WPT Global: Must Know Variations Of Poker
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For anyone who started playing poker after 2003, there was only one variant of poker that everyone learned first. It was no-limit Texas hold'em, the game that earned Chris Moneymaker a million bucks. However, no-limit hold'em is not the only game in town and if you want to get to grips with poker, you'll need to learn a few key variants.
So, maybe you're looking to spice up your home game, learn some new poker skills, or accommodate that one friend who is super into pot-limit razz. Whatever your reasons for wanting to expand your poker horizons, the team at WPT Global has put together a list of must-know poker variants to take you out of your comfort zone and to the next level.
Five Card Draw
Older players will remember a time when Five Card Draw was the default form of poker instead of hold'em. It was the game you'd see in sitcoms and play with matchstick at a family game night. Each player receives five cards, there is a round of betting, then players can "draw" (discard cards from their hands and receive new cards from the deck). There can be up to three rounds of drawing, though one or two is more typical.
There are no community cards in this game, just the five in your hand after the last draw.
Nowadays, the most common draw games are played as lowball variants (lowest hand wins) as either no-limit single draw or limit triple draw. In fact, they're so popular we'll come back to them in detail at the end of this article.
There's no escaping Texas hold'em. Since the poker boom, Texas hold'em has replaced five card draw as the default poker game in the popular imagination. As a result, this is by far the single most useful poker variant to know and master.
Two hole cards, four betting rounds, and five community cards. Hand rankings and action are the same as five-card draw games, with players using any five cards from their hole and the community cards to make the best hand. Action is prompted by a pair of forced bets (called "the blinds") before the deal, with play then going clockwise from the dealer.
You can spice your hold'em game up with a few variants like Chicago (the highest spade in the hole wins half the pot) and pineapple (three hole cards with one discarded before the flop is dealt).
Omaha hold'em is a variation on Texas hold'em where players receive four hole cards. The only other main difference is that each player must use exactly two hole and three community cards for their five-card poker hand (in Texas hold'em you can use any combination of hole and/or community cards).
Other than this the action is exactly the same as Texas hold'em.
Like most poker variants, Omaha can be played in limit, no-limit, or pot-limit variants. Pot-limit Omaha is by far the most popular, though high-low variants are often also played as limit games. No-limit Omaha is rare due to the high-variance nature of the game.
Omaha high-low is a fun and popular Omaha variant to have up your sleeve. In high-low games, half the pot goes to the best poker hand, and half to the worst.
There are usually two refinements to determining the low hand. The first of these is that straights or flushes do not count for the low hand (e.g. A♠2♠3♠4♠5♠ is a straight flush for the high-hand but is a 5-high for the low hand). The second adjustment is that low hands can only include cards ranked eight or lower (this is the "eights-or-better" rule).
After the hold'em variants, seven card stud is probably the next most popular form of modern poker. Before the poker boom, this could be found in just about every US poker room and served as the main game that draw players would graduate to as they left their matchsticks behind for proper chips.
The hand starts with every player receiving three cards — two face-down and one face-up. The player with the lowest cards in their exposed hand starts the action each round. In the first round, this player makes a forced bet called the "bring in," usually between half and a quarter of a small bet (they also have the option to "complete," betting the full amount of one small bet). Another face up card is dealt to each player and betting round follows. This continues until all remaining players have seven cards with the last card being dealt face down and followed by a final betting round.
Note that there are no community cards in stud.
Stud is also played as a lowball game (called "razz") and as a high-low game with or without an eights-or-better rule.
2-7 Triple Draw
The deuce-to-seven triple draw variant brings us back to the world of five-card draw games. The 2-7 in the name indicates the best possible hand in this variant. In 2-7 lowball, aces are high and both flushes and straights count against your hand. As a result, the best possible hand is 2x3x4x5x7x in at least two suits.
A royal flush is now the worst possible hand.
Play runs from the left of the dealer, with blinds (like in hold'em) to start the action. Each player gets five cards, then there is a betting round. After that players alternate drawing rounds and betting rounds three more times before the showdown.
A no-limit version with a single draw is also very popular. Both variants appear at the WSOP and one or both are part of most versions of the eight-game and fourteen-game mix.
Did You Know the World Poker Tour is Online?
If you want to get some practice in on these variants of poker, you can play most of them on WPT Global.
The launch of WPT Global means that poker players around the world now have the chance to win their way to WPT events, win prizes and enjoy exciting games such as Poker Flips. As one of the world's largest cash game poker networks, WPT Global is available in over 50 countries and territories around the world.
WPT Global offers a large deposit match bonus: 100% on deposits up to $1,200 (using any payment method). New players depositing a minimum of $20 automatically receive this match bonus which is unlocked in $2.50 increments (credited straight to the cashier) for every $10 of rake contribution.
Both tournaments and cash games count towards bonus unlocking and new players have 90 days from the date of the first deposit to unlock and claim their full bonus amount.
In addition to the bonus, you also receive some free tournament tickets depending on the size of your deposit. Check out the table below for more details:
|Players||Deposit No.||Min Deposit||Reward||Total Rewards|
|New only||1st||$20||$11 Mini Slam ticket||$11 Mini Slam ticket|
|New and Existing||2nd||$20||$11 Mini Slam ticket||2x $11 Mini Slam tickets|
|New and Existing||Deposit of $300+||$300||$110 Sunday Slam ticket||$11 Mini Slam and $110 Sunday Slam ticket|
|New and Existing||Deposit of $1,200+||$1,200||2x $110 Sunday Slam tickets||$11 Mini Slam and 3x $110 Sunday Slam tickets|