The Top 7 Poker Variants

Players around the globe engage in different forms of poker, each with unique rules and strategies. Among these variations, several stand out due to their distinct play styles and the strategic depth they offer. Whether in casual home games or at competitive tables, these poker variants encourage players to adapt, showcasing their skills in new and challenging environments.

Poker, with its multiple approaches, challenges players to adapt their strategies and understanding across different game styles. Some variants emphasize psychological play, while others test mathematical skills, but each offers a unique experience at the table.

Texas Hold’em

Recognized widely among enthusiasts and professionals, texas hold’em poker stands out for its strategic depth combined with approachable rules. Participants receive two private cards and utilize five community cards to construct their hands. Betting unfolds across four rounds: pre-flop, the flop, the turn, and the river. Mastery over this variant involves keen observation, adaptability, and a solid grasp of hand rankings.


Close to Texas Hold’em in its layout, Omaha raises the complexity by dealing four private cards to each player, of which precisely two must be used alongside three of the five community cards to form a hand. This adjustment drastically alters hand possibilities and winning strategies, pushing players to recalibrate their assessments of strong combinations.

Seven-Card Stud

Before the rise of Texas Hold’em, Seven-Card Stud held prominence. This game omits community cards entirely. Instead, players are dealt a mix of face-down and face-up cards over multiple rounds, with the opportunity to bet after each new card. Mastery involves remembering visible cards and calculating odds with the information available, making it a memory and strategy-intensive endeavor.


Razz flips the script by rewarding the lowest hand instead of the highest. It follows a structure similar to Seven-Card Stud regarding the deal of face-down and face-up cards, but straights and flushes don’t count against the low value, and aces are always low. This variant encourages players to invert their usual valuation of hands, introducing a fresh perspective and strategic thinking pattern.

Five-Card Draw

Often portrayed in films as classic poker, Five-Card Draw starts with players receiving five private cards, followed by a round of betting. Participants may then discard up to three cards (or four, if holding an ace) and draw new ones in hopes of improving their hand, leading to a final betting round. The simplicity of Five-Card Draw makes it accessible, yet it demands sharp intuition and risk assessment skills.


HORSE rotates through five different poker variants: Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo, Razz, Seven-Card Stud, and Seven-Card Stud Eight or Better (Hi-Lo). Games switch typically after a set time or number of hands, testing players’ versatility and prowess across multiple forms. Success in HORSE demands not only proficiency in each variant but also the ability to adjust strategies on the fly, testing a broad range of poker skills.

2-7 Triple Draw

For those seeking a challenge, 2-7 Triple Draw provides a lowball game where players aim for the worst traditional hand. Unique by allowing three draws interspersed with betting rounds, it complicates strategic decisions. Aces rank high, and straights and flushes work against the player, making the optimal low hand 7-5-4-3-2 of varied suits. Players need to recalibrate their understanding of hand strengths and bluffs, adding a layer of intrigue.

Poker has several variations, each with unique rules and strategies, catering to different skill sets. Texas Hold’em and Omaha are the most popular variants, but players can also enjoy Seven-Card Stud, Razz, Five-Card Draw, HORSE, and 2-7 Triple Draw. Each game tests different skills, from memory to mathematical prowess, and challenges players to adapt their strategies to new situations.