Poker variants you like

When my friends get together and we play poker we like to play “dealer’s choice.” It’s very low stakes, $5 buy-ins, we’re mostly just there to hang out, and because of this, we like to play different games, or even make ones up.

Our base “default” game is Texas Hold 'Em, and a few people are fond of 7-Card Stud or Omaha. We play Tahoe and Pineapple. Sometimes we play a version where you don’t discard and all three hole cards can be used (“You can use one, two, or three hole cards, but not zero”).

Then we sometimes like to use multiple flops, like “triple flop, single pot” (three flops, one turn, one river, best overall hand wins it all), or “double flop, double pot” (two flops, one turn, one river, best hand using each flop gets half the pot). Tons of ridiculous hands come out of these kinds of games with all those cards in play. You really have to adjust your hand standards way up when these games hit the table.

What do you play that’s fun and interesting?

My father played poker for a living until he met my mother and was good at it. He taught me that anything other than five card draw or five card stud was a kid’s game and not worth playing, and that anything with wild cards should be avoided at all cost. That said, I don’t mind playing high-low split or high/low Chicago or the occasional seven card stud. I avoid Texas Hold 'em and its variants.

There is mixed-game horse poker where you keep switching it around. 3-card brag. Maybe throw in the occasional non-poker hand, like a round of whist?

That’s good too. I think Texas Hold 'em may enjoy some popularity because it’s relatively easy for beginners; not everybody is a professional gambler.

Back in my playing days we had a variation called “deuces, jacks, man with the axe, natural sevens take all.”

Meaning 2s, jacks, and the king of diamonds are wild, but if you have a pair of sevens, you beat everything.

@Chefguy’s dad would not approve.


I like Omaha Hi/Lo, but only on a large table with stakes higher than the average home game. When I play any sort of split pot on a quarter game, even with a full table, winning a few bucks doesn’t make me feel all that great. Same thing goes for card room tables with only 5 or 6 people, since even though the stakes are higher, once you halve the pot and take off the rake, you’ll also be left with little even if you do win.

But barring that, it is my favorite game since there is so much calculation involved. Also, with 8 or more people, there is less guesswork involved since you can limit yourself to usually only playing hands that have a very good shot of being the best possible high or low hand, but once the table size becomes small enough, bluffing becomes an increasing possibility.

Hi-Lo Omaha is an incredibly profitable game when playing with people who don’t know what they are doing, and an incredibly boring, unprofitable game if you are playing at a table of people who do. People playing for half a pot with a second-nut hand against a large field are the fish de jure. Good players play nut draws and play hands with the potential to sweep the pot. Playing for half a pot is a losing way to play. That means against even just decent players you have to play very tight.

I like Omaha Hi, because even with decent players the games generally stay loose and most people misread the equity in their hand badly, either staying to draw dead, or throwing away a hand that has multiple outs to create a nut draw because they can’t see the value.

Professionals like Hold’em because it favors good players, while also offering enough ‘luck’ to keep poor players in the game. Also, in Hold’em you can always tell what the ‘nuts’ are, and bet accordingly. If there’s no 3-flush or pair on the board, you kmow your Ace-high straight can only be tied. Watching betting patterns on and after the flop can reveal a lot of information about other players, and at least in limit you don’t have to make big investments until you’ve seen six cards.

Draw poker died because you get very little information about other player’s hands. That makes it hard to play well. 7 card stud is better, but the lack of a shared flop means you have to track an awful lot more information about what each player is doing, and with three hidden cards you never know if you have the best hand. People can and do draw to straights and flushes then accidentally back into a hidden full house.

Overall, Texas Holdem is #1 for me.

:crazy_face: :vulcan_salute:

The only poker variant I’ve played is strip, and I’ve consistently come out on top.

That’s a really peculiar attitude, as both of those games have a very limited “skill ceiling” and aren’t taken seriously as games you’d play for money, and he’s dismissing games that are much more complex. I’m guessing maybe that attitude came out of Gardena in the 80s when no one would’ve known what they were talking about.

Double board omaha “bomb pots” have become popular in Vegas in the last year or two. Everyone pays a certain amount up front - usually something like 5-10 big bets, so commonly $25-40 in 2-5 games and $40-60 in 5-10 games. Then you put out 2 boards, and play it out as pot limit omaha with the best hand on each board winning half the pot. It’s definitely an action game - everyone sees the flop and the pot starts out big - and with 4 random cards and 2 boards it’s easy to connect with hands that seem good. There’s also an incentive to try to force people out of the pot when you’ve got one board locked up but no real chance of winning the other. Often they’re run just one hand as a new dealer comes in to another game, but occasionally they run as dedicated games where that’s the game all the time.

He was playing poker in the 30s and 40s in Wyoming and Montana, and then in the military in WWII and in Alaska after that. I’m guessing that poker was pretty unsophisticated in those venues, as were the players. While Hold 'em has been around for a long time, it was not well-known outside of Texas until at least the late 60s.

At the private club I used to play at this was called “Comaha” because it made you so angry it put you into a coma.

Omaha and variants are fun, but the reason Hold 'Em became so popular is that it’s about as perfectly constructed a poker game as you can devise.