Types of poker games

Learn different poker games and variations on the rules.

There are many different ways of playing poker. This lesson will introduce you to the most popular poker games and provide an overview of common variations on standard poker rules.

Understanding game types

The various types of poker games are broadly categorised into three groups: draw, stud and community card poker. The games below are organised into their respective groups, along with a brief description of their unique rules.

Draw poker

In following games, players are dealt a complete, hidden hand which they can attempt to improve by replacing a certain number of cards.

  • Five Card Draw: played with traditional hand rankings. All players are dealt five cards, face-down and a round of betting begins. If more than one player remains after the first round, a ‘draw’ phase commences, in which players throw away any number of cards and draw replacements from the deck. A second ‘after the draw’ betting round begins, followed by a showdown. The highest hand wins the pot.
  • Badugi: played with Badugi hand rankings and four card hands. Winning hands should contain all different ranks and suits. Any doubles or matched suits do not count.
  • Baduci: played with Badugi hand rankings and seven lowball hand rankings simultaneously. Players draw five cards and compete for a split pot. One half is won according to Badugi rankings and the other according to lowball deuce-to-seven rankings.
  • California Hi/Lo: essentially identical to Baduci but played with a Joker in the deck as the bug (wild card, with any rank or suit).

Stud poker

In this group of games, players receive a combination of face up and face down cards across multiple betting rounds.

  • Seven Card Stud: played with traditional hand rankings. Two cards are dealt face down to each player, followed by a betting round in which one card is dealt face up. This is repeated three more times, followed by another face-down card. The hand ends with a showdown.
  • Six/Five Card Stud: identical to Seven Card Stud except the last (or last two) face-up cards are omitted.
  • Razz: played with five lowball hand-rankings. Seven cards are dealt but only the five best count towards a player’s hand. Razz is also generally played with limit betting. After antes, each player is dealt two cards face-down (‘hole cards’) and one face-up (the ‘door card’). The highest door card has to ‘bring it in’ with the first mandatory bet: usually a third or half the regular bet but permitted up to the whole regular bet. Other players can either call the best or ‘complete’ by raising to a regular bet. Play then continues as normal. If two or more players have the same door card, the bring-in is determined by suit, with Spades > Hearts > Diamonds > Clubs.
  • Eight-or-Better Hi/Lo Stud: played identically to Seven Card Stud, but the pot is split between the player with the lowest hand and the highest hand. An 8-high hand or lower is required to win. No declaration is required: the cards speak in the showdown.
  • Hi/Lo Stud, no qualifier: largely the same as Eight-or-Better, except there is no qualifier for the low half of the pot.

Community card poker

This group of games is characterised by a number of shared cards (‘the board’) that all players can use to create hands.

  • Texas Hold’em: played with traditional hand rankings and by far the most popular form of poker currently played in casinos. The game begins when each player is dealt two hole cards, followed by a betting round. Subsequently, three community cards are dealt face-up ('the flop’) After another betting round, a single community card is dealt face up ('the turn’), followed by another betting round. Finally, a fifth community card is dealt ('the river’), leading to the final betting round and the showdown.
  • Omaha Hold’em: can be played either with traditional hand rankings or eight lowball hand rankings. In the former, each player receives four hole cards. All other rules are the same as Texas Hold’em. In the latter (Omaha Hi/Lo), each player makes a separate five-card high hand and five-card low hand. The pot is split and divided between the highest and lowest hand (which can be held by the same player.) When playing Omaha, players MUST use two of their hole cards and three community cards to make a hand.

The right poker clients

Try out some of these amazing poker variants at these poker clients, recommended by our experts.

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