Types of Poker
Texas Holdem gains most of the attention when it comes to poker games. However, many types of poker exist beyond Holdem—both in the casino and in player-vs-player (PvP) formats.
The most popular poker variations include PvP games, such as Holdem, Omaha, and HORSE. Specific casino versions are also widely available, including Ultimate Texas Holdem and 3 Card Poker.
So which poker types should you play? This guide will cover different poker variants, the best games, comparisons, and more.
Different Types of Poker
Which Poker Variation Should You Play?
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How Many Different Poker Types Are There?
Poker is one of the most versatile casino games and forms the basis of dozens of card variations. That said, we could cover many different kinds of poker here. For simplicity’s sake, though, we will stick with a dozen variants in this discussion.
Our primary focus is on the most popular poker types in the casino (a.k.a. house-banked) and PvP settings. The player-vs-player poker variations break down into community-card and draw games.
Main Types of Poker: Overview
Again, dozens of poker games are available when considering the famous and obscure. For the most part, though, all variations fall into four categories of games.
Poker games can be House-banked or PvP, which includes Community Card Poker, Draw Poker, and Stud Poker.
You can learn about these different categories of poker below.
A house-banked game features a dealer and house edge. It includes familiar casino games like 3 Card Poker, Let It Ride, and Pai Gow.
Community Card Poker
Many poker variations include hole cards (dealt face down) and community cards (dealt face up). Community cards are available to everybody in the middle of the table. Examples of these games include Omaha and Texas Holdem.
A draw poker game lets you draw for different cards to get a better hand. You can decline to draw if you’re happy with the current hand. Badugi and 5-Card Draw are two examples of this style of poker.
Stud games see you receive anywhere from five to seven cards. You then put together the best possible hand, with no card swapping or community cards involved. 7-Card Stud and Razz are two of the most famous stud variants.
Popular Kinds of Poker to Play at Online Casinos
With all the voices you can find at online casinos, here is a list of the most common poker games you can play for real money.
Texas Holdem: The Most Popular Type of Poker
An estimated 100 million people play Texas Holdem regularly. Therefore, Holdem is easily the world’s most popular poker game.
Its popularity accelerated when it became the featured poker variant in televised tournaments in the early 2000s.
Texas Holdem also interests players due to its simple gameplay. The Holdem dealer gives you two hole cards and lays out five community cards through three streets (flop, turn, river).
Your goal is to make the best five-card hand using a combination of the community and hole cards.
You can find out more about this game in our Texas Holdem Guide.
Additionally, you may be interested in learning more about an exciting variant called Live Texas Holdem.
Let It Ride
Let It Ride is a 5-Card Stud variation that, like Ultimate Holdem, also comes from Bally.
It calls on you to beat the dealer using your three cards and two community cards (initially dealt face-down).
You’ll start each round by placing three bets of equal size on the table. You can take one bet back after the first and second community cards hit the table.
If you leave all three wagers on the table, you’re “letting them ride.” A further explanation of this game is available in OUSC’s Let It Ride Poker Guide.
3 Card Poker
Britain’s Derek Webb developed and patented 3 Card Poker in 1997 because he wanted a speedier poker variant.
3 Card Poker is a house-banked game that sees players and dealers get three cards.
It doesn’t involve any community cards or drawing rounds. Instead, you make an ante bet to start the round and a play wager if you like your hand.
You’ll receive ante bonuses for better hands and extra payouts for winning the Pair Plus bet (optional). We explain this game more in-depth in our 3-Card Poker Guide.
Also, don’t forget that you can try Live 3 Card Poker at some online casinos.
Caribbean Stud Poker
Caribbean Stud draws its name from how it first appeared in an Aruba casino. It’s a 5-Card Stud variant that sees you try to beat the dealer’s five-card hand.
Each round begins with you placing an ante and optional progressive jackpot bet. You can raise (2x ante) or fold after looking at your five-card hand.
The dealer must “qualify” by having A-K or better for you to win the ante and raise bets potentially. If the dealer doesn’t qualify, you get even money on the ante and push on the raise.
