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Common Poker Variations
There are as many variations of the game of poker as there are stars in the evening sky. Most are obscure and are not often played by the novice or average poker player. However, there are several variations that are very common and played quite extensively around the world and in home games everywhere. Some of the more common games include draw, stud, razz, and hold'em. Descriptions of three very popular games, 7-Card Limit Stud, Pot-Limit Texas Hold 'em, and No-Limit Texas Hold 'em, are explained below. Also, find some basic Strategy & Tips at the bottom of this page.

Note: There are a myriad of rules that are outside of the scope of this project. Please see External Resources on the Resources page for more information.

Seven-Card Limit Stud

7Card Stud

Description

Stud is a poker variation played without the option of trading your cards in for new ones as in draw poker. 7-card limit stud is played with each player receiving 7 cards and must make the best 5-card hand possible out of the cards dealt. Some of the cards will be dealt face-up and others face-down with rounds of betting in between. The bets are held in check by table minimums. Stud is popular due to the number of betting rounds which increases the possibility of very large pots.

Basic Game Play

Once the "dealer" is chosen, two cards are dealt face-down with one card dealt face-up. The first round of betting then begins with the player just left of the dealer. The first bet is called a comeout bet which is a forced bet that is smaller than the minimum bet for the table. The subsequent players can either fold their hand, complete the bet by matching the table minimum bet, or raise. When all bets are in, another card is dealt face-up followed by the second round of betting (beginning again with the player left of the dealer, however this time with the table minimum bet instead of the comeout bet.)

The sequence continues with a single card being dealt face-up followed by a round of betting. The final card in 7-Card Limit Stud is dealt face-down followed by the final round of betting. As in most poker variations, the winner is the player with the best hand or the last player remaining when all other players fold. Ties are accommodated by split-pots where tied players divide the pot equally. The dealer button then moves to the next player left of the previous dealer and the next hand begins.

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Pot Limit Texas Hold'em

chipstack

Description

Hold'em variations were derived to allow more players per table. Previous versions of poker were limited to 6 players because many more cards were required to accommodate extra players. Hold'em variations deal hole, or personal, cards to each player (usually two) and the remaining cards are dealt as community, or shared, cards. Hold'em being dealt in this manner can accommodate as many as ten players per table. As with most poker variations, each player must make the best 5-card hand possible. In Hold'em, players can play any five cards from the two hole cards and five cards from the community, also called the board. A hand can actually be made using solely the cards on the board without using any hole cards to represent their hand.

Game Play

Once the "dealer" is chosen, two cards are dealt face-down to each player beginning with the player to the dealer's left. The first round of betting then begins with the player just left of the dealer. The first bet is a forced bet called the small blind and is half of the table minimum bet. The very next player also makes a forced bet called the big blind, which is the table minimum bet. The subsequent players can either fold their hand, call the minimum bet by matching the big blind, or raise. When all bets are in, the first three community cards are dealt to the center of the table. These first three cards are referred to as the "Flop." The second round of betting begins with the player just left of the dealer and is limited to the amount in the pot. (Hence, the name pot-limit.)

The betting sequence continues after the next community card is dealt, the turn and again after the final community card is dealt, the river. The winner is the player with the best hand or the last player remaining when all other players fold. Ties are accommodated by split-pots where tied players divide the pot equally.

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No-Limit Texas Hold'em

pocketpair

Description

No-Limit Texas Hold'em is, without a doubt, the most popular variation of poker. Mostly due to the poularity of the World Series of Poker televised on ESPN. Recall from the Pot-Limit description above that Hold 'em variations deal hole cards to each player while the remaining cards are dealt as community cards. No-Limit Hold'em is no different in this respect. Also, similar to Pot-Limit Hold'em is that each player must make the best 5-card hand possible using the two hole cards and five cards from the board. It is also possible that a player's hand can be comprised solely from the cards on the board without using any hole cards to represent their hand. The primary difference with No-Limit Hold'em is, as the name implies, there are no betting limits. A player may choose to go All-In at any time (as long as it's there turn to bet, of course.)

Game Play

Once the "dealer" is chosen, two cards are dealt face-down to each player beginning with the player to the dealer's left. The first round of betting then begins with the player just left of the dealer. The first bet is a forced bet called the small blind and is half of the table minimum bet. The very next player also makes a forced bet called the big blind, which is the table minimum bet. The subsequent players can either fold their hand, call the minimum bet by matching the big blind, or raise. When all bets are in, the first three community cards are dealt to the center of the table. These first three cards are referred to as the "Flop." The second round of betting begins with the player just left of the dealer. Although there is no maximum bet in No-Limit Hold'em, there is a minimum bet, which is the value of the big blind.

The betting sequence continues after the next community card is dealt, the turn and again after the final community card is dealt, the river. The winner is the player with the best hand or the last player remaining when all other players fold. Ties are accommodated by split-pots where tied players divide the pot equally.

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Strategy & Tips
Seven-Card Limit Stud
  • A strong starting hand consists of either a high pair, three of a kind, three cards to a flush or three cards to a straight.
  • It is important to notice when other players get the cards you need.
  • If you cannot beat the part of a hand that is face up in front of a player, you certainly cannot beat that hand with the concealed cards included.
Pot-Limit Texas Hold'em
  • Bluffing is overrated in Pot-Limit Hold'em. The betting limits are such that raises are less intimidating. It is best to focus on playing high-quality pocket cards.
  • Understand your table position. Position refers to your seat in relation to the dealer button. In general, the button is the best starting position, followed by late position. Middle and early position is difficult to play with low-quality hands.
  • Don't overvalue suited cards. Having a suited hand is a plus, however, you should not play a hand just because it is suited.
No-Limit Texas Hold'em
  • Fold! Fold! Fold! Look for reasons to fold rather than reasons to stay in the hand. If you can't remember the last time you folded, fold!
  • Only play high-quality hands. In general, focus on Queen-Ten or higher pocket cards, then play them aggressively. If you are dealt low-quality pocket cards, refer back to the first tip!
  • Resist the temptation to chase straights. Calling bets after the flop on a chance to catch the card needed for a straight can be costly.
  • There is no truth to "never count your money, while you're sitting at the table." Always be aware of the size of your chip stack.

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