Types of poker

Poker is a family of card games with varying methods on how hands can be formed, how cards are dealt, number of betting rounds and size of bets allowed.

Texas holdem

Texas Holdem is by far the most popular of all the poker variations and because of this popularity is the hardest to be successful at, but conveniently it’s the easiest to learn. Holdem tournaments can be played with as few as two players with no upper maximum (but a maximum of 10 players at each table). Cash games can have 2 to 10 players where players can join or leave the table at any point.

Texas holdem is played with each player receiving two private cards which only they can see followed by five community cards, dealt in the middle of the table for everyone to see. Players can make their five card hand using any combination of these seven cards, with the player with the best hand winning.

Within each hand there are four betting rounds. The first being the pre-flop bet where the betting is forced, with a small blind and big blind bet, on the first two players to the left of the dealers button respectively. The game continues to move clockwise until all players left in the pot (those that haven’t folded) have bet an equal amount. The amount that can be bet depends on which betting variation of holdem is being played, Limit – bets can only be raised by the value of the big blind, No limit – bets can be raised to any amount available to the player or Pot limit – bets can only be raised to an amount that does not exceed what is already in the pot. This round of betting takes place after the private cards are dealt and before any community cards are dealt.

The second round of betting takes place post flop – once the first three community cards are dealt. Betting starts with the first player to the left of the dealers’ button, not including those who previously folded. There is no forced bet this time and any betting is dependent on the players. If there is to be betting the minimum bet must equal one big blind (or an all-in bet if the player can’t bet that much) and maximum bets are dependent on the same betting variations as pre-flop.

The next round of betting takes place after the forth community card is dealt, called the turn. Again there is no forced bet and betting amounts depend on whether limit, no limit or pot limit is being played. With limit, the minimum bet now raises to two big blinds. With the other two variations of holdem the betting patterns remain the same.

After the fifth and final community card is dealt, dubbed the river card, players have their last chance to bet. This follows the same rules as the turn betting round. If after all the betting there is more than one player left in the game, there is a showdown in which players show there private cards. The player with the best hand wins, if the hands have identical strength the pot is split. After the show down the dealers button move one position to the left and it all starts again

Omaha

Omaha comes second in the popularity stake of the many loved poker varieties, but miles behind Texas holdem. This is probable down to it being more complicate, and throwing in to the mix Omaha Hi-Lo it can get a little tricky. Due to this added difficulty a talented Omaha player can find weaker opposition at the table.

Omaha is played with each player receiving four private cards which only they can see followed by five community cards, dealt in the middle of the table for everyone to see. Players can make their five card hand using any combination that includes two of their private cards and three of the community cards. In Omaha Hi the best hand wins. In Omaha Hi-Lo the best hand wins half the pot and the lowest Lo hand wins half the pot. To qualify for a Lo hand the player must have five unpaired cards below or equal to eight, including the Ace. For a Lo hand, straights and flushes don’t count, so the best Lo hand is A-2-3-4-5. If there is no qualifying Lo hand the best hand takes the whole pot.

Each hand is divided into four rounds of betting, and betting moves around the table in a clockwise direction. The betting starts with the player on the left of the dealers’ button, which moves one place clockwise after each hand. The start bet is a forced small blind followed by a big blind bet by the player two positions to the dealers left. The betting then continues until all players have either folded or matched the highest bet. Bet amounts depend on whether you are playing Limit, where the bet can only be raised by the big blind amount, Pot Limit, where bets cannot exceed the amount already in the pot, or No Limit, where the bet can be any amount available to the player. This round of betting takes place after the private cards are dealt and before any community cards are dealt.

The next round of betting takes place once the first three community cards are dealt, called the flop. The option to bet starts at the player to the left of the dealers button. There is no forced betting for this round and any bets (if any) depend on the players. Min bet is one big blind and maximum bet is dependent on whether you’re playing Limit, Pot Limit or No Limit.

The third betting round takes place after the forth community card is dealt, called the turn. Again the betting starts to the dealers left and there is no forced bet, betting (if any) depends on whether limit, no limit or pot limit is being played. With limit, the minimum bet now raises to two big blinds. With the other two variations of Omaha the betting patterns remain the same.

Finally the fifth card is dealt, called the river, and the final round of betting takes place. This follows the same rules as the turn betting round. Once the betting is finished if more than one player is left there is a showdown, in which players show there private cards. In Omaha Hi the best hand wins. In Omaha Hi-Lo the best hand wins unless there is a qualifying Lo hand, in which case the pot is split between the best hand and the lowest Lo hand. This can be the same player.

seven card stud

Seven card stud use to be the king of all poker variations until Texas holdem took the crown. Games can be played with as few as two players up two eight per table. The betting structure is quite complicated, with five betting rounds and an initial ante bet before any cards are dealt.

Seven card stud is played with each player receiving seven cards, there are no community cards, the first two cards and final cards are private cards that only the player can see. The four other cards can only be used by the player holding the cards, but they are dealt face up so that all the other players can see them. Players can make their five card hand using any combination of these seven cards, with the player holding the best hand winning. If there are two or more equally strong hands the pot is split. If there is an odd chip, it is given to the player whose hand has the higher suit. Suit strength, from weak to strong, is given in alphabetical order (club, diamonds, hearts then spades).

The game starts with each player putting in a forced bet, called the Ante, this is normally in the range of 1/5 of the lowest bet limit and is placed before any cards are dealt. Once everyone has anted up each player is dealt three cards, two of which are private cards dealt face down, and the third named the ‘door’ card dealt face up. The player with the lowest value ‘door’ card must ‘bring in’. This is another forced bet that is half the lowest bet size, but it can be raised. If two players have an equally low card suit strength is taken into account.

Within each hand there are five betting rounds, the first called ‘third street’ starts to the left of the player that had to ‘bring in’. The amount players can raise bets depends on what betting variation is being played, Limit poker will be the one discussed here as it’s very unlikely you’ll come across pot limit or no limit seven card stud. In limit the bet amount is in increments of the lowest bet size. The betting continues to move clockwise until each player has an equal bet amount or has folded.

The next round of betting is called ‘forth street’; it takes place once each player is dealt a fourth card (dealt face up). This time the betting starts with the player who has the highest two up cards. The bet amount that can be made is one small bet. For the round only if a pair is showing the player has the option of placing a bet of two small bet (the equivalent of one big bet)

Another face up card is dealt, and betting starts with the player holding the highest combination of up cards. This time the betting amount is one big bet. This round of betting is called ‘fifth street’. The next round called ‘sixth street’ is exactly the same as ‘fifth street’ and starts once the forth up card is dealt.

‘Seventh street’ or the river is the final betting round. Each player left is dealt a seventh card but this time it’s a private card. The player who started the last betting round starts the betting. Once all the betting is completed the players turn over their cards and the best hand wins.