Raises pay bonuses for higher hands, including 100:1 for a royal flush. See more on this game in OUSC’s Caribbean Stud Poker Guide and learn about Live Caribbean Stud Poker.
Pai Gow Poker
Pai Gow is a take on a Chinese dominoes game of the same name. It’s one of the unique poker types, thanks to how it gives you two hands.
After betting, you’ll receive seven total cards and must form a 5- and a 2-card hand. You win by beating the dealer on both hands, push by winning one, and lose when losing both.
The five-card hand needs to rank higher than the two-card hand. Therefore, you can’t just stack the two-card hand in an unfavorable situation.
This Pai Gow Poker Guide explains more about the rules and arranging hands.
Other Poker Variations You Can Play
Omaha is the second-most-popular community card game behind Texas Holdem. An Omaha dealer gives players four hole cards instead of two, like in Holdem.
You attempt to make the best hand out of two hole cards and five community cards. You must use two of the hole cards when forming hands.
This game features two variations: “Hi” and “Hi-Lo.” Omaha Hi awards the entire pot to the highest hand(s).
Omaha Hi-Lo, meanwhile, splits the pot between the highest and lowest hands. It’s possible to have both the highest and lowest hands and collect the entire pot.
Ultimate Texas Holdem
Bally Gaming’s Roger Snow invented Ultimate Texas Holdem (UTH) to capitalize on Texas Holdem’s growing popularity.
UTH is the house-banked version of Texas Holdem and works the same way. Hands feature five community cards and two hole cards for each player.
Only, instead of trying to beat other players, your goal is to beat the dealer.
Ultimate Texas Holdem pays bonuses for specific hands on “blind” and “trips” bets. The latter is an optional side wager that delivers bonus payouts for qualifying three-of-a-kind hands.
You’ll find more on the available bets and hand bonuses in our Ultimate Texas Holdem Guide.
Before Texas Holdem’s explosion, 7-Card Stud was previously the most popular poker game. It calls on you to make the best possible five-card hand out of seven total cards.
After placing an ante, you start each round with two face-down cards and one face-up card. The table goes through a series of betting rounds as three face-up cards turn up.
The final street sees you and others receive another face-down card—making for seven cards total. Again, you use five of the seven cards to make the best hand.
Common in video poker games, 5-Card Draw is occasionally available in poker rooms too. In the latter case, each player receives a face-down, five-card hand.
A betting round ensues clockwise, where gamblers can check, bet, raise, or fold. Players then have the option to draw for 0–5 cards.
After the draw, one more betting round, followed by the showdown. The best hand from the remaining players wins the pot.
HORSE combines (Texas) Holdem, Omaha Hi-Lo, Razz, 7-Card Stud, and Stud Hi-Lo.
It’s one of the more challenging types of poker due to how it requires mastering multiple games.
The games run in order, with Holdem going first, Omaha Hi-Lo going second, and so forth.
Each game runs for an orbit (every player takes a turn at blinds) before the next one starts.
All betting happens in a fixed-limit format, unlike the standard no-limit format.
Also called Stud Lo, Razz has similar rules to 7-Card Stud. It’s one of the more different types of poker because it awards the pot to the lowest hand (a.k.a. Lowball).
Razz starts each player off with two face-down cards and one face-up card. Like stud, a series of betting streets occur with each ensuing card.
You aim to make the lowest hand possible using five of the seven cards.
Like Razz, Badugi is another Lowball draw game. However, it differs by having players form hands with four cards instead of five.
Badugi also doesn’t consider suits when ranking hands.
Each player receives four cards to start a hand. Three drawing rounds ensue, where players can discard 0–4 cards.
The lowest four-card hand at showdown collects the pot.
Comparing Different Types of Poker
Even when understanding different types of poker games, you may have trouble comparing them in a meaningful way.
The following chart shows how the main poker types compare in terms of difficulty, popularity, and availability.
For reference, difficulty refers to the strategy rather than just learning the game.
What is the Best Kind of Poker to Play?
