Beginner's guide

Top Poker Games and how to play them

If you are a fan of poker, you would have heard of different variations of poker games. Even if you are not such a huge fan, you would have at least heard of Texas Hold’em. No doubt, this poker variation is the most popular among all poker games. Many of the top poker pros have made millions through Texas Hold’em. Well, there is a difference between knowing about a game and know how to play the games.

 

Poker games have specific rules that pertain to each of them and the understanding of such rules and the ability to be able to apply them in real poker game is what makes an individual a good player. In this article, we will explore some of the different poker variations and also take it a step further by looking at how to play them. After reading this article, you might be able to pick up one or two rules about your favorite poker game.

 

 

Texas Hold’em

As mentioned earlier, this seems to be the most played poker variation among the entire variations of poker games. In Texas hold’em, players are given two cards facing down. These are their personal hand, also called the hole cards. After each player has received these two cards, a round of betting will commence. At the start of the game, three different board cards are simultaneously turned. These board cards are also called the flop. After this, another round of betting will begin. Another set of two board cards will be turned, one per time. There will be a round of betting immediately after each of the cards.

 

It is essential to mention that the board cards are regarded as the community cards and each player is allowed to utilize any 5-card combination from the personal and board cards. It is also possible for a player to utilize all the board cards and not a single personal card to generate a hand. This is also called ‘Play the Board’. In this game, a dealer button is usually used and the standard structure is to utilize two blinds. It is also possible for players to play with one blind, an ante, multiple blinds, or a mix of blinds and an ante.

 

 

The Rounds of Betting in Texas Hold’em

The opening deal involves each of the players being dealt with two cards facing down. These cards are also referred to as pocket cards or hole cards. In the first round, the player towards the left side of the big blind begins the game. Each of the players at the table can call big blind, raise, or may choose to fold. It is possible for big blind to raise an unraised pot. There is also the flop where the dealer at the table burns a card. He then deals three different community cards facing up. The initial three cards are regarded as the flop and the community cards are all regarded as the board.

 

In the second round of betting, the player towards the left side of the dealer button starts the game. Each player can either bet or check. When a bet is made, each of the players can raise, fold, or call. In this round, there is something called the turn. Here the dealer goes ahead to burn another card before adding a fourth card facing up to community cards. The fourth dealt card is regarded as the Fourth Street or turn card.

 

The third round of betting usually follows the exact format as the second. However, the size of bets often doubles in terms of limit games. The third round has what is called the River. Here, the dealer burns yet another card and then include a fifth card, which is also the final card to community card. The fifth card is regarded as the Fifth Street or the River. The final round of betting is exactly like the second and the third rounds. This round has what is called the Showdown. With their best hole cards 5-card combination and the community cards, players remaining will show their hands. The last raiser or the bettor shows first. The player with the highest 5-card hand is the winner of the pot. In the case that there is a tie, the pot will be shared equally among players with the winning hands.

 

Omaha

This poker variation is close to the hold’em variation because it also uses a 3-card flop on the board. In addition, it also uses a 4th board card and a fifth board card. However, each player receives four hole cards at the beginning of the game instead of the two in the case of Hold’em variation. In order to make a hand, each player must utilize exactly 2-hole cards in addition to three board cards. The betting in Omaha is the same as in Texas Hold’em. These two poker games share a lot in common actually. At the stage of showdown, the total 4-card hand needs to be shown in order to get the pot. The player with the best possible 5-card hand, who uses precisely 2-hole card and three community cards, becomes the winner of the pot.

 

The Betting Round of Omaha Poker Variation

The opening deal entails the dealer dealing the players with four cards facing down. These cards are known as the pocket cards or the hole cards. At the first round of betting, the dealer burns one card and turns over three different community cards to face up. This is also referred to as the flop. During the second round, the dealer also burns another card before turning over one additional community card, which is called the Fourth Street or the turn.

 

The third betting round sees the dealer burns yet another card before turning over the final community card, which is also referred to as the Fifth Street or the River. The last betting round is the showdown. Here, the remaining players show their hands while the last raiser or first bettor shows first. Each of the remaining players is required to use their 2-pocket cards and the 3-board cards. Both Texas Hold’em and Omaha poker games have basically the same rules with the exception of the rule that applies to playing the board which is not possible with Omaha poker variation.

 

Omaha is usually played as high-low split or 8-or-better. Players may use any mix of three board cards and two hole cards for the high-hand and the same or another combination of three board cards-and 2 hole cards for the low-hand. The rules that apply to Omaha are the same for Omaha high-low split. However, in this variation, a qualifier of eight-or-better for low also applies to each high-low split games, except there is a specific indication that is contrary on display. In case there is no qualifying hand for the low, the best high-hand will win the full pot.

 

Read more about Omaha poker.

