Variations of Poker | Types of Poker Games

Variations of Poker | Types of Poker Games

Variations of Poker – Types of Poker Games

Today if we see, Texas Hold’em doesn’t reign alone as the sole poker game that you can play online. Nowadays, there’s an abundance of poker variations for players to choose from. In this article, we’ll talk about the variations of poker while shedding light on the different types of poker games and how popular they are.

Variations of Poker – Types of Poker Games

  1. Texas Hold’em
  2. 7-Card Stud
  3. Omaha Hi
  4. 5-Card Draw
  5. Omaha Hi-Lo
  6. 3 Card Poker
  7. Badugi
  8. 2-7 Triple Draw
  9. Razz
  10. 5-Card Omaha
  11. Pineapple
  12. Chinese Poker
  13. HORSE
  14. Short Deck
  15. Video Poker

Variations Of Poker: Texas Hold’em

This variant of poker is so popular that you can find this type of poker game wherever poker is offered. Need we say more? Texas Hold’em, the flagship game, boasts a wide array of tables and stakes for players to choose from. Many players, regardless of their level of expertise, have become acquainted with No Limit (NL) Texas Hold’em since the early 2000s. It has received extensive coverage on TV and has also gained immense popularity, thanks to the easily comprehensible hand rankings and rules that it comes with.

Players who were inspired by this poker variation not only found it effortless to learn but also gained the convenience of playing from their homes, thanks to the Internet. Years later, this boom strengthened No Limit Texas Hold’em as the pinnacle of poker, the most sought-after variant of the game.

7-Card Stud

Unlike other types of poker games that involve hole cards and community cards for players to form their hands, each player in 7-Card Stud receives their own unique set of cards. Some cards are hidden from view, facedown, while others are exposed and visible to all opponents. 

Once a famous game, 7-Card Stud has now taken a backseat to other variations of poker. Nowadays, it is usually played in specific tournaments, either exclusively dedicated to Stud or featuring a mix of different variants.

7-Card Stud offers the excitement of receiving your own hand while still being able to observe four of your opponents’ cards. It creates a dynamic and engaging playing environment.

Variations Of Poker: Omaha Hi

Omaha Hi is one of the most popular poker games that introduce a slight twist to the traditional Texas Hold’em format. In this game, the term “hi” signifies that the highest hand claims the entire pot at the showdown. Omaha Hi is commonly played as Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO), where the betting is limited to the size of the pot.

The gameplay of Omaha Hi closely resembles that of Texas Hold’em, with one key difference: players receive 4 hole cards instead of 2. The increased number of cards dealt at the beginning of each hand makes it easier to create strong hands. Strategically, since it becomes easier to form a strong hand in PLO, the hands shown at the showdown are usually higher ranking than those in Texas Hold’em.

5-Card Draw

In the realm of draw poker, 5-Card Draw stands as a classic one where players try to create the highest-ranking 5-card poker hand. Each player is dealt their own concealed hand, hidden from their opponents. 5-Card Draw is incredibly simple to grasp, involving just one round of drawing, two betting rounds, and five cards dealt to each player. These exact same five cards help players in creating their best possible poker hand.

The game’s simplicity, with only one drawing round, makes it easy to follow and understand. It makes the game fast-paced so the progression is swift from one hand to the next. Compared to other types of poker games, this one allows you to play a higher number of hands per hour.

Since none of your opponents’ cards are visible to you, you have to solely rely on the bet sizes and the number of cards drawn to deduce the strength of their hands.

Variations Of Poker: Omaha Hi-Lo

Omaha Hi-Lo, also known as Omaha 8-or-Better, shares similarities with Omaha Hi, but with a twist: the pot at showdown is divided equally between the highest-ranked 5-card poker hand and the lowest. To achieve this, players have to use different combinations of their hole cards to create both high & low hands.

The “8 or better” aspect becomes significant here, as all 5 cards forming the “low” hand must have a rank of 8 or lower. Straights and flushes do not count against a hand in this variation of poker.