It’s difficult to determine the “best poker game” with all the different types of poker available. Much depends upon what the individual is seeking from their gambling experience. Factors to consider are the following:
- Skill level
- Risk tolerance
- Easy to learn
- House edge (house-banked poker games)
If you’re looking for the ultimate challenge, Texas, Omaha, and 7-Card Stud would be up your alley. These games feature highly competitive play and deliver long-term profits to top players.
Assuming you’re seeking straightforward strategy and bonus payouts, Ultimate Texas Holdem, Let It Ride, and 3-Card Poker are games worth your while.
What is the Easiest Poker Variation for Beginners?
Most poker types aren’t easy in terms of skill, but some variations have simple gameplay. These games are best for beginners seeking an easy path to poker. A few simpler poker variations include:
- Texas Holdem – It is among the easiest PvP games to play, thanks to its basic gameplay model.
- Caribbean Stud – You receive five cards and decide whether to raise or fold, simple as that.
- 5-Card Stud – You’ll get five cards, and you can draw 0-5 cards before the showdown.
- Pai Gow Poker – Pai Gow requires you to form a five- and two-card hand out of seven cards.
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Many different types of poker games are conveniently available online. Below, you can see entertaining variations at our recommended online poker rooms.
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How to Play Your Favorite Type of Poker Online
You can quickly start playing online poker through a few simple steps. This fast process generally applies to all of our favorite poker sites.
Sign UpThe first step to playing various types of poker online involves signing up. Sites make this easy by featuring a register or signup button on the homepage. You need to select this option and fill out the form that pops up to become a registered player.
DepositYou can generally play free poker games online after registering. However, you’ll have to deposit before playing for real money. Visit the payment methods section, choose an available banking option, and fund your account.
Claim a BonusMost poker sites offer a welcome bonus, such as a 100% match deal. You may need to enter a bonus code when claiming such offers.
Pick a Poker TypeNext, you want to navigate to the games section and choose an available variation. Some operators offer many different forms of poker, while others only have a few.
Play Poker & Claim Your Winnings!Hopefully, the final step involves playing well and collecting winnings.
Best Online Casinos to Play Different Forms of Poker
Many online casinos offer multiple types of poker, but only some of them are among the industry’s best. The following gaming sites are our top picks for real money online poker.
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Start Playing Poker for Real Money!
Many different types of real money poker are available in the gaming industry. You can test your skills and go for profits in Omaha or Texas Holdem. Or you can compete against the dealer in games like Caribbean Stud, Let Ride, and Pai Gow.
Whatever your preference, you should consider our recommended online casinos and poker sites when doing so. The OUSC team has spent countless hours reviewing online poker rooms and casinos to bring you the best.
Our top picks are safe operators with excellent reputations and a wide range of poker games and promotions.
Frequently Asked Questions About Types of Poker
Many casino players have questions about poker variations. Below are the most common ones.
What is the hardest form of poker?
Although an easy game to learn, Texas Holdem is arguably the most challenging poker variation regarding skills. Every pro and skilled amateur knows how to play hold’em, making the mid and high stakes difficult to beat. Many players eventually explore different types of poker games to avoid Holdem saturation.
Is blackjack a form of poker?
No, blackjack’s only similarities to poker include being a card game with a 52-card deck. Blackjack features different rules in comparison to a poker game. It requires you to beat the dealer without exceeding a score of 21.
What kind of poker do they play in Vegas?
Las Vegas offers a wide variety of community-card, draw, stud, and house-banked poker games. Vegas casinos collectively offer Texas Holdem, Omaha, 7-Card Stud, Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride, and more. Some of these casinos, such as the Venetian, offer posh, dedicated poker rooms.
What kind of poker is played on TV?
Texas Holdem is the most popular TV poker game and the centerpiece of many televised tournaments. Omaha is a distant second as the next most-common TV poker variation.
What is 2 Card Poker called?
2 Card Poker is a rare game that’s available in limited casinos. It’s similar to 3 Card Poker, except it features hands with only two cards. For practical purposes, many people envision Texas Holdem (2 hole cards) when thinking of 2 Card Poker.