A Look into Lesser Known Poker Variations

A Look into Lesser Known Poker Variations

If there is one game in the entire list of the casino games played today that is very variable, it would have to be poker. Poker is one of my personal favorite games, so when I was asked to write about lesser known poker variations, I was pretty happy that I could write about a small passion of mine. Without further ado, let’s take a quick look into those poker variations people seem to overlook.

5-Card Draw
This is basically the original version of Poker, the game we know and love. Mike Caro, the Mad Genius of Poker, once called this the best version of poker in existence for understanding the psychology of poker. It is always good to go back to your roots every now and then, especially now that everyone has gotten into many different variations and has left 5-Card Draw behind and forgotten. You can add small variations to this version if you like to spice it up.

If you do not know how to play 5-Card Draw, the game play is very simple. Five cards are dealt face down to each of the players. The betting starts to the left of the dealer and only one round of betting takes place before the first draw. Players then must proceed to discard the cards that do not fit the hand they would like to attempt to make. Technically, the highest number of cards that a player can draw is four, but they run the risk of making it very obvious to the opposing players that you have an Ace in your hand. Otherwise the most you would draw is three cards. After the draw phase, there is another round of betting before the showdown. The pot is won by the best five-card poker hand.

Chinese Poker
Some people argue that this version is the king of the poker versions. This version is also very popular amongst the professional circle where stakes run high and intensity runs deep. At most major tournament series, Chinese Poker is popular among the professionals that have lost in the tournament and is played both in poker rooms and hotel rooms.

Players are dealt 13 cards face down. The player must the organize the cards into three hands, two five-card hands and one three-card hand and select one of the five-card hands to be the top hand, which must be the strongest hand followed in strength by the second five-card hand and finally the three card hand. The players then face off to see who wins, pitting each hand against the opponents corresponding hand (top hand with top hand and so on). Players win a point for each hand they win and a bonus point for having the best of three match-up for a total of four possible points. The betting system is per point, so if you are playing $5 a point, the most you can win is $20 per round. This is a good version to mix things up.

This version of poker is kind of like playing chicken but with cards and poker rules, and it is actually very popular. It truly is lots and lots of fun because it’s great for showdowns and bluffing. Another great aspect of this game is that there are countless ways that you can vary it, but the most common version pits players against each other with three-card hands. Straights beat flushes and you can add a pass element or a draw phase. These things encourage more betting and bluffing. This game can really get crazy because all the losing players must match the pot that round.

Players are dealt three facedown cards each after the ante. Players then decide to either play the hand due to its strength, fold, or play it on bluff. Then the players must extend their hands towards the middle of the table as the dealer says, “one, two, three – guts!” If the player decides to fold, they drop their hand to the table; if not, they advance. The game proceeds until there is only one player left with the highest hand and the losers must pay the entire pot as a penalty.

And the most popular one? Well, I think it’s pretty obvious…

Texas Hold’em
This one is very well known and has gained a lot of popularity lately. There are versions that change the wagering limits. Essentially game is a community card poker game with two cards dealt to each player face down followed by the flop of three cards. Players bet after the flop, and another card, the turn, is dealt to the community. After another round of betting, the river is dealt to the community. There is one last round of betting before the showdown. The best five card hand wins.


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