Unique Poker Game Variations You Have to Try
In this article, we look at why the game of poker has so many versions and why these poker variants are so popular around the world. We cover 10 of the most exciting poker variants below.
As all poker enthusiasts know, you can play poker in several exciting ways. But even seasoned players may not be aware of all the poker variants in the world.
So we will now talk about poker variants in general before pointing out a few unique poker games to play.
Different Kinds of Poker Games
You can place all poker variants under three broad categories — Draw Poker, Stud Poker, and Community Card Poker.
When you play draw poker games, you hide the cards dealt to you from your opponents and replace your cards with new cards to create a strong poker hand. Badugi and Five Card Draw are good examples.
When you play stud poker games, you hide a few cards and expose a few, giving your opponents a little bit of information about your hand. Razz and Seven Card Stud fall under this category of poker games.
However, poker is not a simple game to be placed under three categories. We can also classify poker games as high-low split poker and lowball poker.
While playing lowball games like Razz and Deuce to Seven Triple Draw, you win by creating the lowest hand. While playing high-low split games like Omaha Hi/Lo, the player with the highest hand and the player with the lowest hand get to share the pot equally.
Poker games go crazy and unique when they deviate from established rules. A poker game called Baseball uses wild cards. Kill games are fixed-limit games with conditions that double the stakes. While twist games allow players to purchase extra cards from the deck.
As if this were not enough, you can also play poker in mixed formats, where you play different poker variants for some time or some hands. The most popular mixed poker game is HORSE poker, which mixes Omaha High Low, Texas Hold’em, Seven Card Stud, Razz and Seven Card Stud Eight or Better.
Little Known Poker Games To Try
Let us now discuss some unique and little-known poker games that can entertain and frustrate you at the same time.
If you give a tropical twist to the traditional Texas Hold’em Poker, you get Pineapple. The dealer deals three cards, after which you can discard one of them and make a bet. The betting rounds are similar to those of Texas Hold’em.
To make things better than ever, you can play Pineapple in different ways. In Crazy Pineapple, you can discard your card after the flop. In Lazy Pineapple, you can discard one of your cards after the river.
But you have to think twice before discarding your card because many players discard a card only to realize later that they could have used it to create a better hand.
Although the game looks like Seven Card Stud, it is different. You get seven face-down cards followed by a round of betting, after which you can pass three of your cards to the player on your right or left. The dealer decides which one. You can pass two more cards after another round of betting. The game has a third betting round, after which you can pass your last card.
Now is the time to stack the five best cards face down and expose them one at a time after a betting round. You can reduce the number of rounds or play the game in a high-low split format. We must warn you, prepare to be frustrated when your partner passes you cards that do not favor you.
Three Card Guts
A poker game for courageous players who love taking risks, Three Card Guts gives you three cards and asks you to decide whether you would like to play your poker hand or not. While the winner gets the pot, the losers match it. This continues until only one player is left standing to take the entire pot.
Guts is a fun and action-packed poker game that requires, well, guts! The pot can get very big if many players participate in the game and match the pot. For example, a $10 pot can swell to a $40 pot if four players stay in the game.
You need the luck of the Irish while playing this game, which combines two popular poker variants, Omaha and Texas Hold’em. The player gets four cards each. The game has a betting round before the flop. However, you must discard two cards after betting on the flop. Just like Pineapple, discarding may make or break your game, so discard the cards after careful thought.
One of the most popular little-known poker variants, Badugi can frustrate or confuse you. Recently, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) included Badugi in some of its mixed games tournaments.
Badugi is a lowball game with blinds and three drawing rounds, and players get four cards at the beginning of the game. You can keep your cards or discard some or all after a betting round. The game continues till there is only one player left standing. Badugi challenges you to create the lowest hand without a pair and cards from different suits.
Badugi has an interesting variant called Badeucy, which combines Badugi with 2 – 7 Lowball. The players with the best five-card 2 – 7 hand and the best four-card Badugi hand split the pot.
Spit in the Ocean
If you have played Five Card Draw, you will find it easy to play Spit in the Ocean, a poker variant that uses four cards and allows you to discard and replace two of them. The fifth card is the “spit” card, a community card dealt face up on the table.
Spit in the Ocean is more than a variant of Five Card Draw because it also has the rules of Texas Hold’em. You have the choice of making the game exciting by converting the spit card into a wild card.
You can also convert the rank of the spit card into a wild card. For example, if the spit card is a six, all six cards become wild cards.
If you love community card games, Death Wheel is a poker game you must try. Death Wheel gives each player four hole cards and six community cards in the form of a wheel. You can create the final hand using two hole cards and three community cards. However, you can select only adjacent community cards.
The game has betting rounds when you get the hole cards and after each card is exposed. While exposing cards, you have to expose only cards that face each other on the wheel. Most players use Omaha High Low strategies while playing Death Wheel.
Usually, Death Wheel is a fun game when played in the high-low format. You can easily create good poker hands because of the large number of cards in the game.
Roll Your Own
You can decide which cards to place face down and which cards to keep face up while playing Roll Your Own.
You get three face-down cards at the beginning of the game. You can now turn one of them face up. Whenever you turn a card face up, it is time to make a bet.
You then get two more face-down cards, after which you must decide which one to turn over to make a face-up card. Another round of betting follows this move.
In the final round, you get two face-down cards, and you can turn over one of them before placing the last bet.
Usually, we play Roll Your Own as a high-low game with optional wild cards. In brief, the game has a lot of resemblance to Seven Card Stud.
Follow the Queen
Do you want to play a game of Seven Card Stud with wild cards that change during the gameplay? Whenever someone gets a queen, the next card dealt to the next player turns into a wild card. But the wild card loses this feature if another player gets a queen. Instead, the card dealt next turns into a wild card.
In other words, the wild card follows the queen. If the last card dealt is a queen, the game will not have any more wild cards. The game’s wild card rule makes it exciting and irritating at the same time. Interestingly, all cards belonging to the rank turn into wild cards.
Follow the Queen is not available in casinos, but it is a popular poker variant played in homes.
When you play Five Card Stud in a high-low format, you are playing Wild Kings Poker. Each participant gets one hole card before selecting an exposed community card or an unknown card from the deck. After choosing your card, you have to make a bet. You can substitute or purchase cards during the final round. All kings turn into wild cards only when you make a high hand.
Wild Kings may appear complicated to beginners, but the game gets simpler when you continue playing it.
Now that you have gone through our extensive list of poker variants, you can probably see now why the game of poker is so popular, with something on offer for all card-game lovers. All that’s left now is to decide which game you want to try your hand at first!