Different Types of Poker Explained

Since its start in the 19th century, poker has gained immense popularity thanks to its appearances on TV, movies, and even books, quickly becoming many people’s favourite pastime. Moreover, poker players worldwide are attracted to the game because of its exciting blend of probability, psychology, and luck!

However, putting together a winning hand isn’t easy, especially if you aren’t familiar with the different types of poker. If you ever go to a casino, you’ll notice people spend their hard-earned money on the game’s diverse varieties. Each of these requires a different strategy, and they all have their own set of strict rules.

However, before you pick a game and go all-in, this article will help you familiarize yourself with the different types of poker.

Most Popular Poker Variants


Five Card Draw

This variant is often considered one of the simplest forms of poker. The game starts with the dealer giving five cards to each player. After the first deal has been made, every player can pick up to three cards to exchange for new ones. Once the exchange is complete, the player with the best combination wins.


Badugi is very similar to traditional poker. The only difference is that the aces aren’t considered valuable cards. Instead, they are considered to be of low value. The betting round starts once every player has four cards.

After the betting round, the first draw takes place. Every player can draw a maximum of four cards, which repeats in the second, third, and fourth draws. After the four draws, there’s a final betting round, which is followed by the shutdown. In the end, the player with the best four-card combination wins.

Seven Card Stud

This poker variant is a lot like the five-card draw. The only difference is that players are dealt seven cards at the start. Out of these seven cards, three cards are face down, while four cards face up. To win, every player must create the highest-ranking combination from five of the seven cards in their hand.


This game is different because the least valuable hand takes the cake. Due to this, the traditional poker card ranking system doesn’t apply. Another differentiating factor is that the game follows the stud format (which we’ll explain in more detail later), meaning players can’t swap their cards.

Chinese Poker 

This version of poker works for two to four players. The dealer gives 13 cards to each player, every player then splits the cards into two hands. One hand has a pair of five cards, and the other has three. All three of these combinations have a name: 

  1. One pair of five cards is called the “middle.”
  2. The second pair is called “back.”
  3. The three-card combination is called the “front.”

The front should always be the lowest-ranking combination, while the back should have the highest value. Next, players put their hands down on the table in the following order:

  1. Front, face-down, and farthest from the hand. 
  2. Middle, face-down, and closer. 
  3. Back, face-down, and closest.

Every player announces if they’re playing their hands, and if they do, they also reveal the royalties they’re willing to put at stake. The participants get points based on card revelation, and the winner collects the royalties.

2-7 Triple Draw

This poker variant uses a lowball ranking system, which essentially means “the worst hand wins.” The game starts with the dealer giving five cards to each player. Once that’s done, the betting round begins. When the betting round is over, the drawing rounds start. 

There are three total drawing rounds in which players can swap cards with the dealer. Each drawing round is followed by a betting round, and after the final betting round, the lowest ranking hand wins.

Omaha Hi/Lo

While this version of poker is widely popular, it only takes the silver medal in the popularity contest. Every player is dealt four cards, and then the traditional poker rules apply to every game.

Five Card Omaha

Every player receives five cards at the start of the game. After that, players can stick with the cards they have or draw different ones. Any player who wants a replacement can do so with all the cards they have.

But like every other flop-based game, there’s a big and small blind. The betting begins from the dealer’s left. Here’s how the action plays out:

  • The deal: Blinds are set, and the cards are distributed 
  • The draw: Every player has the choice to draw new cards
  • After the draw: Every player gets new cards
  • Showdown: The best five-card combination wins

Like most poker games, the lowest hand is a high card, and the most valuable is the royal flush.

Short Deck

Whether you call it Six-Plus Hold ‘em or short deck, the game is often considered a quicker version of the esteemed Texas Hold ‘em poker game, but there are a few differences. These include:

  • Every card between two to five is removed if it’s not used. 
  • Every player posts an ante— there are no blinds.
  • The game starts with the dealer posting an ante of their own. It’s often the same value that the players pay.

