Variations of Poker

Apart from Texas Hold’em, there are many other poker variations out there. We’ll explain them briefly so you can get a good idea of what they are and how they’re played.

Pot-Limit Omaha

Pot-limit Omaha is one of the most popular poker games in Europe. High-stakes players love this poker variant because it is packed with action. After no-limit Texas Hold’em, this is the most popular variation of the game.

The gameplay is very similar to Hold’em. There are two blinds, five community cards, and the betting structure is completely the same. The difference is that each player gets four hole cards. However, they can use only two of them to make a winning combination. The maximum you can bet and raise is equal to what is already in the pot.

Pros & Cons

The advantages of PLO is that it has a lot of action and it’s a good way to spice things up if you get bored with Texas Hold’em. The disadvantages are that it’s not the easiest to learn if you’re a beginner and calculating bets can be complicated.

Seven-Card Stud

Seven-card Stud was the most popular poker game in the US before Texas Hold’em went mainstream. It is a slower poker variant, so it’s not commonly played today. This game does not have community cards, and it’s usually played with fixed limits.

The rules are pretty interesting if it is your first time playing a non-Hold’em game. Each player starts with two face-down and one face-up card. The face-up card is called the ‘door’ card and the player with the lowest door plays first. After the first round is finished, three more rounds are played with one face-up card dealt in each round. The last round and the last card is dealt face-down. After that, the players show all their cards and the highest hand wins the game.

Pros & Cons

The advantage of playing this game is that it’s easy to learn and you can try to memorize cards in order to improve your chances of winning. However, it can be too slow and boring for some players.


Razz is a so-called lowball game because the hand rankings are upside down. The objective in Razz is to make the worst hand you can, according to the traditional poker hand ranking. Therefore, the best hand you can make in Razz is a five-low (A, 2, 3, 4, 5). Straights and flushes don’t count.

Gameplay is pretty much the same as in Seven-card Stud. However, the highest card in the first round bets first.

Pros & Cons

This game is good because it’s easy to learn and has a slow pace. Plus, it’s fun to play because it’s different than other variants. However, some people might find Razz boring and too slow. Also, there aren’t many live Razz games out there.

Omaha Hi-Lo

Omaha Hi-Lo is a unique game because the pot at the end of the game is split between the player with the highest hand and the player with the lowest hand. The gameplay and the rules are pretty much the same as in Pot-limit Omaha. The difference is that each player makes two hands (one high and one low) using two of their four hole cards and three community cards. If you win both the high and the low hand, you ‘scoop’ the whole pot.

Pros & Cons

Omaha Hi-Lo is perfect for players who like to think and challenge themselves. You can devise a complex strategy to improve your chances of winning. However, all of this can be too confusing for poker beginners, and it’s difficult to find a live game online.

2-7 Triple Draw

2-7 Triple Draw is considered to be the best lowball poker game out there. This is a limit poker game which uses blinds but has no community cards. You should know the basics of playing poker before attempting this one.

In this game, Aces are high and flushes and straights count. So, the best hand that you can make is an unsuited 2, 3, 4, 5, 7. Each player starts with five hole cards and can then draw up to five new cards in four betting rounds and three draws.

Pros & Cons

2-7 Triple Draw is perfect for players who like bluffing and using complex strategies. A disadvantage of this game is that there are not many live games and you might not like it because it’s a fixed game.

Five-Card Draw

Five-card Draw is probably one of the simplest poker variants to learn. Because of that, it is commonly played by kids for fun. This game uses a dealer button and blinds, same as Texas Hold’em.

Each player starts with five cards, followed by a round of betting. After that, players can exchange any number of their cards and bet one more time. After the final round of betting, the cards are shown, and the winner is chosen.

Pros & Cons

Five-card draw is a mind game since there are no community cards and you do not know any of your opponents’ cards. Therefore, bluffing is a big part of winning in a five-card draw. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage, depending on what you like.

Chinese Poker

Chinese poker is a popular variation of the game that takes some time to get used to, as it’s completely different from all other versions. This game is played by four players, each of whom has 13 cards that they need to arrange in three hands.

The top hand has three cards and must be the lowest-ranking one. Two bottom hands have five cards each. The bottom hand must be the highest-ranking, whereas the middle one needs to be the second-ranking hand.

Pros & Cons

This is a good game because it uses a lot of cards and has very dynamic gameplay. However, it can be confusing for beginners, as there is a lot that you need to pay attention to.


H.O.R.S.E. is a type of poker game made of five different games. Its name is actually an acronym that stands for Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo, Razz, Seven-card Stud, and Seven-card Stud Eight or Better. Each game is played for one turn, before moving to the next round and the next game.

Pros & Cons

The biggest advantage of this game is that it’s diverse, dynamic, and fun to play. However, it can be complicated for beginners because you need to be good at five different games in order to be able to play.


Badugi is another unique poker game. It is a form of a lowball game that has some additional special features. Each player starts with four face-down cards. After the first round of betting, players can exchange whatever number of cards they want. There are three rounds of drawing, followed by the last betting round. You win if you make the lowest, unpaired, unsuited hand, such as the A-2-3-4 of different suits.

Pros & Cons

Badugi is popular because it’s a fast and dynamic game that relies a lot on bluffing and mind games. However, the negative side of this game is that it’s hard to play strategically since there are no community cards and no face-up cards.