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Poker: The Best Online Variations and Choosing the Right Game for You

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Poker with a physical deck of cards — it could almost be a thing of the past; the way technology has advanced. Today, you can do away with the cards whether you’re at home or out and about, and just play online. Poker has developed online in a big way, and now you can play all manner of variations on the web. You can even use them to practice in case you fancy heading out to a brick-and-mortar casino some time. This article looks at some of the variations of poker you can play online, how to play them and why you might enjoy playing them.

Texas Hold’em Poker

Texas Hold’em is one of the most popular poker games — if not the most popular game — online. Although it’s easy to learn, which is part of its appeal, mastering the game is a different story. Texas Hold’em is a game of strategy. You’re playing against the other players at the table, not the house, and you’ll need to be able to have a (high) tolerance for risk because games have different betting limits — some will have none whatsoever, which makes them ideal if you want to win big. 

Players receive 2-hole cards, which they keep face down, and the dealer will deal 3 community cards in the initial flop, plus 2 further cards to complete the board. The players then have to form the best 5-card hand by combining their hole cards with 3 community cards.

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Omaha

Omaha is similar to Texas Hold’em, and the object is to win with the best high hand (or possibly, the best low hand if you’re playing the Omaha 8-or-better variation, which splits the pot between the highest hand and the lowest hand with cards under 8). If you have a lower tolerance of risk, you may prefer this game, which has pot limits. Like Texas Hold’em, you have 5 community cards, and the betting rounds are the same. It’s a fast-paced game, and position is important when you’re looking at possible hand combinations.

Open Face Chinese Poker

Open Face Chinese poker is ideal if you’re looking for something that little bit different. The game is especially popular amongst professional poker players, who like to gamble little and large stakes. Although there are no chips, the game takes its name from the fact that it uses poker hands, but beware: it gets a little complex.

Players must build 3 hands — two 5-card hands and a 3-card hand — with the lowest value one at the top through to the highest one at the bottom. Players win points for each hand they win, and these points are worth a specific monetary amount.

5-Card Draw

Playing Card and Poker Chips and Dices

5-Card draw is as quick and easy as poker games come, and it’s the best variation of poker to learn if you’re a beginner. From there, you can move on to more advanced versions of the game if you wish. I5-Card draw is as simple as this: you receive 5-hole cards; make your bet before the draw; draw new cards (if you wish to); bet again; and then reveal your cards in the showdown. 

In standard poker, you’re playing against at least one other player, and it’s the highest hand that wins. The best hand of all, of course, is the Royal Flush — a run of 10-Jack-Queen-King-Ace, all in the same suit — but is rare. The next best is a straight flush, which is close to a Royal Flush, but starts at 9 and runs through to the King, all in the same suit.

2-7 Triple Draw

This poker game is a fresh variation, almost anti-poker, for players who feel they’ve mastered standard poker and want something different or more advanced. It’s a little like standard poker, except there are 4 rounds and 3 draws. Players can discard anything between 0 and 5 cards. The object of the game is opposite to standard draw poker, however, in so far as that the player has try to achieve the lowest hand possible.

7-Card Stud

Seven seems to be a popular number in poker, but this version is different from community card games such as Texas Hold’em and Omaha. Each player posts an ante, and the action starts with the players receiving 2 cards, leaving the lowest card facing up and the other card facing down. The player holding the lowest card showing face up make a bet, the “bring in”. The dealer burns a card, deals a new face-up card, and this time the player with the strongest card will be the first to act. 

On this goes for the next few rounds, with the player holding the highest face-up card bringing in, until they reach final round, the “seventh street”, as it’s known. Anyone still in the game at this point must make the best 5-card hand from the 7 cards they have. Aces are high. 7-Card stud is a fixed limit game, which would suit anyone who wants to limit their potential losses. Other variants of the game include 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo, which, like Omaha Hi-Lo, is a split pot game, and Razz, in which players are trying to win with the lowest hand possible.

The world of online poker provides plenty of entertainment if you’re a poker fan, whether you just want to get started in the game and play simple 5-Card Draw or are a more advanced player who is looking for something a little quirkier, such as Open Face Chinese Poker. You can make big money in Texas Hold’em in a no limits game or you can limit potential losses in Omaha Hi-Lo. It’s up to you. Whatever type of poker game you seek, you’re most likely to find. That’s the joy of the internet.

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Last modified: September 30, 2019