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Poker Variants and Rules

Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em starts with each player being dealt two cards face down. A round of betting occurs starting with the blinds.


A burn card is taken from the top of the deck and three community cards (the flop) are dealt face up for all to see and use. Another round of betting occurs. Then another burn card is discarded from the deck and the ‘turn’ card (4th Street) is dealt face up. After this another round of betting takes place. One more burn card, then the fifth and final card, the ‘river’ (5th Street) is dealt, followed by a final round of betting. Players left in the pot show their cards  (showdown), starting with the player left of the last to call a bet, or player closest to the button moving in a clockwise direction if no bets are made. The player with the best five card hand from the seven cards available wins the pot. If everyone folds before the final card is dealt the bettor automatically wins the pot. At the showdown after a winning hand has been shown, you have the option to either muck or show your cards.

If at the end of the hand two or more players have the same five card hand from the seven available, the pot will be equally split between the remaining players. If then, the chips do not divide to equal amounts, then the player closest to the button will receive the higher amount of the split pot.

Blinds are the two forced bets in every hand that must be made by two players before seeing their hole cards that start the action. One bet is called the ‘big blind’ the other is the ‘small blind’, which is half the big blind. The player immediately left of the dealer button is the small blind and the player to their left is the big blind. These bets count toward the pot and maybe used toward further betting, if needed.

Texas Hold’em is by far the most popular Poker variant around today. There are three types of Hold’Em that are the same in everyway except for the amount a player can bet at any one time, these are; Limit Texas Hold’em, Pot-Limit Texas Hold’em and No-Limit Texas Hold’em.

In Limit Hold’em there is a pre-determined betting structure that must be followed. This betting structure consists of two bet amounts. In such a betting structure players may only bet the specified limit at that given round of betting. All bets and raises must be equal to the previous bet or raise, with the exception of a player that is raising all in.

Pot-Limit Hold’em has no such fixed betting structure. The bet sizes are controlled by only two things; the current level of the blinds and the current size of the Pot. This means that at any time a player may bet a minimum of the Big Blind and a maximum of the total amount that is in the Pot at that time. Of course bets can get quite big as the hand progresses, as the Pot will get larger after each round of betting. All bets and raises must be greater than or equal to the previous bet or raise, with the exception of a player that is raising all in.

No-Limit Hold’em also has no fixed betting structure. It is similar to Pot-Limit Hold’em as the smallest bet allowed is controlled by the current Blind level; this again is the amount of the Big Blind. There is no maximum bet in No-Limit Hold’em as a player can bet all of his chips at any time in a hand. This is known as moving ‘All-in’.


Omaha Hi is similar to Texas Hold’Em with a couple of differences. In Omaha, you are dealt four cards face down. This is followed by a round of betting starting with the blinds. Then comes the flop, followed by another round of betting. The turn card is then dealt, then a third round of betting starts. The river is then dealt and the final round of betting occurs. The player with the best five card hand, using at two of their four hole cards and using three of the community cards wins the pot.

Omaha Hi-Lo is a variation of Omaha Hi. The difference is the pot is split into a High hand and a Low hand. A qualifying low hand is made with five cards that are all 8 or lower, an ace counting as the lowest. No pairs can exist in a low hand, but a straight and/or a flush may. The lowest possible hand is A2345. Rounds of play and betting are exactly the same as in Omaha Hi. At the end of a hand the player with the best high hand wins half the pot and the
player with the lowest qualifying hand wins the other half. If there is no qualifying low hand, the high hand wins the whole pot.

It is possible for one player to win both the high and low hands in one hand. They may use different hole cards in making their low hand than they used in making their high hand, so long as they use exactly two hole cards and three
board cards for each hand.

7 Card Stud

7 Card Stud starts with two cards dealt face down to every player, followed by another card face up (3rd street). The player with the lowest card must start the action with the bring in, by betting 1/2 of the low limit bet. They may decide to raise and bet the full low limit bet. Play then moves in a clockwise direction around the table, with each player opting to fold, call, or raise. Each player is then dealt another card face up, called 4th street. The player now with the highest hand showing starts the action. If a player has a pair showing at this point, then they and everyone else has the option to bet either the low limit bet size or the high limit bet size. Each player is then dealt another card face up, called fifth street. Play continues the same as the previous round with now each bet the size of the high limit. 6th street is then dealt face up with play continuing as usual. 7th street is dealt face down with play continuing as in the previous round. After this a showdown occurs with the player with the best five card hand from the seven available to them winning the pot.

In the case that all eight players are left in the hand at the showdown, there wouldn’t be enough cards for each player to receive another one. If that happens, instead of every player getting a card face down, a single card is positioned in the middle of the table face up to be used as a community card, which every player can use to make their best 5 card hand.

There is a 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo game as well, played in similar fashion to the Hi-Lo of Omaha.

There is also a 7 card game called RAZZ. Which is 7 Card Stud played with only a lo hand.


As games such as Texas Hold’em and Omaha gain popularity – HORSE is a game which is also gaining more exposure. The game can be played set number of hands for each game or it can be a set time in which game is played until a different game is played. It is actually an acronym for several popular poker games:

H- Limit Hold’em

O – Limit Omaha Eight or Better (Hi/Lo)

R – Razz Poker

S – Limit Seven Card Stud

E – Limit Stud Eight or Better (Hi/Lo)


Manila is played with a reduced deck of 32 cards, 7 through to Ace. Play starts with all players being dealt to cards face down. A round of betting occurs. The dealer then deals one card face up followed by another round of betting. Play continues with the dealer dealing one card at a time until five cards are represented on the board to be used as a community cards with a round of betting occurring in between each card being dealt. The winner is the player with the best five card hand consisting of their two hole cards and any of the three of the five available on the board.

In any Poker game with a reduced deck, a flush always beats a full house.

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