Poker is the name of the card game we all know and love. But there are many different variations of Poker, each played differently. The act of gambling, bluffing, winning and losing money remains the same and the hand rankings will stay the same for most formats. However there are different betting structures, betting limits and rules that will vary for each one.
Limit or Fixed Limit Poker means you will only be able to bet a fixed or set amount of chips when it is your turn to act. You will also only be able to raise a fixed amount. Fixed Limit games used to be a lot more common in the past and the very first poker games played used this type of betting format.
In fixed Limit games there will usually be what is called a bring-in. A bring-in is a set amount of money the player with the highest or lowest card will be forced to bring-in to start the betting action. Fixed limit games are most commonly played with Antes, while other formats of poker Antes are less common.
No Limit Format
No Limit Format is quite self explanatory. When it is your turn to act, you may bet or raise any amount of chips you wish. The only limitation will be you must bet at least 1 big blind and not less than that. Texas Hold'Em is the poker game that brought the No Limit format to the spotlight and is perhaps the biggest reason Texas Hold'Em remains the most popular poker game. Being able to put another player to a big decision for all their chips at any given time is something you cannot do in fixed limit games.
Pot Limit Format
This format is similar to the No Limit Format with 1 main exception. The maximum you are allowed to bet or raise is the size of the current pot. This format will actually play very similar to No Limit Hold'Em despite only being allowed to bet the size of the pot. Read more about Pot Limit Omaha
Hi/Lo or Hi-Lo is a format of poker where the pot will always be split into 2 and awarded to different hand rankings. The high portion will be awarded to the player with the highest ranked traditional poker hand. The low portion of the pot will be awarded to the player who has the lowest ranking poker hand. This format is almost always played in a fixed limit style, but can also be played using No Limit or Pot Limit. Finding a No Limit or Pot limit game is extremely difficult and you will be hard-pressed to be able to find many poker tables playing No Limit or Pot Limit Hi/Lo format.
Stud Poker is the original poker, or more specifically 5-card stud poker is the original poker. It's not entirely clear why it was called Stud poker but Stud poker will involve each player having face up and face down cards and no community cards.
The origin of the name of Omaha poker is also unclear and was first played in the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. This format was designed to make slow Texas Hold'Em games more action packed and fun. The rules of the game are similar to Texas Hold'Em. Except you get dealt 4 cards instead of 2. You must also use exactly 2 of your 4 cards to make the highest ranking poker hand. You may not use 1, 3 or 4 of your cards. Omaha is almost always played in the Pot Limit Format however can be also occasionally be found played in No Limit and Fixed Limit too. The most common Omaha games that are played are as follows:
- Pot Limit Omaha
- 5- Card Omaha
- Omaha 8 or better
- Fixed limit Omaha
- No limited Omaha
Draw Poker is a variation of poker where you may draw and discard the cards in your hand in exchange for new ones. Some of the most classic games of poker, like 5 card draw ,were played with this format. The most common Draw games are as follows:
- 5 card draw
- 2-7 triple low ball
Razz poker is a different type of poker and will be played in a similar format to 7 card stud. The main difference between this game and 7 card stud is that instead of making the highest ranking poker hand you are trying to get the lowest ranking poker hand. Straights don't count and the best hand in razz is an A2345 hand. Razz Poker Guides
Mixed Poker is a format of poker that will rotate which game of poker you play as the hands progress. Usually 1 rotation or 1 round of everyone getting to play every position before the next game is played. For example if there are 6 players playing at the poker table, 1 round would consist of 6 separate hands before moving onto the next game. A mixed game can be classified by just rotating between 2 games or as many as 10 or even more. Some of the mixed games are acronyms of which games will be played.
- H.O.R.S.E. – Hold'Em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Stud, Eight or better
- H.A. – Pot limit Hold'Em and Pot limit Omaha.
- H.O. - Hold'Em and Omaha Hi/Lo
- Eight Game Mix – Consists of eight games, and not always the same 8 games. Can include any format of poker but can be commonly found playing: Hold'Em, fixed limit Hold'Em, Pot Limit Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, Eight or better, Razz, Seven-card stud and if it's a cash game, whatever the players would like to play!
- Ten Game Mix– The same as Eight Game Mix but with a rotation of 10 games.
Chinese poker is a very different game of poker. It is still a card game that you will gamble and is generally played with 4 people and the entire deck will be dealt out and you will try to make the 3 different poker hands. Two 5 card hands and 1 3 card hand. There is a huge points scoring system with countless bonuses. This game is very popular among high stakes players and there is a huge element of big swings of luck and skill that can influence the outcome of this game.
Poker remains to be an exciting game and has stood the test of time so far. The most popular formats and games of poker has changed as the years have gone on but can be played in countless different formats and variations. This can keep a person's interest in poker that is getting bored of their current format to venture out and try something new.
Some people decide to specialize in a particular format that they either enjoy or believe that they have a certain edge in. In poker some people may feel they have a significant edge in No Limit Hold'Em cash games, which is great as this is the most popular and widely available form of poker in the world. Others might have more of a niche talent and specialize is a game like Razz which does not have that much popularity or action worldwide but there is still action online and at some live events. The great thing about being good at a niche version of poker is that the player pool is much smaller and the opportunity to be one of the best or the best is much more achievable. Being the best No Limit Hold'Em player is a task only some of the brightest, most hardworking individuals will ever be able to achieve.