A Crash Course in Poker Variants

If you’re wondering how to get started playing poker, this guide is for you! Discover the different kinds of poker games here.

Anyone who’s looked at the live dealer tables at an online casino site knows just how many variations of poker there are! Poker can be an intimidating game to break into, and when you’ve never heard of half of the games, it can be hard to know where to start.

This guide will give you a quick rundown of some of the most popular poker games, and particularly those found in online casinos. The information here is about the basic gameplay of these different poker games; it does not cover tactics, betting, and it does not give betting advice.

This crash course will hopefully give you an understanding of how each game works, and perhaps even inspire you to give one of these games a go yourself!

Five Card Draw poker

The aim of Five Card Draw Poker: to discard and re-deal cards to make a better five-card hand than all of the other players Gameplay:

  1. Every player is dealt five cards

  2. Players place their bets- fold, call, or raise

  3. Each player then chooses to discard up to five cards, or keep their hand as is

  4. Players bet again- fold, call, or raise

  5. If there are two or more players still in, the remaining players showdown to determine the winner

Winning hands for Five Card Draw Poker:

Name of Hand Consists of Example Hand
Royal Flush Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, all of the same suit A♥ K♥ Q♥ J♥ 10 ♥
Straight Flush Five cards in numerical order, all of the same suit 3♦ 4♦ 5♦ 6♦ 7♦
Four of a Kind Four cards of the same number, plus one other card 2♥ 2♦ 2♠ 2♣ 5♠
Full House Three cards of the same number, plus two cards of the same number K♥ K♦ K♣ 6♠ 6♥
Flush Five cards all of the same suit 3♠ Q♠ J♠ A♠ 5♠
Straight Five cards in numerical order 3♦ 4♥ 5♠ 6♦ 7♠
Three of a Kind Three cards of the same number, plus two other cards A♥ A♣ A♦ 4♥ 2♦
Two Pair Two cards of the same number, plus two cards of the same number, plus one other card 8♦ 8♠ 10♠ 10♥ K♥
One Pair Two cards of the same number, plus three other cards J♣ J♠ 9♥ 2♦ Q♠
High Card The highest card in a hand that does not match any category above J♥ Q♣ 2♥ 5♠ 7♦

Joker Poker

a.k.a. Joker Wild Poker

The aim of Joker Poker: to discard and re-deal cards to make a better five-card hand than all of the other players

Gameplay:

Unlike other poker variations, this game includes a wild joker card. The joker can stand in for any card.

  1. Players place their initial bets

  2. Players are dealt five cards each

  3. Players can choose to discard up to five cards, or keep their hand as is

  4. They are dealt new cards to replace those discarded

  5. Players then show their hands to determine the winner

Winning hands for Joker Poker:

Name of Hand Consists of Example Hand
Natural Royal Flush Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, all of the same suit, including no joker A♥ K♥ Q♥ J♥ 10 ♥
Five of a Kind Four cards of the same number, plus a Joker 7♥ 7♣ 7♦ 7♠ Jkr★
Wild Royal Flush Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, all of the same suit, one of which is stood-in by a Joker A♣ K♣ Jkr★ J♣ 10♣
Straight Flush Five cards in numerical order, all of the same suit 3♦ 4♦ 5♦ 6♦ 7♦
Four of a Kind Four cards of the same number, plus one other card 2♥ 2♦ 2♠ 2♣ 5♠
Full House Three cards of the same number, plus two cards of the same number K♥ K♦ K♣ 6♠ 6♥
Flush Five cards all of the same suit 3♠ Q♠ J♠ A♠ 5♠
Straight Five cards in numerical order 3♦ 4♥ 5♠ 6♦ 7♠
Three of a Kind Three cards of the same number, plus two other cards A♥ A♣ A♦ 4♥ 2♦
Two Pair Two cards of the same number, plus two cards of the same number, plus one other card 8♦ 8♠ 10♠ 10♥ K♥
Kings or better A pair of Kings, plus three other cards K♣ K♠ 9♥ 2♦ Q♠

Deuces Wild Poker

The aim of Deuces Wild Poker: to discard and re-deal cards to make a better five-card hand than all of the other players

Gameplay:

‘Deuce’ is another name for the ‘2’ cards (like the 2 of Hearts, for example). In this variant, the ‘2’ cards (deuces) are wild and can stand in for any card.

