5 Texas Hold’em Poker Alternatives You Should Try
Do you want to take a break from the most popular poker format and enjoy some alternatives to Texas Hold’em? I’ve picked five poker games that can deliver something different.
Learn about how to play them and the key differences that set them apart from Hold’em below.
This is the obvious option, so I can’t ignore it. Omaha shares lots of similarities with Texas Hold’em, and it’s just as popular, but there are a few subtle and important differences to be aware of.
Firstly, Omaha players get four-hole cards instead of two in Texas Hold’em. There are still five community cards which are dealt face up on the board. In Omaha, players have to use exactly two hole cards and three community cards to make the best possible hand, whereas in TXS Hold’em, any combination counts.
Omaha typically involves four betting rounds: pre-flop, flop, turn, and river, before the showdown occurs. Of course, that will only happen if there are two or more players left after the final betting round. As with Texas Hold’em, the best five-card hand wins.
Five-card draw is the most basic poker game and is a great starting point for beginners. Unlike Hold’em and Omaha, this variant doesn’t involve community cards.
To kick things off, every player is dealt five hole cards. The first betting round then typically occurs with each player making a wager based on the strength of their initial hand.
After the initial betting round, players can ‘draw,’ switching as many of their initial cards as they want. When everyone has made this decision, a second betting round occurs. If two or more players remain at this stage, it’s time for the showdown.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because most video poker machines offered by fast payout casinos are based on five-card draw. They’re also the only casino poker game in which you can play with optimal strategy to get an edge over the house.
If you’re looking for something fresh that’s often seen as the inverse of popular poker games like Texas Hold’em and Five-Card Draw, Razz is a good option. The objective in this game is to make the lowest hand possible – a unique and interesting challenge that sets this poker variant apart.
A Razz game often starts with everyone posting an ante bet, after which each receives three cards. Two of these will be hole cards, and one will be exposed. Whoever has the highest exposed card will start the betting.
In what’s known as fourth through seventh street, players are dealt one more card per round. They’ll all be facing up (exposed) until the final one, which is dealt face down. Each round features a round of betting.
As with the other poker games, if more than one player remains after the final round, a showdown occurs. The lowest five-card hand wins. The best possible hand in Razz is 5-4-3-2-A, also known as ‘the wheel.’
Like in Five-Card Draw, there are no community cards in 7 Card Stud. Players usually post an ante bet before the deal occurs with each getting three cards. Two of them are hole cards only the player can see, and one is dealt facing up. The player with the lowest exposed card starts the betting.
In rounds four through six, known as Fourth to Sixth Street, players are dealt one exposed card. Each of these rounds begins with additional betting.
In the seventh round (River), the cards are dealt face down, and there’s one final round of betting. This adds an element of mystery and uncertainty to the showdown.
If two or more players remain after the final betting round, it’s time for the showdown. The remaining players can use five of their seven cards to make the best hand possible.
6+ Hold’em is sometimes called Short Deck Poker. It’s a variant of Texas Hold’em renowned for being fast-paced and action-packed. However, with a reduced deck size, hand rankings are significantly altered, and traditional strategies won’t work.
What’s different about the deck? All cards lower than six are removed. This leaves only 36 cards instead of the standard 52. The gameplay and betting structure is the same as Texas Hold’em; everyone gets two hole cards, and five community cards are dealt in the usual order.
The reduced deck alters the hand rankings. In most 6+ Hold’em games, a Flush beats a Full House, and Three of a Kind beats a Straight. The smaller deck does increase the probability of getting higher-value hands, though, which is why this game is renowned for its action.
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