 

 

Seven-Card Stud

For the seven-card stud, the game is played with a dealing of one up-card and two down-cards before the first round of betting. This is followed by three additional up-cards. A betting round comes after each of the cards. Another down-card is dealt after the three up-cards. The last dealing of the down-card ushers in the final betting round. The player with the best 5-card hand is the winner of the pot in a Seven-card stud poker game.

 

In fixed-limit poker games, smaller bet are usually wagered on the initial two rounds of betting and then a bigger bet is wagered after the rounds of betting on the 5th, 6th and 7th cards. In case there is an open-pair at the fourth card, any of the players has the option to make the smaller or bigger bet. It is important to mention that it is improper to intentionally change the order of your up-card during a stud game as this will wrongly mislead other players at the table.

 

The Betting Rounds of Seven-Card Stud

In this game, the player with the best 5-card hand out of a total of seven cards is the winner of the pot. Each of the players at the table must place one ante in the pot. At the opening dealing, each of the players receives two cards facing down and another card facing up. The two cards are the hole cards and the one card is the door card. At the first round of betting, each of the players is dealt a single card facing up. This card is referred to as the Fourth Street. During the second round of betting, the players are dealt an additional card facing up. This is also known as the Fifth Street. At the third round of betting, each player receives another additional card facing up, which is known as the Sixth Street. At the fourth round of betting, the players are dealt a final card each. This card faces down and it is also called the River. The last round of betting is the showdown round where each player remaining reveals their hand. The last raiser or the first bettor shows their hand first.

 

Seven-Card Stud High-Low

This is another stud game played at both low and high. Based on standard, the qualifier of 8-or-better for low relates to all the high-low split poker games, except there is an explicit post contrary to this on display. The low card starts off the game at the first round. This features an ace counting as high-card for this point. During successive rounds, the high-hand starts off the game. In case the high-hand is tied, usually, the first player that is clockwise from the game dealer goes first.

 

The fixed-limit poker games utilize the lower-limit on 3rd and 4th street as well as the upper-limit on succeeding betting rounds. Here, an open-pair has no effect on the limit. Additionally, ace can be utilized for low or high. Flushes and straights also do not have any effect on the low value of each hand. Players can utilize any 5-card to get the best high-hand and any other group of 5-cards or the same 5-card to get the best low-hand.

 

The same rules that apply to seven-card stud also apply to the seven-card stud high-low split, with a few exceptions. One of the exceptions is that a qualifier of eight-or-better for low relates also to all the high-low split games exception there is a specific posting displayed that is contrary to this. Also, a player can utilize any 5-card to get the best high-hand and any other 5-card to get the best low-hand. Additionally, the low-card by suit, such as diamonds, spades, clubs, or hearts, begins the gaming during the first round and an ace counts as high-card at this point.

 

Lowball

This is a draw in poker with the lowest hand in pot winning the game. Each of the players at the table in this game is dealt five cards facing down. After this the betting round begins. The players are expected to fold or open with a bet. The remaining players in the pot after the first round of betting have the option to enhance their hands by simply substituting the cards in their hands for new ones. This is what is regarded as the draw.

 

Lowball is usually played with one or more blinds. In some cases, players can add an ace. There are also some betting structures that allow the calling of the big blind. In other structures, the minimum open is required to double the big blind. If it is a limit poker, the standard structure features the limit double after draw. It is essential to point out that Northern California variation is an exception to the rule.

 

The most famous variations of lowball are deuce-to-seven lowball, known as Kansas City lowball, and ace-to-five lowball, also known as California lowball. Deuce-to-seven lowball is named such due to the best hand that it forms, which is 7-5-4-3-2. It is essential to note that these are not of the same suit. Ace-to-five lowball on the other hand is named based on its own best hand form, which is 5-4-3-2-1. Let us look at both in detail.

 

Deuce-to-Seven Lowball

This is also referred to as Kansas City lowball. In this variation of the game, the worst traditional poker hand is the winner of the game in many cases. Flushes and straights count against players, which cripple the value of hands. Ace is only utilized as high-card, which means the best hand comes to 7-5-4-3-2 and not of the same suit. Usually, the 5-4-3-2-A hand is not regarded as straight but A5 high. As a result, it beats other pairs and ace-high hands but it loses to the king-high. In this variation of poker games, a pair of aces is regarded as the highest pair, which technically means it can lose to any other pair. Essentially, the rules of deuce-to-seven lowball are also the same for ace-to-five lowball.

 

Ace-to-Five Lowball

In this game, the best hand comes as any 5-4-3-2-A. Flushes or straights don’t count against any hand in ace-to-five lowball poker game. When a joker is utilized, it turns into the lowest card that is not available in the hand. This is because the joker is believed to be in use except the contrary is displayed. If it is a limit play, players cannot use check-raise except everyone at the table have been given a head-up that it is permitted. When playing limit ace-to-five lowball, a revealed card of seven or under need to be taken before the draw, and another revealed card that is higher than seven must be reinstated after the completion of the deal. The first revealed card is usually used as burn card.