In addition, the rankings of the hands are different. It goes from strongest to weakest:

  1. Royal flush
  2. Straight flush
  3. Four of a kind
  4. Flush
  5. Full house
  6. Straight
  7. Three of a kind
  8. Two pair
  9. One pair
  10. High card

Let It Ride

This poker variant uses an entire 52-card deck. The goal is to win every bet on the table. Every player has five cards, out of which two are community cards. The dealer will distribute the community cards, and players can withdraw one part from their three-part bet. 

You’re not competing with the house or the dealer, which means the dealer won’t have cards. If you don’t think you have a chance of winning, you can reduce your bet to decrease your loss. You have the best chances of winning if you have a pair of tens in your hand. 

H.O.R.S.E. Poker

It’s borderline impossible to write an article on the different types of poker and not mention H.O.R.S.E. This game combines five different versions of poker that are rotated in an order. The rotation of these depends on different rules, like tournament levels or the number of hands.

Each letter in H.O.R.S.E stands for a different poker game. 

  1. H: Hold ‘em (Texas)
  2. O: Omaha Hi/Lo
  3. R: Razz
  4. S: Seven Card Stud
  5. E: Stud Hi/Lo (Eight or better)

Once every version has been played, the game starts all over again. Usually, the games are played for varying stakes. 

Pineapple Poker

The game starts with the dealer giving each player two cards. Once the cards are distributed, there’s a pre-flop round of betting that begins with the player sitting at the dealer’s left side. The player on the dealer’s left is called the small blind, while the player on the right is called the big blind. Both of the blinds need to place a bet before they’re dealt cards.

Before the flop is revealed, every player has to discard a hole card. After the turn, the river, and the flop, the betting round carries on. The player with the highest hand after the betting round wins the whole pot.

Texas Hold ‘Em

This variant is by far one of the most popular casino games out there. Texas Hold ‘em has even become an integral part of the World Series of Poker. At the start, players are dealt two hole or pocket cards, after which they wait for the revelation of five community cards.

The betting can happen in four rounds, which includes the following: 

  1. After players receive the hole cards
  2. After the three community cards are shown
  3. After the fourth card is shown
  4. After the last card is dealt

A player must have a hand with five cards dealt on the table. Note that the standard poker hands apply in this game too.

Mixed Poker Games

Omaha Hi/Lo Mixed

This game is a combination of two poker variants of Omaha. The first game is Omaha Hi/Lo which involves pot-limit betting, while the second has a fixed limit. This version of poker is ideal for beginners since it has two betting limits.

Mixed Hold’Em

The mixed version of Hold ‘em has both no-limit and limit Hold ‘em. This mix is an excellent option for seasoned Hold ‘em players because they’re already familiar with the rules and can adjust their strategy to the diverse betting formats.

Eight Game Mix

This version of poker includes the following games:

  1. Omaha
  2. 2-7 Triple Draw
  3. Texas Hold ‘em (No limits)
  4. Texas Hold ‘em
  5. Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo
  6. Omaha Hi/Lo
  7. Seven-Card Stud
  8. Razz

Every game from this list has a fixed limit for the betting except Texas Hold ‘em no-limit and Omaha (pot-limit). This diverse combination makes the game challenging even for the most experienced players.

Ten Game Mix 

This mixed poker game was first seen in the 2011 version of the World Series of Poker. It has the following games: 

  1. Limit Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo
  2. No-Limit Hold ‘em
  3. Limit 2-7 Triple Draw
  4. Limit Razz
  5. Pot-limit Omaha
  6. Limit Badugi
  7. Limit Omaha Hi/Lo
  8. Limit 2-7 Single Draw
  9. Limit Stud Hi


Understanding this should be a breeze if you know how H.O.R.S.E works— just get rid of the “R” (Razz), and you’ll be playing H.O.S.E.

The Three Main Types of Poker

Draw Poker

Draw Poker is one of the oldest variants of poker. Games in this category are the ones where players can hide their cards from their opponents to improve them. For example, players can discard weak cards and draw stronger replacements. The resulting hand is then played.

Since no card is exposed, players judge each other on the number of cards and through observed mannerisms. The lack of information aside, creating a strong hand in this game is difficult.

