When a modern player thinks of poker game variants, we typically think of No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em or PLO (Pot Limit Omaha), as those are the most common poker games today. Fifty years ago, a player might have thought of Seven Card Stud. However, as poker players who favor mixed games know, the poker games list is actually very long. Even when you limit yourself to the commonly played dealer’s choice games found in larger casinos today, there are many poker variants to choose from.
If you are a new poker player, or are just looking for greater variety in your game, we offer the following poker games list to help you find new ideas for your next mixed game. If you also need help with winning poker hands order, you can find them in the linked article.
Highest Popularity Poker Games List
Today the most popular poker game is No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em. No other game is played at nearly the frequency of Texas Hold ‘Em in the United States, as you can see by a quick perusal of our US cash game tables. Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) and Limit Texas Hold ’em are the distant second tier of most popular poker games in card rooms. Other popular casino games include:
Variations on Omaha
Such as Hi, Hi-Lo, Big O (5-Card Omaha), Limit Omaha. Omaha games, similar to Texas Hold ‘Em, see each player dealt cards to make their best hand using exactly two of them, along with exactly three of the five community cards. However, in Omaha, players receive four cards (or 5 in Big O) instead of two.
7 Card Stud
Including Hi-Lo 8 or better and regular Hi-Lo. 7 Card Stud was the most widely played poker variant before Texas Hold ‘Em took the crown in the early 2000s. In 7 Card Stud, each player is dealt two cards face down and one face up. The player with the lowest-ranking upcard starts the betting. Three more upcards and betting rounds follow, ending with a final downcard and betting round.
The object of Razz is to make the lowest possible five-card hand from the seven cards you are dealt. The best possible Razz hand is 5-4-3-2-A, or 5 high, also known as “the wheel” or “the bicycle”. Razz is played similarly to 7 Card Stud above, except the lowest hand wins. Note that straights and flushes are not counted against players seeking the low hand.
5 Card Draw
5 Card Draw is the simplest of the games in the poker games list. If you have ever played video poker you will recognize the rules. In 5 Card Draw each player is dealt 5 cards (shocking, we know) face down followed by a betting round. Each player then has the option to replace as many of their cards as they. A second betting round follows. If multiple players remain, there is a showdown in which the best hand wins.
2-7 Lowball Draw
Also called “Kansas City Lowball”. In 2-7 Lowball Draw high hands are bad and the “lowest” hand wins. The best possible hand is 2-3-4-5-7, as straights (along with flushes, trips, and pairs) are considered “high”. As a draw game, 5 cards are initially dealt, followed by a round of betting after which cards can be traded in for new ones.
HORSE is a common casino game in which rounds of Hold’Em, Omaha, Razz, Seven Card Stud, and Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or better are alternated throughout the game. This variant is often played in casinos at high stakes.
Other Popular Poker Games
In addition to the poker games list above, there are a number of other popular poker games which might not find themselves on a World Series of Poker event, but are also commonly played in home games.
Pineapple poker is similar to Texas Hold ‘Em except that players all get 3 cards to start rather than two. Players then get to choose their preferred two cards and throw the third away. In the variant Crazy Pineapple, players do not have to throw the extra card away until after the flop has been revealed and bet. Finally, in Lazy Pineapple, you do not have to throw away your extra card until after all board cards are revealed and betting rounds are complete. As you can imagine, that extra cards can lead to some monster hands and crazy betting rounds. Full disclosure, Crazy Pineapple is one of our all-time favorite variants.
In Badugi, the dealer gives each player four cards face down. Badugi is a draw game, so players can turn in their cards after each of two betting rounds in an attempt to improve their hands. The goal is to get a “badugi,” which is four cards all of different suits and ranks. The lowest badugi (assuming multiple players reach badugi) wins. If a player reaches the true badugi, they have the option to yell “Badugi!” and violently startle the other players at the table.
Short Deck Poker
Short Deck Hold ‘Em has exploded onto the poker scene in the past few years. This game is identical to traditional Texas Hold ‘Em, with the only difference being that all of the cards from 2 through 5 are removed from the deck before playing. A simple change, but of course one that changes everything. In some variations of Short Deck, a flush beats a full house and a set beats a straight. However, hand rankings vary by room, so be sure to confirm before you start playing.
Chinese poker is a vastly different variant that is only played by a maximum of four players. For that reason, you will rarely find it in a casino environment. In Chinese poker, the dealer gives each player 13 cards. They then divide these cards into three different poker hands: 2 hands containing 5 cards and one hand containing 3 cards. Players attempt to make the best/highest-ranked holdings (compared to how other players have arranged their holdings) for each hand. A lot of luck drives this poker variant and beginners often find it quite fun.
Less Popular Poker Games List
Here are a few more poker variants you may come across in your travels. They are rare enough that we will not go into the details here but be assured that a quick Google will enable you to find the rules and procedures of each game.
- Double Board Hold’Em
- Blind Man’s Bluff
In reality, poker offers an infinite number of variations. Every day players are thinking of new games to add to their own poker games list. Short-deck poker, for example, was only invented by Paul Phua and Richard Yong in 2018 and now you will even find it played at the World Series of Poker! So if none of the above poker variants appeals to you, perhaps you can invent your own!
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