Poker is the most popular card game in the world. Whether you’re an experienced Texas Hold’em player or you’re still unsure exactly what a blind is, knowing how to play poker is a great life skill to learn, but there’s more than one version of the game.
The most famous version is Texas Hold’em – this is the kind of poker you’ll recognise from poker tournaments and movie scenes, but there are dozens of variants that are played all over the world both in casinos and at home.
Arguably the five main types of poker are:
- Texas Hold’em
- Seven Card Stud
- Five Card Draw
Before we get to explaining these different games, let’s first look at some key terms that are essential in poker.
Key Poker Terms
You’ve probably heard the term ‘up the ante’ – this is where it comes from! The ante is the minimum bet required for all players to make in order to take part in the game. The ante appears in both draw and stud poker (more on this later).
There are typically two blinds – one big and one small. These are agreed amounts of money that must be put down before any cards have been dealt. This ensures that there is always some money in play to be won.
Once a bet has been placed, anyone who wants to stay in play must at the very least ‘call’ the bet, and match the raised wager.
If there has been no new bet placed and a player has already matched any existing wagers and raises, they can choose to ‘check’ and stay in the game without making a further raise.
If a player wishes to increase their wager, they need to ‘raise’ the stakes by increasing their bet.
Now we’ve covered a few poker basics, let’s get into the five main types of poker.
A community poker game, Texas Hold’em is the most popular, and involves every player being dealt two cards (‘hold’ cards) face-down, and a total of five community cards being placed in the middle, face-up, in three stages. Using a combination of the communal cards on the table and the two hold cards in each player’s hand, the aim of the game is to achieve the best five-card hand.
Five Card Draw
One of the easiest versions of poker to master, Five Card Draw begins with either an ante (paid by everyone prior to any cards being dealt) or a small / big blind which players take it in turns to pay. Each player is dealt five cards at the beginning of the game, followed by a round of betting, and then players are able to swap up to four cards to improve their hand. It’s a quick and easy version of the game and is great for beginners.
Omaha Hold’em is like Texas Hold’em in many ways, with five community cards placed face-up in the middle of the table. Where the game differs is that instead of two cards, each player is dealt four and must use two of them, plus three of the community cards, to create the best five-card hand possible.
Seven Card Stud
Stud poker is different from community poker and was at one point the most popular version of the game among pro players. To start the game, each player is dealt three cards – one face-up and two face-down. Whoever has the lowest scoring card must pay the ‘bring-in’ – a small bet which starts the game. Throughout play, each player is dealt a total of seven cards, from which they must make the best five-card hand they can.
Similar to Seven Card Stud, Razz begins with everyone putting in their ante, then each player is dealt three cards, one of which is face-up. In Razz, Aces are low; and the person with the lowest face-down card (AKA the ‘door card’) must pay half of the minimum small bet amount in order to start the game. There are a further four rounds in which more cards are dealt followed by a round of betting. With Razz, the hand ranking is slightly different – check out the complete rules of Razz for more details.
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