The lowest possible hand in Omaha Hi-Lo: A-2-3-4-5
The highest qualifying “low” hand in Omaha Hi-Lo: 8-7-6-5-4

3 Card Poker

3 Card Poker is an innovative game aimed to provide a faster and more thrilling alternative to traditional poker. While poker is known for its intellectual challenges, some players find it slow-paced. With 3 Card Poker, one can experience the exhilaration of poker in a streamlined format.

Understanding a few fundamental rules will enhance your 3 Card Poker experience. Adjusting your bet sizes based on your bankroll is essential for a strategic approach in this poker variation. In 3 Card Poker, the hand rankings differ slightly from traditional poker. A straight holds a higher value than a flush due to the probabilities involved with three-card hands. The highest-ranking hands are the little royal flush (AKQ) and straight flush, followed by three of a kind, flush, pair, and high card.

When it comes to hand rankings, a straight flush is the best hand, followed by three of a kind, a straight, a flush, a pair, and a high card. In the case of ties, the second-highest and third-highest cards determine the winner.


Among the poker families of “draw” and “Lowball,” Badugi stands out as a truly distinct game due to its unconventional hand ranking system. Understanding Badugi requires a separate learning curve, even if you’re already well-versed in other forms of poker.

Badugi hasn’t gained the same level of popularity as more well-known poker variants. The hand ranking system in Badugi sets it apart from other Lowball poker games, making it a bit more challenging to grasp. Firstly, only four cards are used for hand rankings instead of the traditional five. Additionally, suits play a role in this game. Ideally, you want all four cards to be of different suits. It’s crucial to note that straights do not count against the low hand in Badugi, and Aces always play as low cards. The objective is to create the lowest possible “Badugi,” which consists of four unpaired cards of different suits.

The gameplay in Badugi closely resembles that of 2-7 Triple Draw (Lowball), making it easier to adapt if you are already familiar with that poker variant.

Variations Of Poker: 2-7 Triple Draw

2-7 triple draw is a thrilling variation of poker games where each player is dealt their own private 5-card hand, completely concealed from other players. It’s a unique twist on lowball poker, where players get not one, but three opportunities to improve their “low” hand. Unlike Omaha Hi-Lo, straights & flushes do count against a low hand in a 2-7 Triple Draw. Aces always have a high value in this game.

This form of poker is relatively easy to grasp and comprehend. You just need to understand what straights and flushes are, to avoid mistaking them in your low hand. Here it’s easy to assess the strength of your hand since you only have five cards to consider, unlike other poker variants with more cards.

Some players may also find this poker variant less enjoyable because the objective is to create the lowest-ranked 5-card hand instead of aiming for the highest hand.


Razz is one of those fascinating variations of poker, precisely Stud Poker, where the objective is to create the lowest possible hand. Unlike other poker games, straights and flushes do not count against a low hand in Razz. Moreover, Aces hold a low value in this game, making the best hand achievable A-2-3-4-5. The gameplay in Razz follows a similar structure to regular Stud Poker. In contrast to Stud Poker, the player with the highest face-up card acts first in Razz.

Additionally, unlike other lowball games, Razz allows players to see some of their opponents’ cards, providing insight into the strength of their own low hand.

5-Card Omaha

If you’re a fan of easily building strong hands in Omaha Hi, then prepare yourself for the excitement that 5-Card Omaha brings to the poker tables! Unlike regular Omaha, where players are dealt 4 hole cards, in 5-Card Omaha, each player receives 5 hole cards at the start of every hand. However, the rules here remain the same, where players have to use exactly 2 of their hole cards & 3 of their community cards to form the best hand possible. With the extra hole card, the possibilities for creating powerful hands are even greater.

Familiarity with poker hand rankings is essential to play the game. The gameplay mirrors that of regular Hold’em or Omaha Hi games. If you are someone who likes making big, strong hands, 5-Card Omaha is the game for you!

