When it comes to poker, Texas Hold’em steals the show. Thrilling as the game is, however, it doesn’t hold the monopoly on excitement. Seven card Stud, Omaha (High–Low), Open-Faced Chinese Poker and Five Card Draw all offer their own thrills and spills. This article looks at Texas Hold’em and other poker games, how they match up against each other and how you can win at each.
Texas Hold’em poker is the most popular of all the poker games out there. There are fewer, if any, restrictions on betting, which means you can win really big. The action moves clockwise, with the two players left of the dealer — the small blind and the big blind — getting the betting underway. Each player in the game receives two hole cards and must try to make the best five-card hand possible from these cards and the five community cards.
Texas Hold’em is easy to learn but tough to master because of all the strategy it involves. If you want to play poker online, it’s a good place to start. To win at the game you must know the basics and understand how the other players’ positions can affect your strategy and the pot odds. Get all these down and you can delve into more advanced concepts and strategies, such as understanding the different types of players and how to play against them.
Seven Card Stud
Seven Card Stud is a classic. Like Texas Hold’em, you could spend your whole life trying to master it. Each player pays to enter the game — anteing an amount — before it starts. They begin with two hole cards and one card face up. The player who has the exposed card with the lowest value must start the action with either a nominal bet or a full bet. In each round, the players receive another exposed card, called a ‘street’, up until the seventh street, which is dealt face down and known only to the player. The player who has the highest exposed card in each round — and highest value exposed cards in the seventh street — must act first. The showdown follows the seventh street and will decide the winner. The last person to bet in the final round must show their cards first or, if there is no bet, the player in the earliest seat. The highest value hand wins.
You can win at Seven Card Stud by knowing when to fold and when to play aggressively. Aces or kings in the first three cards are an indication to stay in the game; a pair of either is the time to get aggressive. If the first three cards form a sequence or belong to the same suit, stay in the game. If you don’t anything good in the first couple of rounds, fold.
If you enjoy the highs and lows of Texas Hold’em and want something pacier but with a little less risk, Omaha is the game for you. Omaha is different to Texas Hold’em because players have four hole cards and must combine two of them with three community cards. There’s also a limit on the pot, although the betting rounds play out the same way. The player with the highest hand wins in Omaha High; in Omaha High-Low, the players with the highest hand and the lowest hand (the player must have five cards ranked eight or lower to qualify for the low).
To stand a better chance of winning, you need the cards in your hand to be as closely connected as possible. It’s also not the kind of game for bluffing. Players who have ‘the nuts’, which is the best possible hand in the situation, are unlikely to fold. Failure to bluff successfully could damage your credibility at the table.
Open-Faced Chinese Poker
If you’re looking for something different, try open-faced Chinese poker, in which players draw from a single pack and try to create the best hand(s) possible. In fact, this is closer to gin rummy than to poker because players play for points. They complete the card replacement rounds and then arrange their 13 cards into three different hands. The top hand consists of only three cards but is scored as a regular hand. The middle and bottom hands are regular five-card hands. Each hand must be higher than the hand before, with the top being the lowest and the bottom being the highest.
The game is popular among professionals but is so, too, in non-professional circles because it’s fast-paced and is as much a game of chance as of skill. The game requires concentration and strategic thinking, which includes the tricky task of keeping the score. The easiest way is to track your own score against that of the other players. You get a point for each winning hand and can win an extra three points — called a ‘scoop’ — if you beat a player in all three hands.
Five-Card Draw is straightforward and one of the most basic variations to learn. It’s different to variations such as Texas Hold’em, Seven-Card Stud and Omaha because there are no exposed cards, which makes it harder to strategize. The small and big blinds make their bets and then the players receive five cards. Players then have the chance to draw, which involves discarding cards and receiving new ones. Following the draw, there’s another round of betting and it’s time for the showdown. The highest value hand wins.
It’s an easy game to learn; so much so that you won’t often see it now in brick-and-mortar casinos, if at all, and will have to play online. To succeed, it’s important to know the value of different hands and that you’re unlikely to receive a good hand in the first round. It’s all about working out whether the draw will be to your advantage or not. You can assess what your opponents might have by the number of cards they draw. If, for instance, they draw one card, there’s a chance they have a straight or a flush.
Poker doesn’t just mean Texas Hold’em, which is one of the fascinating things about the game. Whether you’re advanced or just starting out, you can find a variation of poker that suits you and provides you with entertainment and excitement. Be sure to learn the basics so that you can form more advanced strategies and become better and better as you play.