With the option to access online casino games from just about anywhere, provided that you have an internet connection and a smart device in hand, more people are discovering the thrill of it all! One casino game that has truly stood the test of time and inspired several other variants is poker. Earlier generations might be familiar with the classic and traditional poker game, however, there are now many different poker variations to try out, with Texas Hold’em being arguably one of the most popular poker variants.
Although Texas Hold’em is the most popular variant of live and online poker today, it’s far from being the only game in town. Mastering Texas Hold’em is indeed essential for any player wishing to get ahead, especially if you want to stand a chance at the final table of the World Series. However, other variants offer just as much of a challenge – and as much fun! From the hyper-strategic Omaha to the upside-down world of razz, here are six popular poker variants that will have you looking at how you play poker online a little differently.
If you know how to play Texas Hold’em, you’ll pick up Omaha in no time. Texas Hold’em caught on in the first place because it was perceived as a “thinking man’s game.” Players can only see their two hole cards and the community cards as they appear on the flop, the turn and the river. In fact, you only get to see your opponent’s cards in Texas Hold’em if they show them to you! As a result, you have to play much more strategically than in traditional draw poker.
Omaha takes the strategic nature of poker even further. You get dealt four hole cards, but you can only use two of them to form your best hand. The remaining cards in your hand have to come from the board. This variant still makes use of blinds, so it’s worth reading up on how to master the big blind position before you get too carried away, as your position at the table will still matter!
Omaha has two main variations. In Omaha High the best hand wins, just like in Texas Hold’em. In Omaha Hi-Lo the pot is split between the best high hand and the best low hand of cards ranked eight or lower. Pot Limit Omaha online poker tournaments are quite popular because betting is restricted to the size of the pot, so it’s harder for players with big stacks to push other players around.
2. Seven Card Stud
Seven Card Stud was the definitive poker game before Texas Hold’em took over and with unique gameplay and strategy, it’s still one of the best online poker variations. In Seven Card Stud players first receive two cards face down and one face-up on the table. Based on those cards, you decide whether to stay in the hand (by making a bet) or fold. As betting rounds continue, you receive a fourth, fifth and sixth face-up card. If you stick around long enough, a seventh (down) card will complete your hand, followed by a final round of betting. The best five-card poker hand wins the game.
As you can probably tell, Seven Card Stud is completely different from Texas Hold’em. There are no community cards and you only have sight of four of your opponents’ cards, so you’re constantly trying to work out what their best five-card hands could be. Also, because the betting is staggered across five rounds, there’s no chance to go all in. This is good news if you don’t like the idea of being bullied out of the betting or losing all your money on a single hand.
If you’re looking for something completely fresh, you may want to play a few hands of Razz. This is a special variant of Seven Card Stud where the lowest five-card poker hand wins the day. Play follows in the same order, but aces are low and straights and flushes don’t count as playable hands. These exceptions call for a totally different strategic approach compared to any other poker variant.
Razz is often included in mixed poker tournaments (it’s the “R” in the H.O.R.S.E. category at the WSOP,) so it’s worth getting your head around. Razz is one of the lesser-played variants, which means that as far as poker tournament tips go, players are unlikely to have expert-level strategic knowledge. This makes the ability to read other players comparatively more important.
4. Five-Card Draw
You’ll want to try your hand at Five-Card Draw if you want to revisit the roots of poker and experience how it was played in the Old West. This is the game that “Wild” Bill Hickok was playing when he was shot to death while holding what’s now known as the “dead man’s hand” (a pair of aces and 8s.)
The gameplay is easy to follow: players receive five cards each, after which there’s a betting round. Players then have the option to discard up to all five cards in their hand and draw new cards. A second betting round ensues, followed by a shoot-out (sorry, Bill!) in which the best five-card poker hand wins. The simplicity of the rules makes Five-Card Draw the ideal variant for playing online poker with friends. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for that fast-paced Wild West feeling, you could have a go at video poker online, as many games of this type are basically single-player versions of five-card draw.
5. Pai Gow Poker
Derived from the Ancient Chinese domino game of Pai Gow, Pai Gow poker is the only poker variant in which you have to beat a dealer. Players each receive seven cards and use them to build two separate hands, one of five cards and one of two. To make things more interesting, the five-card hand has to be stronger than the two-card hand. If both your hands beat the dealer’s hands, you’re in for a win. If the dealer beats both your hands, you lose your bet. If only one of your hands wins, then the bet pushes to the next round. This makes for a fun poker alternative where you may not win very often, but you also may not lose so often, either.
6. Video Poker
There are several variants of video poker as well, but its premise is relatively similar to that of Five-Card Draw. Players are dealt five cards and then given the opportunity to discard the ones they feel they don’t need, but keep the ones they feel they do. Thereafter, new cards are dealt and eventually, the one with the best hand wins. Along with slots, video poker is a variant that is often offered at airport casinos, allowing enthusiasts to kill time by trying their hand at a game or two, in the hopes of walking out with even more money for their travels.
Practicing Responsible Gambling
With gambling being so easily accessible nowadays, it’s important to not lose focus or fall into a gambling addiction. The idea of potentially winning big at your favorite jackpot slots can be exciting, but we always advise safe and responsible gambling at Borgata Online. This is especially true because you can play at an online casino for real money, so if you don’t stick to your set budget, you could find yourself in an unfavorable position – which you can avoid if you gamble responsibly.
Get to Grips With Real Poker at Borgata Online
Are you looking to play real poker online with like-minded players? Now you can play variants such as Texas Hold’em, Omaha and Seven Card Stud in premium poker rooms powered by the best online poker software. Enjoy being part of a vibrant and growing poker community where you can join in cash games, sit-and-gos and more than 70 online poker tournaments every day. Beyond the live poker room, our online casino is ready to welcome you with slot games, casino table games and live dealer casino games of blackjack, baccarat and roulette.
To enjoy these casino games and the best poker variants, simply register with Borgata Online to discover a whole new world!