5 Strange Poker Variations

GambleScope Research Team

Last updated: April 15, 2020

The world of poker is wider than most people think. You probably know about many of the Holdem games like Texas, Omaha and 08 in their different forms of no-limit and fixed limit. Then there are the seven card stud games like Hi-Lo, 8 or better, Razz and 7 Stud; the lowball draw games (A-5, 2-7, triple or single draw); and finally the badugi variants of badugi, badeucy, badacey. If some of those sound weird to you, let it be known this is “normal” poker. 

There are more complex and bizarre versions of poker out there that bend the rules of poker that turn it into a very fun and strange game. 

 

Three Card Brag/Teen Patti

This game is not necessarily a poker game but similar enough and became somewhat known and liked after a scene in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels scene. What makes it exciting and perfect as a drinking game is the brutal betting system. 

Each player is dealt three cards face down and the players have the option to play blind. In order to play blind though, you have to pay half the amount of an “open” hand. 

The betting rounds begin. To close the betting you have to “pay to see”, which involves doubling your opponents bet. If you do not pay to see then the betting round continues.  So if the first bet is $20 and no one raises, folds or pays to see, every single player has to keep betting $20 every round until they either run out of money or fold. Those that are playing blind only pay $10. 

The raise doubles the bet, so the game escalates quickly than any other poker game. Even if bets begin with pennies the pot will grow pretty fast and keep players grinding their teeth as they see their bank slip away or win huge pots. 

 There is another special feature to brag aside from the betting, and that is the shuffling. The cards are only shuffled when someone gets three of a kind. If you can remember the folded cards and keep track, then you can gain an edge over the other players. Good memory pays here.

 

8-Pot-limit Razz

Razz is a swing prone game that involves coin flips to start a hand and no such thing as a made hand until Seventh Street unless your hand rolls a perfect wheel. If you wish to break someone’s spirit, wait until they are on a downswing to suggest a game of Razz. 

This is a very weird variant  and is better to understand the regular game better described on this razz strategy article

 

Multi-Hole Hold’ems

If you consider Omaha to be an improvement over Hold’em for increasing the number of cards dealt, then prepare to add five, six, seven or even eight to your hand. Multi-hole adds some new aspects to the game of poker with some rules you can select:

  1. Number of hole cards: device a method to determine how many cards will be dealt on each hand. This can be done by rolling a dice or randomly picking a number. The more cards the more crazy fun it is.
  2. Omaha Rules: Decide if players have to use two, up to two or more cards from their hand. 
  3. Stud Rules: will any of your cards be dealt face up?
  4. Do any of the cards need to be discarded? In what stages and will there be extra betting when you do?
  5. Will the discards be face down or up? 
  6. Hi/Lo? If there is, declare or cards-speak?

 

Multi-Board Hold’ems

The title describes the game very well. You can use any the variants of poker here, but the basics are that some part of the board is doubled up. It can be two flops, two full boards, or three flops, two turns and one river. 

Your hand can be made with any of the boards but you can’t select cards from different ones. 

These multi-board games might become popular online as some online poker rooms are beginning to offer two-board Hold’em. 

Mixing this variant with Hi/Lo and pineapple or multi-hole create really fun and bizarre rounds of poker. 

 

Pineapple 

This is a twist to Hold’em. Get three cards instead of two and discard one before the end of the game. 

The general version involves a betting round then discarding a card before the flop. Another variation involves having to use both cards in your hand to make your five card hand, and waiting until the flop round is over before discarding the third card. Other versions allow you to get up to five cards and discard three. 

There are many other versions of poker games like Boston or HORSE poker.