Best Poker Games to Play – Most Popular Variations to Have Some Fun

best poker games

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Last Updated: February 12, 2023

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If you are looking for a card game to play with your friends or want to learn a game you can play alone online, poker is a great choice.

It not only allows you to spend quality time with your friends but depending on the variation, you can also make money.

Depending on what you are looking for, here are the most popular poker games that you should learn if you want to have fun playing cards.

Texas Hold’em

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Texas Hold’em, more specifically No Limit Texas Hold’em is by far the most popular poker game on the planet and if you are looking to learn only one poker variant, this is it.

Learning this poker variant will allow you to play poker with your friends and it will also allow you to sharpen your skills online or possibly even go for some glory in your local or online poker tournaments.

One of the best things about Texas Hold’em is that is it one of the easy poker games whose rules you can learn in a couple of hours.

This poker variant is played with the standard 52-card deck, and you will not have any trouble finding the props which you need to start playing. You probably already have a deck of cards laying around.

Another great thing about Texas Hold’em is that you can play it online, and you don’t have to wait to meet with your friends in order to play.

How Texas Hold’em Is Played

The game of Texas Hold’em starts with the dealer shuffling the cards and dealing each player one card at a time. Depending on if you are in the casino or a home game, the dealer will be a professional or one of the players at the table.

If you are playing in a casino, a round disc called the button is put in front of a player each hand. The button signals who will be dealing the cards if the game is self-dealt. It also marks the player who will be the last to act on each street after the flop.

The player on the direct left of the button is the small blind and the player on the direct left of the small blind is the big blind.

These two players are required to put certain amounts of chips (which depend on the stakes and the format) into the pot before the hand begins.

The dealer deals two cards (face down) to each player at the table (one card at a time) starting with the player on the direct left of the big blind (Under the Gun – UTG).

The preflop betting round starts with the UTG player and ends when the last bet is called, after which the post-flop action starts.

After the pre-flop action ends, the dealer deals three cards face up in the middle of the table and another round of betting starts. These three cards are called the flop and they can be used by all players left in the hand to put together the best possible combination.

This process is repeated two more times, on the turn (the fourth community card) and the river (the fifth community card).

Omaha Hold’em or Omaha

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Omaha has been rising in popularity in recent years and is now in the second spot on the poker games list.

This means that you will not have any trouble finding Omaha games if you go online, as all reputable poker sites offer this variant.

The thing that attracts most players to Omaha, is the fact that it has much more swings than Texas Hold’em.

How Omaha Hold’em Is Played

Omaha poker is played under almost the same rules as Texas Hold’em. The two major differences between these two games are:

  • Omaha is played with 4 cards instead of 2
  • Players must use both their hole cards when putting together a poker hand

So, the good thing is that if you already know how to play Texas Hold’em you will not have any trouble learning the Omaha rules.

Omaha is played as a pot-limit game which means that the maximum that the players can bet is the size of the pot.

With this said, the two most popular variants of Omaha are Omaha High and Omaha 8-or-better.

In Omaha High, the players are trying to win the pot by putting together the best high hand based on the Texas Hold’em hand rankings.

In Omaha 8-or-better the pot is split between the best high hand and the best low hand (five different cards ranked 8 or lower).

If you are coming from a Texas Hold’em background, be aware that although Omaha is played similarly, the fact that players play with four hole cards means that the value of most 5-card combinations goes significantly down in value.

For example, a top pair is a strong combination in Texas Hold’em while in Omaha in most cases it has no value at all.

Seven-Card Stud

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Not many people know that Seven-card Stud was actually a lot more popular before the poker boom which saw Texas Hold’em become the world’s most popular card game.

Even today there are a lot of players, especially those who play mostly in home games, that prefer Seven-Card Stud over other poker formats.

And although it is not as popular as Texas Holdem or Omaha when it comes to online poker sites, it is still one of the poker variants worth learning.

How Seven-Card Stud Is Played

Just like Hold’em and Omaha, Seven-Card Stud is played with the standard 52-card deck. Between 2 and 8 players can play in this game in which the goal is, just like in the two mentioned poker variations, to create the best 5-card combination.