Variations Of Poker: Pineapple

While this variant may not have achieved the same level of popularity as some of the more widely played poker formats, it is undoubtedly easy to play and learn, especially if you’re already familiar with the regular Texas Hold’em.

If you’re already familiar with Hold’em, learning Pineapple will be a breeze. The advantage in Pineapple is that you’ll have a higher chance of receiving a strong and playable starting hand, resulting in more frequent involvement in pots, provided you maintain the same starting hand requirements as in Hold’em. While these were the pros of Pineapple, a con for it is that you may find yourself in more multi-way pots and encountering situations where your hand is outkicked or dominated more frequently at showdown compared to traditional Hold’em.

Chinese Poker

Chinese poker stands out from other poker variants by breaking away from traditional game patterns. Despite its distinctiveness, it remains a beginner-friendly game, with the main requirement being a solid understanding of basic poker hand rankings. Chinese poker may not be the most popular form of poker, but it still sees occasional play. 

Chinese Poker is relatively easy to play, but it can become more complex when it comes to understanding different scoring systems and deciding whether to include “royalties” (bonus points) and, if so, which ones.

Chinese poker is one of those variations of poker that is typically played with four players, but it can also accommodate two or three players. Each player is dealt 13 cards and must then divide them into three hands of varying strengths: their best 5-card hand, a middle hand of 5 cards, and their weakest hand consisting of 3 cards. Subsequently, players reveal their high, middle, and weakest hands in order. In this variation of poker, you can still win a little in each hand, even if you’re not the overall winner. If all your hands are either straights or flushes, you win the entire round outright. 

Chinese poker offers the possibility of unlikely outcomes, making luck a significant factor in short-term results. This aspect is particularly appealing to beginners, as it provides them with a good chance of winning.


HORSE is not a standalone variation of poker; rather, it is an acronym that encompasses 5 different poker games:

Omaha Hi/Lo
Razz (Stud Lo)
Stud (Stud Hi)
Eight-or-Better (Stud Hi/Lo)

Mixed games like HORSE are one of those variations of poker which are frequently played in live settings with higher stakes, aiming to level the playing field and prevent single-game specialists from dominating the table. HORSE brings together five different poker variants across three primary game types (Hold’em, Omaha, and Stud).

All games are played with a fixed limit, using the same stake and structure for each variant. Playing a mixed game like HORSE eliminates the monotony of repeatedly playing the same game type. It offers a more enjoyable poker experience, allowing players to try their hand at different forms of the game, all in one session.

It’s more challenging to stay competitive in HORSE as players need to acquire & refine their skills across different types of poker games.

Short Deck

Short Deck is a highly enjoyable variant of Hold’em that has gained significant popularity in recent years, becoming a staple in high-stakes cash games and tournament series. In this poker game, the hand rankings differ slightly from traditional games, with flushes now outranking full houses. The reason behind this change is the removal of 2’s through 5’s from the deck, resulting in a game played with only 36 cards.

The reduced deck introduces higher variance and the likelihood of more frequent strong hands. Short Deck has experienced a surge in popularity, fueled by high-stakes games played in China and extensive media coverage. Although it is not yet a widely played game in many card rooms or online platforms, it undeniably offers an attractive and fun form of poker.

Variations Of Poker: Video Poker

Video poker is an appealing casino game that combines both poker and slot machines as its elements. It offers players a unique and engaging experience, with the opportunity to employ strategy while enjoying the simplicity and fast-paced nature of a machine-based game.

The strength of your hand determines the payout you receive. The paytable is displayed on the machine which outlines the various winning combinations and their corresponding payouts. Video poker machines come in various variations, such as Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Joker Poker, and Bonus Poker, each offering its own unique rules and payables. Video poker offers the convenience of being a solitary game, allowing players to enjoy the excitement at their own pace. 

There are many no-download video poker platforms across the web to get started with online video poker.

These are the types of poker games to play both offline and online.