Poker has been a popular card game for hundreds of years; however, it’s only since technological advances that it’s really taken off, with the ability to play online as well as being able to watch it played live on television. Before you head over to a website like Paddy Power to play, we’ve listed five of the most popular poker games you need to learn.
Texas Hold’em is the king of poker games: it’s the most popular and most likely the version you’ll play online. If you’re a beginner, it’s great place to start.
At the start of the game, the dealer gives each player two cards, known as ‘hole’ cards. The player to the left of the dealer posts the ‘small blind’, the first wager. The player then clockwise from them must play the ‘big blind’, which is typically double in size. The dealer will also place five ‘community’ cards in the middle of the table, which are revealed at different stages of the game.
Betting takes place in four rounds: once after the ‘hole’ cards are dealt; then after the first three community cards are revealed (known as the flop); once again after the fourth community card is revealed (known as the turn); and finally, after the fifth community card is revealed (known as the river).
On their turn, players have the following options: fold (throw their hand away), call (match the amount of the big blind) or raise (increase the bet). Players must make their best hand with any combination of five cards from their ‘hole’ and the community cards. The best hands are a royal flush (ace, king, queen, jack and 10 all of the same suit), followed by a straight flush (five consecutive cards all of the same suit) and four of kind (four cards of the same ranking).
If all other players fold, the winner is obviously the final player remaining.
Omaha is a game derived from Texas Hold’em, so once you’ve mastered that, you’ll be able to give this a go. The main difference is that each player is dealt four ‘hole’ cards and can only use two of these in conjunction with three community cards. Like Texas Hold’em, in Omaha poker, there are five community cards with a flop, turn and river and the rounds are played out in the same way.
There are a couple of different variations to look out for: Omaha Hi is the same as Texas Hold’em with players looking to win the pot with their best hand. However, Omaha-8, also known as Omaha-Better (or Hi-Lo) splits the pot between the best and worst player.
Seven Card Stud
Before the popularity of Texas Hold’em, Seven Card Stud was the most common form of poker played by professionals. Like other variants of the game, the objective is for players to create the best five-card hand from the seven cards available. Each player starts with two ‘hole’ cards and one ‘up’ card (that’s a card facing up). There are then three more rounds of ‘up’ cards, with betting after each card, and a final ‘hole’ card, followed by a final betting round. Each player ends up with seven cards: four face up and three face down. The player holding the best hand using any five of their cards wins the pot.
Razz is a different variant of Seven Card Stud. In this game, players must make the best lowest possible hand. The rules are basically the same – players will end up with a total of seven cards. three face down and four face up – but the lowest possible hand would be Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5; as opposed to a royal flush.
Draw poker is arguably the easiest game to learn and play – with five-card draw the most popular variant. Again, the aim is to make best five-card poker hand and the usual rankings apply. The game begins with each player being drawn five ‘hole’ cards, followed by a round of betting. Players are able to discard any of the cards in their hand and take from the rest of the pack, ensuring their hand always consists of five cards.