Community Card Poker

In this category of poker, cards are shared face-up by the players on the table. Apart from the community cards, players are also dealt a different set of cards that other players on the table can’t see. Players then use this combination to create the best possible hand.

Stud Poker

Stud Poker involves games where players are dealt cards face-up and face-down. Therefore, your opponents have a rough idea of your hand. The only way of improving your hand is by receiving better cards. 

Additional Types of Poker

Lowball Poker

In lowball poker, the ranking of poker hands is inverted, meaning the lowest hand wins. There are three ways a hand can rank low:

  1. Ace-to-six low
  2. Ace-to-five low
  3. Deuce-to-seven low

The most common method is ace-to-five. However, a flush or a straight can help determine which has the most value in many cases. 

High-Low Split

In this game, half of the pot goes to the player with the best hand, and the other half goes to the player with the lowest. If more than two players are in the same position, the portion of the pot is split. The high hand can be found easily since it complies with the general rules of poker, but players can use different methods to figure out which hand is the lowest.

Cash Game and Tournaments

Starting a Game

In a poker game, players can place bets in two different ways. If you’re playing Texas Hold’em, the player sitting at the dealer’s left puts up a small bet that is generally half of the minimum bet. After this, the next player usually places the minimum bet.

However, a player can also raise if they feel their cards have a good chance of winning. But then again, people can always bluff. 

Buying In

This is the amount of money you use to gain access to a particular poker table. Usually, there are rules regarding the amount of money you can use to buy into a poker game. However, two things you should never forget when buying in are:

  1. Don’t play with money you can’t afford to lose
  2. Don’t buy in with your entire gambling budget

You should always have a dedicated bankroll for your wild poker nights. 


People “rebuy” when they’ve lost all their chips or don’t have the amount required to play a single hand. Depending on the game and the stakes, the rules for this can vary. 

Cashing Out

When a player exchanges their poker chips and gets cash in return, they cash out. Since poker is generally played at a table’s stakes, players can cash out all of their chips.


Every player at a poker table must consider the poker rake. The rake is a fee that the casino or website charges, usually for the overheads and costs. However, there are ways to reduce the impact of this on your poker budget.

Which Game or Type of Poker Is Most Popular?

Doyle Brunson (two-time World Series Champion) called No-Limit Texas Hold’em the “Cadillac of poker,” and we couldn’t agree more! Big bets, concealed cards, and open cards make this version a favourite amongst players worldwide.  

Which Type of Poker Is Best for Beginners?

Cash games are often considered the best option for people new to the world of poker. Since the games have low stakes, players don’t have to worry too much about getting eliminated.

Additionally, the blinds don’t increase, so players don’t have to start playing with a long-term strategy either.

Betting Structures

Fixed Limit

A player can either raise, call, or bet, but the amount has to be fixed. This amount is usually set before the game starts and can vary depending on the game.

No Limit

A player can raise or bet by any amount; they can even go all-in! 

Pot Limit

In simple words, the limit of the wager is decided by the pot size. For example, if the pot has $500, the highest call will be $500.

Number of Players

Heads Up

Heads Up is a poker game played between only two players.


Short- Handed is a poker game with six or less players. 

Full Ring

“Full rings” are tables with seven to ten players.

In Conclusion

The diverse world of poker is wild, fun, and ruthless. If you’re an aspiring player trying to learn how the different types of poker affect your chances of winning— you’re on the right track! Doing your homework before buying into a game goes a long way. Lastly, always remember to take things slow and be patient to develop the best winning strategy.


How many types of poker are there? 

The most notable variants of poker are:

  • Limit Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo
  • No-Limit Hold ‘em
  • Limit 2-7 Triple Draw
  • Limit Razz
  • Pot-Limit Omaha
  • Limit Badugi 
  • Limit Omaha Hi/Lo
  • Limit 2-7 Single Draw

What are the three types of poker?

  1. Stud
  2. Community
  3. Draw

What is the easiest type of poker?

The five-card draw starts with each player getting five cards. It’s pretty straightforward since players can easily exchange cards to improve their hand.

What is basic poker called?

The most recognizable variant of poker worldwide is Texas Hold ‘em. 


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