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Home > Variants > Poker Variants

Poker Rules - Game Variants

Holdem Variants:

Texas Hold'em
Omaha Hold'em
Crazy Pineapple
The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly
Church (or Iron Cross)
Omaha Hi-Lo
Spanish Poker
Double Board Super Crazy Pineapple
Texas League Baseball
Double Flop Hold'em
Blind Man's Bluff
Houston Hold'em

Super Hold'em
Tahoe Poker
Paigow Poker

"Texas Hold 'Em" is a seven card poker game with simple rules that a beginner can easily learn and begin to play immediately. In spite of the simplicity, it is a fast and complex game that takes skill and practice to master. No wonder it has become one of the most popular forms of poker played today.

Texas Hold 'Em uses a disc called a dealer button to indicate where the cards are to be dealt. Prior to the deal, the two players to the left of the button place live bets called the small and large blinds. It's called blind because it's made prior to seeing any cards. It's called live because it counts as part of any further bets in the first betting round.

The play begins with two cards dealt face-down to each player. Action starts with a betting round beginning with the player to the left of the blind bets and continuing clockwise around the table. Players may bet, check, raise, or fold in turn. The large blind has the privilege of last action and may check or raise the bet.

Three community cards are then dealt face up in the center of the table and another betting round takes place beginning with the player to the left of the dealer button. Another card is dealt face up followed by a round of betting. The fifth and last card is dealt face up and a final round of betting takes place.

 Players remaining in the hand will then show their cards and the winning poker hand will be awarded the pot. Any combination of hole cards and community cards may be used to make the best five-card poker hand.

"Omaha Hold'em" is similar to Texas Hold'em. The difference is that the hands in Omaha are usually much better, since you get to choose from 9 cards total.

  1. Hole Cards. Each player is dealt four cards face down.
  2. The Flop. Three cards are dealt face up on the table.
  3. The Turn. A fourth card is dealt to the table.
  4. The River. Finally, a fifth card is dealt to the table.

The five cards on the table are community cards. Your hand is formed by taking exactly two hole cards and exactly three community cards, and forming the best poker hand possible. But remember, all the players have access to the community cards. When played for money, there is a round of betting after a round of cards is dealt (so four rounds of betting in total).

"Omaha Hi-Lo" - Omaha hi-lo (also known as Omaha 8 or better) is played like standard Omaha except the best high hand splits the pot with the best low hand. The low hand must be 5 different cards less than 8. Straights and flushes do not matter for low, and an ace can be used for low. Thus, the best low hand is A2345.

If someone has the best high and low hand, they scoop the pot, meaning they win the full pot. Another way for someone to scoop is if they have the best high hand and there is no qualifying low hand. For example, if John holds KKQJ and Tim holds TT23 and the board is KT998, then John would win both halves of the pot. There is no possible low, so John would win the whole pot with kings full of 9's.

"Pineapple" - Instead of two cards, each player is dealt three cards and immediately discards one of those three pocket cards face-down before pre-flop betting begins. This game is best played straight with no high/low option. Limit or no limit is preferrable to pot limit.

"Crazy Pineapple" – Instead of two cards, each player is dealt three cards. Before the turn card is dealt (after the post-flop betting), each player discards one of those three pocket cards face-down. If a player does not discard a card, his or her hand is dead after the turn is dealt. This game is best played high/low, 8 or better. Limit and pot limit are common, with no limit being fairly rare.

"Double Flop Holdem" – Whenever communal cards are dealt there are two different boards dealt. Players can use their two cards in combination with either of these two seperate boards, one OR the other. So if you had JT and with boards of AJ533 and Q9855, you would have two pair, jacks and threes, ace kicker on the top board and a queen-high straight on the other. So your hand is a queen-high straight. You could NOT make a hand like a full house, fives full of jacks using both boards. This game is best straight without a high/low option with structured limits or no limit. Optionally it can be a split pot game where the winner of each of the two boards gets half the pot, which is often played pot limit.

"Super Holdem" - Players are dealt three hole cards. Players may use all 3 in combination with 5 board cards to form a five card poker hand. Like Holdem plus a card.

"Tahoe Poker" - Players are dealt three hole cards. Players must use exactly 2 of their hole cards in combination with 5 board cards to form a five card poker hand. Like Omaha minus a card.

"Chowaha" - Players get two hole cards but there are three flops (all dealt at the same time), two turns (dealt at once), and one river. Players form combinations of boards using their hole cards and specific board lines, of which there are four. The top flop can't be used with the bottom turn and the bottom flop can't be used with the top turn. Often this is played Eight or Better and different board lines can be used to make a high or a low hand.

"Blind Man's Bluff" - When each player is dealt their two pocket cards, they do not look at them. Instead they hold them against their forehead so that every other player can see them. If you look at your cards before the showdown, your hand is ruled dead.

With the exception of Omaha, these games are rarely discovered outside kitchen tables. Brick-and-mortar casino generally do not have these games in their table list. The televised footage of a "Blind Man's Bluff" tourney during the 2004 World Series of Poker wasn't really the "greatest tournament of all time", in other words. There is one online site that has hosted these uncommon variants in the past. If you ever feel like a step outside the usual in a flop game of poker, visit FullTilt. Currently they're the only big online poker room that offers Pineapple and Crazy Pineapple.

I'll also mention that there are other games that people ask me about like "3-5-7 Poker", "Crazy 4 Poker", or "Colorado Holdem" which aren't really poker games. These are casino games where a player goes against the house and the house already has an edge. There is no reading the dealer, bluffing, or anything fun that would give a poker player any edge. The house edge in these games tends to be higher than games like craps or blackjack too, so my advice is to stick to real poker.

"The Good, the Bad, the Ugly" - Players are dealt two cards down and one up, three cards are placed in the middle face down (the community).

Round of betting, then the first card in the community is flipped face up. This is 'The Good'. All cards of the same rank are now wild (but The Good card is not shared and may not be used to complete someone's poker is merely an indicator of the wild card).

Another round of betting, then the middle card in the community is flipped face up. This is 'The Bad'. All cards of the same rank (face up or face down) must be discarded.

Another round of betting, then the final card in the community is flipped face up. This is 'The Ugly'. All players who have an up-card of the same rank must fold.

Another round of betting, then each player is given one more card face down. One last round of betting, then show. High hand wins the pot.