The 2016 World Series of Poker kicks off next week on May 31st at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. If you’re in the mood for a little poker action, we’ve got you covered with lot of your favorites. But if you’re new to poker or you’re not sure where to start, things can get a little daunting. Well today, we’re going to sort everything out.
Keep reading and we’ll fill you in on the five most lucrative poker games you need to play, both online and off. Whether you want to play online poker against other players, live poker in Vegas or at your local card room, or solo games at video poker machines, we’ve got you covered.
The biggest, most storied poker game in the history of everything, Texas Hold’em has changed online poker and the live poker world dramatically. If you were a kid in the ‘80s, chances are you saw your parents play 5 Card Stud or 7 Card Stud with friends. That was the norm back in the day. But Texas Hold’em is rich in history, played in card rooms and back rooms for decades upon decades.
But it was online poker that really fueled the fire for Texas Hold’em. When Chris Moneymaker steamrolled an online poker buy-in into a World Series of Poker Main Event, people started to take notice and realize that Texas Hold’em was a game-changer. Now, instead of each player dealing with his or her own cards, the fun of community cards made people realize that this was a whole new ball game.
The game begins with one player holding the dealer button and the two players to his or her left placing their blinds—a small blind and a big blind. This is a set value that two players must place with every hand. The dealer button moves clockwise so that the blinds move with it.
After the blinds have been placed, all players receive two cards each, face down. Players are invited to bet starting with the player to the left of the big blind. The bet much match the big blind or be greater than it, which would ultimately prompt players to match that bet.
Once the round of betting has concluded, three cards are dealt face up on the table. This round of dealing is called The Flop. The goal of Texas Hold’em is to have the best 5-card hand using your hold cards (the two you’re dealt) and the five community cards. At this point, you have 5 cards to deal with, so you could ultimately make a betting decision based on what you’re holding and what the community cards are.
With the flop on the table, players are invited to bet again. Players can also choose to check if no one else has bet. If a player has bet, other players may call or raise. Failing to do so means you bow out of the hand.
After all bets are complete, a Turn card is dealt. Just one of them this time. Again, another round of betting ensues, followed by a 5th card known as The River. With all five cards on the table, players are invited to bet again. After all bets are completed, remaining players turn over their cards to reveal what they have. The player with the best hand wins the pot.
Jacks or Better
While not an online poker game per se, Jacks or Better is available to play at Slots of Vegas. Instead of a community poker game, this one is played against the house. Actually, scratch that. You’re not really playing against the house. Instead, you’re playing against yourself. The goal of Jacks or Better is to simply get a pair of Jacks or anything better. As long as you’ve got that hand, you get paid. The better your hand, the more money you’ll win.
And it gets better. While you’re dealt five cards right off the bat, you don’t have to keep all five cards. In fact, you can toss away all of them, none of them, or anywhere in between. You get to do this once, but it’s a pretty sweet deal, especially if you already have a pair of Jacks to start.
Other Video Poker Variations
As popular as online poker is, video poker is actually more popular because it allows casual poker players who don’t like the concept of bluffing to enjoy a game without having to worry about competition. At Slots of Vegas, we offer a number of different video poker variations that work just like Jacks or Better. In many cases, you need a pair of Jacks to win, just like Jacks or Better. However, some games come with jokers or other cards that act as wilds. What’s more, you’ll find varying payout structures that pay out differently for hitting a 5-of-a-kind.
No one likes holding the lowest poker hand, unless of course you’re playing Razz. This online poker variation turns the tables on bad beats. Instead of the highest hand coming out with a win, it’s the lowest hand that gets you the victory. That’s correct, the lowest hand wins the pot in Razz. And if you’re worried about hitting a straight or a flush when you don’t want to, don’t sweat it. They actually don’t count against you, so you can make a low hand without worry about a straight or a flush taking your hand higher on the ranking system.
When you play online or attend a live poker tournament series like the World Series of Poker, you’ll notice that a good chunk of the poker tournaments and cash games available are of the Omaha variety. While it’s not quite as popular as Texas Hold’em, those who try Omaha tend to continue playing it.
What makes Omaha so appealing is that it’s a lot like Texas Hold’em, but with an added twist. Instead of receiving two hole cards, you get four of them. But don’t think that makes things any easier. In Hold’em, you can make your 5-card hand out of any community card and hole card combination. But in Omaha, you have to use both of your hole cards and exactly three community cards. No other combination will net you a win.
Play poker online now
In the mood for a little online poker action? We’ve got lots of video poker variations to help you get your fix in. Create your free account and get started now. Plus, find all sorts of non-poker games, like Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, online slots, Keno, and all your other online casino favorites. It takes just a second to sign up, so come play.