When we log on to our favorite casino or poker site, chances are we will hone in on our favorite games. Most operators even have a section marked ‘favourites’ or ‘previously played’ to make access to those games swift and simple.

It’s easy to get into our comfort zone, and it often makes sense to stick with what we know. However, it can be far more exciting to try something new. With that in mind, here are some common poker variants along with some unusual versions that you might like to try next time you’re online.

The Classics

If you are just an occasional visitor to the poker tables, then chances are you will have focused on Texas Hold’Em. This may not be the original version of the game, but in the modern day, it’s by far the most popular, and it’s the place where most of us start.

In a condensed version of the rules, Texas Hold’Em involves dealing two ‘hole’ cards to each player which are dealt face down. In turn, five community cards are dealt upwards in the middle of the table in a sequence known as the flop, the turn, and the river. The aim of the game is to have a better hand than your opponents at the end of that sequence.

Along with Texas Hold’Em, Omaha is top of the list of poker games that you should learn. It works in a very similar way, but in this version, four-hole cards are dealt instead of two. Five community cards appear, but players can only use two of their hole cards rather than all four.

Those are the basics, but there are many more poker versions to try.

Subtle Variants

Before Texas Hold’Em came onto the scene, the majority of poker players were involved with Seven Card Stud. Like its rival, there are seven cards dealt, but the big difference between the two is the fact that Seven Card Stud is without any community cards, so there is no flop, turn or river.

The seven cards are dealt directly to a table of between two and eight players. Three will be face down, and four will be face up so that opponents have an inkling as to what they are up against. From there, each player looks to form their best five-card hand with which to win the round.

‘Out There’

Up to this point, we’ve looked at poker variants that don’t stray from a basic theme, but there are others that are a little ‘wackier.’ One of these is Chinese Poker and if we tell you that this is a game that features a rule known as ‘Fantasyland,’ then you’ll realize that it’s a little different.

It’s a poker variant that can include up to four players and while there were an original, cards down version, a card up option was invented in 2011 and has since proved to be more popular. Chinese Poker can be a little complicated, so we recommend studying the rules closely and maybe watching some online instructional videos before getting involved.

The dealer is also surplus to requirements in this version of the game as the players themselves take it in turns to draw the cards. 13 cards are drawn by each player, and the ultimate aim is to accumulate points as opposed to winning hands. Cards are then arranged into three rows – top, middle, and bottom, and points tallied up according. The player with the most points is naturally declared the winner.

As for the intriguing ‘Fantasyland’, this is essentially a bonus round which requires a qualifying hand of 2x Queens or better. The element adds to a fun, if complex game, which has become a welcome addition to the growing list of poker variants.

Poker in Reverse

While each of the poker versions listed so far has their subtle variations, they all work to a common cause. The aim of each game is to nail a higher hand than the assembled opponents or, in the case of Chinese Poker, a higher points tally.

If, however, we switch to 2-7 Triple Draw, we find that the reverse is true. In this version of the game, high hands are bad hands so we need to avoid straights and flushes as these will count against you. The game can start from two players upwards, and it involves a four round betting game. Cards are drawn and each player can discard up to five cards in any round.

After the fourth and final set of draws the player with the lowest hand wins. The ultimate aim here is to land 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 but without a flush. It’s a fun twist on standard poker but it takes a bit of getting used to. 2-7 Triple Draw can mess with your mind at first as you try not to get excited over landing flushes and four of a kind.