Few casino games have captured the people’s imagination as well as poker has. Over the decades, these card games have remained among the most popular not just among hardcore gamers, but also with the general public. We see this through movies like the James Bonds, television series like Las Vegas, and sporting channels like ESPN, where poker stands as one of the strongest examples of influential games to achieve mainstream success. Given its time and spread, combined with its undeniable appeal, it is only natural that the game would evolve over time, with various versions and sets of rules customising the game for specific audiences and tastes.
In this article, we’ll go over just a few of these forms, and hopefully, leave you with a better understanding of what poker game is right for you.
Texas Hold’em has been something of a revolution in poker over the last few decades. Rising from obscurity to become the most recognised version of the game, Texas Hold’em is one of the easiest to understand, yet it maintains that incredibly high level of potential mastery for which poker is known. Featured in the highly competitive World Series of Poker, this is a game which isn’t going anywhere, so it can be a fantastic place to start.
The general idea in this game is that the players are dealt a total of two cards, called the hole cards, while there are a total of five community cards which are dealt and shared with everyone. These community cards are revealed in sets, with the first three being displayed in a single turn which is called the flop. Betting can be performed both before and after the flop. Following this comes the turn, where another card is revealed, and another round of betting can begin. The final card is named the river, and after this, the final round of betting can begin.
The goal here is to be the player who can create the best card combination through both their own cards and the community cards. Simple, fun, and a fantastic social experience.
Based on a game which originated in China, Pai Gow poker is rare in that it includes a single joker in the standard 52-card deck, and that players try their skill against the dealer rather than the other players. It also comes with the unusual rule that an Ace/2/3/4/5 combination, called the wheel, is considered the second highest straight.
Players in Pai Gow are dealt a total of seven cards, which they must separate into a 5-card high-value hand, and a 2-card lower value hand. The high hand is judged by normal rules, and the low hand is either a pair or judged by individual card worth. The dealer must also play by the same rules.
While a loved game among enthusiasts, this form tends to be a rarer find in many casinos. There are some online casinos offering it however, like for example ninjacasino.com. Remember that just because a game is rarer doesn’t mean it is less fun; it’s just a matter of taste, and this could easily be the right fit for you.
This game is best thought of as another type of Hold’em, with a few key differences to its Texas cousin. While there is the same amount of betting rounds, in Omaha the player is given 4-hole cards, while the 5 community cards are displayed at once. The winning combinations here must be made through the use of two of the player hold cards and three of the community cards. Again, a simple one and, again, a fun one.
This is a popular form which used to be one of the heads of the tables until being usurped by Texas Hold’em. In this form of poker, each player is first dealt five cards, and there are no community cards in play. The difference here comes from the ability of the player to trade in up to three of their cards in the first round for three more from the deck.
This tends to be one of the more well-understood varieties of poker and is often the one you’ll see on TV with a bunch of friends playing around a table.
Making Your Choice
It’s not easy to settle on which poker game is right for you. The four games we have covered here should give you a good cross-section of the different poker games which are on offer, and help you understand which set of rules are a good fit for your game-plan. Remember that practice and experience are key and that nobody starts off as a shark, and you should be well on your way to getting your foot in the door for a more successful poker future.