Some of us may remember the simple days when poker was just a game of five-card draw with our grandparents. However, poker has undergone quite a bit of development over the years; now you can find all kinds of variations on online poker sites. From large table games to small battles between man and machine, each variant offers something unique to pioneering players who are ready to experiment with the abundant range of options. Here’s a handy guide to the best online poker variants you can find on the market.
Texas Hold’em Poker
Texas Hold’em is probably the most popular online poker variant of all time. Each player is dealt two cards face down along with five cards face up, known as community cards, which are available to all players in hand. This means each participant has a total of seven cards to assemble the best poker hand possible. The first three community cards revealed are referred to as “the flop”, while the fourth one is “the turn” and the fifth “the river”. There are several rounds of betting as each of these community cards is dealt. The winner will be revealed after the last card; the river has been dealt: the player with the best five-card hand, consisting of one or two of their hole cards and three or four community cards, wins the game.
Tense and strategic, Texas Hold’em is hands down the poker master’s game of choice. Beginners, you might want to spend some time freshening up on the strategy before playing!
Seven-Card Stud Poker
Before Texas Hold’em was invented, seven-card stud poker was the king of the poker table. Each hand starts with two cards being dealt with players face down, followed by one face up. The player with the lowest face-up card will place the first bet. A betting round follows every card dealt. The fourth, fifth and sixth cards dealt will be facing up, and the seventh one will be facing down. Same as Texas Hold’em, the goal of the game is to finish with the best five-card hand.
Nevertheless, no community cards are dealt in seven-card stud, which results in fewer high hands. Hence, seven-card stud is more about calculating odds and aggressive early betting.
Three Card Poker
Possibly originating from Three Card Brag, a 16th-century British card game, Three Card Poker is tailored for fast thinkers and is an excellent starter for online poker beginners. During the game, individual players line up against the dealer. Ante bets are placed before each player is dealt three cards face up, while the dealer obtains three cards face down. Players will then have a choice to fold, forgoing their stake, or continue to play by placing a second bet equal to their first. After that, hands are exposed, and wagers will be resolved.
If the dealer wants to play, their hand must be Queen high or better. No second bets will be placed if the dealer does not play and ante wagers will be paid 1 to 1. On the contrary, if the dealer does play, the dealer’s hand and the player’s hand will be compared.
If the player’s hand beats the dealer’s hand, the ante bet and play bet will be paid even money. In the case of the dealer’s hand being equal to the player’s hand, the player will be returned his ante and play bets. However, if the player’s hand is worse than the dealer’s hand, they will lose both the ante and play bets.
Pai Gow Poker
Created in 1985, Pai Gow Poker is a relatively new variant that successfully takes online poker to the next level. Similar to Three Card Poker, players are pit against the dealer. Seven cards will be dealt with each of the players, and they’ll have to create two poker hands out of the cards: a five-card “High” hand and a two-card “Low” hand. The rank of the five-card hand must exceed that of the two-card hand.
Stakes are split evenly between the two hands before they’re compared to the dealer’s corresponding hands. Winning hands pay 1 to 1, and therefore the key is to make both hands as competitive as possible.
Omaha is an entertaining alternative to Texas Hold’em. While the two variations are somewhat similar, Omaha differentiates itself with a few exciting twists. One of the key differences is that you’re dealt four cards instead of the two in Texas Hold’em. You must use two of the four cards alongside three of the five community cards. The betting rounds are identical to those in Texas Hold’em, but the odds of landing bigger runs, for instance, a straight or flush, are far better. This makes Omaha a tense, thrilling and risky game to play.