Finding Your Game Online: Exploring Different Variations of Poker
Poker is a game of people played out in many different variants. Playing online poker for free is a great way to test the waters and decide which game is best suited to your abilities. Gaining experience in each is the only way to determine if you have to the intangibles to play which game.
Texas Hold’em is by far the most popular form of poker today. This is thanks in part to the fact that it is the most visible variant of poker on television, played at the World Series of Poker, the World Poker Tour, and on television shows such as High Stakes Poker on GSN and NBC’s Poker After Dark.
Deemed the “Cadillac of Poker”, Texas Hold’em is perhaps the most simple game to play, yet the most difficult to play right. Hold’em at its most basic is two cards face down to each player, and five community cards dealt face up across the table. The best five card hand wins.
That’s where the complexity comes into play as players use varying strategies and reads on their opponents to make the right decisions. Patience is a virtue and weighing all of your options heavily are keys to success in this thinking man’s game.
Omaha is a game of poker similar to Hold’em, played with four cards, and is more popular in Europe. Omaha is played in two varieties, Omaha High where the best five card hand takes the pot and Omaha High-Low where the pot is split between the high hand and the best qualifying low hand consisting of five non-paired cards under 8.
Omaha High plays much like Hold’em but the four hole cards allow for up to six possible starting hand combinations instead of one. This makes bluffing less frequent and consequently less profitable as it more likely that your opponent has made a nut hand.
Omaha High-Low plays the same with the exception of the best low hand winning half the pot. Sequential low cards and high pairs make strong Omaha H/L starting hands. The potential for a qualifying low hand is perhaps the most important aspect of the game to remember. Often times there may be no qualifying low hand and the high hand scoops the pot.
Seven Card Stud
Seven Card Stud was the most popular and perhaps one of the oldest variants of poker until Hold’em’s rise to fame. Playing 7-Stud requires a keen memory and instant recall of every card that has been folded and every card that is still in play.
Seven Card Stud is played with three hole cards (two face down and one face up), each player is then dealt three individual cards face down and one final card face up with rounds of betting in between. As always the best five card hand wins.
Seven Card Stud is also played in the High and High-Low variations. The High variant uses the same basic rules of all poker games while the High-Low split game requires an 8 qualifier to make a winning low hand.
Taking part in these free poker games gives you ample opportunity to expand your poker knowledge in general, and learning strategies for each game will make you a better player overall. Also playing in these other games will offer you more action in the game you find you’re best at.