Poker, also known as the king of table games, fits particularly well into movie scripts and plays. Film directors and playwrights love exploiting the unique combination of opportunism, risk-taking, and quick thinking that makes a poker player’s mindset.

The Top 3 Poker Variants and How to Play Them

There are several types of poker, each having different rules. Here is a brief guide to the three most popular of them.

Texas Holdem

America’s favorite type of poker is also the official variant played in the World Series of Poker (WSOP). 

In Texas Holdem, each player combines the two cards they receive from the dealer with the cards on the table to form a winning hand.

Four rounds of betting

The first betting round takes place as soon as the players look at their cards. Then, three cards appear on the table with their faces up. When the participants look at the “flop,” they calculate their chances and place their second bets. 

The third round of betting starts when the fourth card, the “turn,” appears on the table. The last card to show up is called the “river,” and it starts the last betting round.

Who has the winning hand?

Each player combines the two cards they hold with the five cards on the table to make the strongest five-card hand.

Fixed vs. No limit

WSOP Texas Holdem games usually have fixed raise or bet limits for each of the four rounds. The final hand in the series allows the players to go all-in at each stage.

Texas Holdem rules are simple, but the winning combination isn’t always easy to find, and that’s why it’s become the most popular type of poker.

Omaha Holdem 

You can regard Omaha Holdem as a simplified version of Texas Holdem. It’s got several sub-variants, but let’s look at the one played at WSOP.

Players hold four cards each

Each player receives not two but four cards face-down. Then, the three cards of the flop appear in the table’s center, and players make their first bets. 

The turn is the second card to show its face to the players, and they are allowed to bet again. When the river appears on the table, the participants make their final bets.

After that, they put down their four cards, but combine only two of them with the flop, turn, and river to make a winning five-card hand.

High/Low split vs. Pot Limit

If the played hand is pot-limited, the amount of each bet or raise can’t exceed the pot’s amount.

In the High/Low Split version, the player with the highest hand and the one with the lowest share the pot.

Five-Card Draw

Five-card draw is the most common type of poker appearing in the movies and on TV.

Each player receives five cards and places their initial bet. They can discard the cards they don’t like and draw new ones. 

Once they look at the freshly-gotten cards, they bet again and put their cards down. The player with the strongest five-card combination wins the hand.

There are ten different hand values in the 5-card draw poker, with royal flush being the strongest. A skilled player would know which cards to discard to improve their winning chances.