The game of Seven-Card Stud starts with all of the players placing an ante into the pot (the amount is determined before the game starts). Then each of the players receives three cards (one card at a time), the first two cards are dealt face down and the third card is dealt face up.

The first player to act is the player with the lowest face-up card. After him, the action continues in a clockwise direction.

When the round ends, the dealer deals one more card face-up to those players still left in the hand, but this time the first player to act is the player whose two face-up cards make the best combination.

This process continues until all players left in the hand receive a total of seven cards, three cards turned face down and four cards turned face up.

After the last card has been dealt, another betting round ensues after which the player with the best 5-card combination wins.

Unlike Hold’em or Omaha, Seven Card Stud has a betting structure that consists of low and high bets (high bets are double the amount of low bets). The first two betting rounds are played with small bets while the last three betting rounds are played using high bets.

2-7 Triple Draw

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The third on our list of the most popular poker games is 2-7 Triple Draw. Just like Omaha, this game has become extremely popular in the last two decades which makes.

With the rise in popularity, 2-7 Triple Draw is easily one of the top poker variants that you should learn if you are planning to expand your portfolio of poker games.

How 2-7 Triple Draw Is Played

2-7 Triple Draw is played with the standard 52-card deck. However, unlike Hold’em or Omaha which can be played with up to 10 players, the maximum number of participants in this game is six.

The goal of 2-7 Triple Draw is to put together the best low hand, and like the name of the game suggests the best possible low hand is 2, 3, 4, 5, 7.

A round of this game starts with the SB and the BB posting blinds and the dealer dealing each player 5 cards, starting with the UTG player. This is followed by the first round of betting.

After each of the betting rounds, players can discard anywhere from 0 to 5 cards from their hand and get new cards from the deck.

2-7 Triple Draw consists of 4 betting rounds and 3 drawing rounds.

When the last drawing hand ends, the players that are left in the hand show their cards and the player with the best low hand wins.

Open-Face Chinese Poker

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If we made this most popular poker games list five years ago, Open-Faced Chinese poker probably would not make the list.

However, with the expansion of poker in Asia, OFC poker has become increasingly more popular in the rest of the world.

Thanks to its rise and popularity and interesting gameplay, Open-Faced Chinese poker has become one of the most fun poker games.

How Open-Face Chinese Poker Is Played

In Open-Face Chinese Poker, players are drawing cards from one deck in an effort to make the best possible hand. The game is played with the standard 52-card deck and with a maximum of four players.

Unlike the four already mentioned poker variations, OFC poker is not played in rounds. Instead, the game is played for points.

After players finish drawing their cards from the deck, they then put 13 cards into three categories:

  • Top
  • Middle
  • Bottom

Each of these categories represents a different hand and each of them is compared with the opponent’s hand from the same category,

The top category consists of three cards while the middle and the bottom category consist of five cards each. Each of the categories is ranked by the rules used for Texas Holdem or Omaha.

Note that, because the top category only contains three cards, the best possible hand for this category is a set or three of a kind.

Each category or each row is worth one point, so the player that has the best hand in the row receives one point.

However, if there are more than two players in the game, each player’s row is ranked against other players independently, which means that a player can win a point against one player but lose a point against the other.

This means, that unlike in other poker variants we mentioned, there isn’t a rule one hand wins it all.

In addition to the one point that a player can win when he wins a row, there are also bonus points.

For example, if a player wins all three rows against his opponent he will receive a 3 point bonus, which means that instead of winning 3 points he will win 6 points in total (one for each row and 3 as a bonus for winning all three rows).

There are also other bonuses, which can be overwhelming at first but are really simple once you get the hang of it.

Final Words on The Most Popular Poker Variants

In this article, we mentioned some of the most popular poker variants in the world. Learning the games we mentioned will allow you to have plenty of options to choose from, whether you are an online grinder or a casual poker player that enjoys playing in home games.

We mentioned the games in the order of popularity, so if you want to learn only one or two games from the list, we advise that you start with the games from the beginning of the article.

If you are planning to play these games for real money, we recommend that you invest a lot of time in learning the rules and practicing before you start risking your hard earn cash. Although the rules for most of these games are pretty simple, the gameplay is far more complex.

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