Thinking about playing poker? Maybe you’re planning a trip to Vegas or thinking about playing online. Whatever the occasion, there is no shortage of poker options to play. Texas Hold’em is the world’s most popular poker game, but it’s not necessarily the one that will yield you the most amount of money.
Today, we’re covering the top 5 poker variations that champions flock to. You can find many of these games online and in the various poker rooms spread across Las Vegas. Whether you love tourneys or cash games, these are your best bets.
Arguably the most popular poker game around, Texas Hold’em exploded to the front burner of the online poker world after taking a seat to other games like 5 Card Stud for years. The reason for the sudden shift to Texas Hold’em can be attributed to the online poker boom.
It was 2003 when Chris Moneymaker, a 27-year-old accountant from Tennessee, won the 2003 World Series of Poker, outlasting 838 other players to win the Main Event. He won the first place prize of $2.5 million, and while it wasn’t the biggest World Series of Poker Main Event prize in history, it will go down in the history books as the event that changed everything.
The buy-in for the Main Event of the WSOP was $10,000, but Moneymaker didn’t shell out that kind of cash. Instead, he won a $39 online poker satellite on a poker site called PokerStars (which is now the biggest poker site on the planet).
It was his victory, not to mention his prophetic name, that got people interested in online poker and pushed Texas Hold’em to the forefront of the poker world.
In Texas Hold’em, players are dealt 2 cards each. These are known as pocket cards or hole cards. Your goal is to make the best 5-card hand using your two hole cards and the five community cards. All community cards are dealt face up, so players can use as many or as few as they need to create their hand.
The game begins with all players receiving their cards. Players can then choose to bet or raise on top. If you don’t have cash to call any raises, you’re out. Then, the first three cards are dealt, face up. Another round of betting ensues, followed by one more card dealt face up (known as The Turn card). Then there’s another round of betting, a final dealt card (called The River), and a last round of betting. Whoever has the best 5-card hand at the end of the last round of betting wins the pot.
Texas Hold’em comes in No Limit and Limit flavors, so in some cases you can raise your entire chip stack. In limit games, you can only raise a fixed amount, so there’s no such thing as going all in. The strategy required to win either game differs greatly.
Omaha rose to popularity shortly after Texas Hold’em. While not as widely played around the world, it’s gaining popularity. You’ll find Omaha events at the World Series of Poker, and several online poker sites feature Omaha cash tables and tournaments 24/7.
Omaha is a lot like Texas Hold’em. The goal is to build the best 5-card hand using a combination of community cards and your hole cards. The difference? In Omaha, you’re dealt four hold cards. While there are five community cards in play (like like Texas Hold’em), you must use two of your four hole cards and exactly three community cards. See also “Omaha poker rules”
No, not the fruit. Thought just as pineapple can sting your mouth, this game can sting your bankroll if you’re not careful. Or it could help grow it. Pineapple is a lot like Texas Hold’em, only with one crazy element. The difference begins at the start, with each players receiving three hold cards instead of two.
Pineapple follows the same rounds of betting, but things start to get crazy as soon as the flop (the first three cards) are dealt on the board and the second round of betting has been completed. These are the community cards, not your three hole cards. At this point, all players must discard one of their hole cards.
If you like video poker at Slots of Vegas, you’ll love 5-Card Draw. This poker variation was arguably more popular than Texas Hold’em before the big poker boom caused by Mr. Monkeymaker.
In 5-Card Draw, all players receive five cards. But you don’t have to hold onto all five cards. After the first round of betting, players are invited to keep all their cards, discard all their cards, or keep and discard any combination of cards. The choice is up to each player.
If you’re the type of player who constantly finds yourself sitting with the lowest poker hand, you might want to switch to Razz. In this popular poker variation, your goal is to get the lowest hand possible. You read that correctly, the lowest hand wins. The good news here, too, is that straights and flushes do not count against the player, so you can still build a low hand with those and come out with a big win.
Play poker online now
Got the online poker itch? You can your fix in right now at Slots of Vegas. While we don’t offer peer-to-peer poker (that’s poker you play against other players), we do offer several variations of video poker.
With video poker, you play against the house. Most games follow the 5-Card Draw format with the traditional hand ranking system you might be used to. The best part is you don’t have to deal with bluffing or other players who might be more skilled than you. That’s because you play against yourself, not the house. Your goal is to simple hold a hand that ranks on the board.
Interested? Sign up for a free Slots of Vegas and play all the video poker you can handle. You can enjoy it for free or make a deposit and win for real. Either way, poker is always a good call.
See also: “A Look back at Vegas champions“