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Poker has been around in some form or another since the 1800s and possibly even before that. Over the years, poker players have invented and played dozens of poker variants ranging from the classic 5 Card Draw to today’s ever popular Texas Holdem.
Even today there are many poker games that people play for real money online and at live casinos. The most popular poker game is Texas Holdem but there are still many other games to choose from. In fact, some of these other games are very lucrative for skilled players because there isn’t as much strategy information out there for those games.
Poker games can be divided up into three main categories:
- Community Card Poker
- Stud Poker
- Draw Poker
Community card games such as Texas Holdem and Omaha are games in which each player gets a limited number of cards and must use those cards in combination with community cards that are dealt face up in the middle of the table.
Stud games include games such as 7 Card Stud and 5 Card Stud. These are games in which each player is dealt a full hand of cards but some of those cards are dealt face up while others are dealt face down.
Draw games are the classic form of poker that you see in old Western movies. These games include classics such as Five Card Draw, in which each player is dealt five cards and may then return some or all of those cards for new cards from the deck.
Community card games are all the rage right now but many people still play stud and draw poker. These games even have their own events in the World Series of Poker. If you take a look at any online poker room, you’ll see that people still play a wide variety of poker games.
This is the main game in town and it probably will be for quite some time. Texas Holdem got its big start in Las Vegas in the 1980s and it hasn’t slowed down since. The game got another big resurgence in 2003 when Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker on national TV.
In Texas Holdem, each player gets two hole cards and then three community cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table. The three face up cards are called “the flop” and they are shared by all the players at the table. Two more cards, called the “turn” and “river” are then dealt so that there are eventually five community cards. The players at the table may then use any combination of their hole cards and the community cards to make the best possible five card hand.
One of the main factors behind the success of Texas Holdem is that the game has just the right combination of information and mystery. Players get to see the five community cards but the two hidden hole cards leave just enough information hidden to make Texas Holdem an extremely strategic card game.
Texas Holdem can be played as either a fixed limit game, no limit game or pot limit game. It’s a flexible poker game so players of all types can enjoy Texas Holdem. Fixed limit is considered to be the most mathematically intensive game while no limit is generally considered more of an art form.
Omaha is usually the second game people learn due to its close similarity to Texas Holdem. The biggest difference between the two games is that in Omaha, each player is dealt four hole cards instead of two. With each player able to choose from twice as many hole cards, Omaha tends to be a game that features bigger hands and bigger pots.
One thing that often trips up new Omaha players is the rule that players must use exactly two of their hole cards and three of the community cards when making their hands. In Texas Holdem, the players can use 2, 1 or even 0 of their hole cards when making their poker hands.
In terms of popularity, Omaha comes second only to Texas Holdem. It’s easy to find Omaha games at most online poker sites because more people try Omaha every day. It’s a game that action junkies can appreciate because big hands are common in Omaha. With four cards to work with, each player in an Omaha game is basically holding six different two-card combinations.
Omaha can also be played in the fixed limit, no limit and pot limit formats. Pot limit is the most popular format because it limits people from going all-in early in the hand. This is a good thing because unlike Texas Holdem, strong starting hands in Omaha are never huge favorites over other starting hands. If people were allowed to go all-in whenever they wanted, they could easily turn Omaha into a crapshoot.
Stud poker used to be the most popular format of poker until the community card games came along and stole the show. The most popular Stud poker game is 7 Card Stud. Even though it lost its role as the biggest game in town, 7 Card Stud is still a massively popular card game.
In Seven Card Stud poker, each player is dealt a total of 7 cards. Three of these cards are dealt face down and four of them are dealt face up. This combination of face-up and face-down cards reveals enough information to allow strategy, but keeps enough information hidden to keep players guessing what the other players have.
Seven Card Stud poker is a challenging game because it requires a strong memory of what cards have been shown and of knowing the odds of completing certain hands. Once a player learns how to play the game well, that player can make a lot of money because skilled 7 Card Stud players are few and far between.
For many people, draw poker was the first poker variant they learned as children. The most iconic draw poker game is Five Card Draw. This is the game of cowboys and old west roughnecks. This was the game that if someone was caught cheating at, pistols were quick to be drawn.
In Five Card Draw, each player is dealt five cards face down and then after a round of betting, the players may exchange as many cards as they wish for random cards from the deck. A major part of 5 Card Draw strategy includes deciding whether or not to discard marginal sure-thing hands in an effort to catch stronger hands.
One of the main criticisms of Five Card Draw is that it leaves too much information hidden. The players don’t get to see any cards except their own. As a 5 Card Draw player, the only things you have to go on are the mannerisms and betting patterns of your opponents. You can also get an idea of how strong a player’s hand is by watching how many cards that opponent draws.
One good thing that can be said about 5 Card Draw, though, is that if you get good at it, you can take home some serious cash. The vast majority of Five Card Draw players are casual fans and are lucky if they even know which hand beats which. That is assuming, of course, that you’re able to find people willing to play the game for any meaningful amount of money.