strategies

Like all poker variants, Seven-Card Stud has several strategies players implement. The decision you make in the first betting round is the most important one. And the strength of your starting hand will determine if you should continue or fold. 

Three-of-a-kind is the best starting hand you can get in stud. And it’s even better if it is three aces. You should only remain in the game if you have a good starting hand. 

There are other variants of Seven-Card Stud like Razz, and High-low Spirit.

Texas Hold’em: The King of Poker Variants

Without any doubt, Texas Hold’em is the king of poker variants today. And it gets more exposure than other poker variants. You’ll discover that the most successful Texas Hold’em players went on to become celebrities.

Texas Hold’em differs from Stud in bettings as well as the manner cards are dealt. Hold’em uses community cards that are shared with other players. And all players will use these community cards to complete their hand. This is one of the main reasons why Texas Hold’em is more exciting than most other poker variants. 

An overview of Texas Hold’em

  • The first betting round starts when everyone at the table receives two hole cards. 
  • The dealer then puts three cards face-up at the center of the table. 
  • The second betting round takes place. 
  • The fourth face-up card is then put on the table by the dealer. 
  • The third betting round starts.
  • The fifth face-up card goes to the center of the table.
  • The fourth and final betting round takes place. If you have not folded yet, you reveal your cards during the showdown. And the player with the best hand wins the pot.

Omaha/8: The most entertaining of all poker variants?

Omaha/8 is a game full of action. Many people consider it to be the most entertaining of all poker variants. After Texas Hold’em, Omaha/8 is the second variant of poker that comes to the mind of most people. 

A reason for the popularity of Omaha/8 is that the pot is split for the best high hand and best low hand. That’s why Omaha/8 is also called Better High-Low Split Poker. 

The chances of forming strong hands is increased in Omaha/8 because you have nine cards to build hands from. It’s important you have good starting hands before you enter a pot. If not, fold and wait for the next session. 

Avoiding poker pitfalls

As you navigate the various poker variants, there are certain pitfalls you must avoid. Poker is a very complicated game and even the most experienced players still learn something new every day. In this subheading, I’ll be giving you some basic advice that can help you take your game to the next level. 

  • Avoid playing too many hands. This is a mistake many beginners make. 
  • Have a budget and stick to it.
  • Do not get attached to a particular hand.
  • Try not to be predictable. Mix up your game with bluffs and unexpected check-raises. 
  • Don’t make the game personal by focussing on a single player. 
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