 

Pot-Limit and No-Limit Lowball

All rules that apply to pot-limit and no-limit poker games apply to pot-limit and no-limit lowball. Additionally, all other rules in lowball game also apply, except when it is noted. Players are not expected to know that a game opponent can’t hold best possible hands. Therefore, the rules for revealed cards before the draw can apply in ace-to-five lowball where a player need to take a revealed card of A, 2, 3, 4, or 5, and another card has to be replaced.

 

The rules also apply in deuce-to-seven lowball where the players are required to take a revealed hand of 2, 3, 4, 5, or 7, and another card which includes 6, which should be replaced. At the end of the draw, any revealed card needs to be replaced and players also have the opportunity to check any hand without being penalized. In this game, Check-raise is permitted.

 

Draw High

In Draw High, there are two rounds of betting. One is done before the draw and another after the draw. This poker game is played with an ante and a button. Players have the opportunity to open and check for the minimum or chose to open with raise. Players can draw new cards after the first round of betting to replace the cards that have been discarded. Game actions after the draw begins with an opener or the next player clockwise if the opener already folded. The limit of betting after draw is usually double the amount of the limit bet prior to the draw. There are some draw-high poker games that allow players to open with any specific holding while some others need the opener to possess jack pairs or better.

 

Draw Jacks or Better

In Draw Jacks or Better, there are two rounds of betting. One is done before the draw and the other after the draw. This poker game is also played with an ante and a button. Just like the Draw High, players can open and check for minimum or they may chose to open with raise. Players can draw new cards after the first round of betting to substitute the ones they have discarded. The opener starts the game and if the opener already folded, the next player scheduled clockwise takes the action. The betting limit here is also the double amount of the bet limit prior to the draw.

 

This poker game requires a pair of jacks or better in order to open the pot. In case there is no player that is ready to open the pot, the button proceeds and each of the players at the table has to ante again except the ante limits have been reached for the game. Many of the poker games permit three successive deals prior to stopping antes. If the opener shows false openers prior to the draw, another active player can take the opportunity to pronounce the pot open. Nevertheless, a player that originally passed the openers is not qualified to open the pot. The player that makes false opener already has a dead hand and his opening bet must stay in the pot. When another bet is placed in the pot by the opener, it can be withdrawn, given that the action prior to the draw has not been concluded.

 

In case there is no player that wants to declare the pot open, each bet is returned with the exception of the first bet of the opener. The initial bet and the antes stay in the pot while all players involved in that hand have the right to play the next hand when they ante again. Now, any of the players who declared the pot open legally has to validate openers so as to win the pot. In every case, the pot plays if there has already been a raise where two or more players declare the opening bet or every action has been concluded prior to the draw.

 

In cases where all players are in the game for the ante, a player with openers can declare the pot open. If all players are in and a player declare the pot open illegally, that player will lose the ante money and they can’t continue to play at preceding deals until the winner has been decided. Even if the player buys in again, they must wait until the pot is opened legally and another player has won the pot before they can get back into play. As soon as action has been concluded prior to the draw, it is not possible for the opener to withdraw their bets, irrespective of whether the hand has openers or not. Also, an opener can be permitted to recover discarded hand to validate opening. This is possible at the discretion of the game management.

 

Any player can ask that the opener maintain the opening hand and reveal it when the pot’s winner has been decided. It is possible to split openers. However, the players must reveal that they are splitting and must place all discarded card under the chip to be revealed by the dealer at the end of the hand. If you maintain the openers, you will not be able to split them. If you start with the joker, ace, king, ten of clubs, and queen of spades, you cannot split if you throw away the ten of clubs.

 

No-Limit Pot-Limit

No-Limit Pot-Limit poker games involve two betting rounds. One round comes before the draw while the other comes after the draw. It is played with an ante and a button, and the players have the opportunity to open or check minimum or open with raise. Players can draw new cards to substitute the discarded cards after the first round of betting. The opener starts the game after the draw and in case the opener already folded, the next player proceeds clockwise. Generally, the betting limit preceding the draw is double amount of betting limit prior to the draw. The rules that apply to Draw Jacks or Better are the same rules that apply to No-Limit Pot-Limit.

 

Conclusion

These are top poker games that are played for real money. For some, the same rules apply and for some others, players need to apply other rules. Before you start playing for real money, it is recommended that you first play the free version in order to get the complete understanding of the strategy of the game. No doubt, many professional poker players have made fortune. So who says you can’t do it too? Finally, before you hit the poker table, you have to understand bankroll management to avoid getting into financial crisis. The rule of the thumb for bankroll management is that you should not bet with any amount of money that you cannot afford to lose.