  1. Players place their initial bets

  2. Players are dealt five cards each

  3. Players can choose to discard up to five cards, or keep their hand as is

  4. They are dealt new cards to replace those discarded

  5. Players then show their hands to determine the winner

Winning hands for Deuces Wild Poker:

Name of Hand Consists of Example Hand
Natural Royal Flush Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, all of the same suit, including no wildcards A♥ K♥ Q♥ J♥ 10 ♥
Four Deuces Four 2s, plus one other card 2♥ 2♦ 2♠ 2♣ 5♠
Wild Royal Flush Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, all of the same suit, one of which is stood-in by a wild deuce A♣ K♣ 2♥ J♣ 10♣
Five of a Kind Four cards of the same number, plus a wild deuce 7♥ 7♣ 7♦ 7♥ 2♦
Straight Flush Five cards in numerical order, all of the same suit 3♦ 4♦ 5♦ 6♦ 7♦
Four of a Kind Four cards of the same number (except 2s), plus one other card 8♥ 8♦ 8♠ 8♣ 4♠
Full House Three cards of the same number, plus two cards of the same number K♥ K♦ K♣ 6♠ 6♥
Flush Five cards all of the same suit 3♠ Q♠ J♠ A♠ 5♠
Straight Five cards in numerical order 3♦ 4♥ 5♠ 6♦ 7♠
Three of a Kind Three cards of the same number, plus two other cards A♥ A♣ A♦ 4♥ 5♦

Caribbean Stud Poker

A.k.a. Casino Five Card Stud Poker

The aim of Caribbean Stud Poker: to stay in if you think you have a better five-card hand than the dealer. Gameplay:

  1. Players make a bet before the cards are dealt

  2. The dealer and players are dealt five cards each

  3. The dealer reveals his/her first card

  4. Players then look at their own cards and decide whether to raise or fold

  5. The dealer reveals all of his/her cards

  6. The dealer’s hand only qualifies if it has an ace and a king, or it has a pair or higher

  7. If it does not qualify, ante bets pay and raises push

  8. If it does qualify, the players compare hands to the dealer’s, and either win or lose individually

Winning hands for Caribbean Stud Poker:

Name of Hand Consists of Example Hand
Royal Flush Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, all of the same suit A♥ K♥ Q♥ J♥ 10 ♥
Straight Flush Five cards in numerical order, all of the same suit 3♦ 4♦ 5♦ 6♦ 7♦
Four of a Kind Four cards of the same number, plus one other card 2♥ 2♦ 2♠ 2♣ 5♠
Full House Three cards of the same number, plus two cards of the same number K♥ K♦ K♣ 6♠ 6♥
Flush Five cards all of the same suit 3♠ Q♠ J♠ A♠ 5♠
Straight Five cards in numerical order 3♦ 4♥ 5♠ 6♦ 7♠
Three of a Kind Three cards of the same number, plus two other cards A♥ A♣ A♦ 4♥ 2♦
Two Pair Two cards of the same number, plus two cards of the same number, plus one other card 8♦ 8♠ 10♠ 10♥ K♥
One Pair Two cards of the same number, plus three other cards J♣ J♠ 9♥ 2♦ Q♠
High Card The highest card in a hand that does not match any category above J♥ Q♣ 2♥ 5♠ 7♦

Three Card Poker

The aim of Three Card Poker: to stay in if you think you have a better three-card hand than the dealer.

Gameplay:

  1. Players place their ante bets

  2. The players receive three cards

  3. Players can fold, or up their ante to keep playing

  4. The dealer then deals him/herself three cards

  5. The dealer cannot play if his/her hand is lower than Queen-high, and in this case ante bets are paid

  6. Those who have stayed in compare their hands with the dealer to see who wins

Winning hands for Three Card Poker:

Name of Hand Consists of Example Hand
Royal Flush Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, all of the same suit A♥ K♥ Q♥ J♥ 10 ♥
Straight Flush Five cards in numerical order, all of the same suit 3♦ 4♦ 5♦ 6♦ 7♦
Four of a Kind Four cards of the same number, plus one other card 2♥ 2♦ 2♠ 2♣ 5♠
Full House Three cards of the same number, plus two cards of the same number K♥ K♦ K♣ 6♠ 6♥
Flush Five cards all of the same suit 3♠ Q♠ J♠ A♠ 5♠
Straight Five cards in numerical order 3♦ 4♥ 5♠ 6♦ 7♠
Three of a Kind Three cards of the same number, plus two other cards A♥ A♣ A♦ 4♥ 2♦
Two Pair Two cards of the same number, plus two cards of the same number, plus one other card 8♦ 8♠ 10♠ 10♥ K♥
One Pair Two cards of the same number, plus three other cards J♣ J♠ 9♥ 2♦ Q♠
High Card The highest card in a hand that does not match any category above J♥ Q♣ 2♥ 5♠ 7♦

Texas Hold’em

The aim of Texas Hold’em: to make a better five-card hand than all of the other players, out of a combination of two secret cards that only the player sees, and five shared cards which are on the table.

  1. Players make a bet before the cards are dealt

  2. Each player is dealt two ‘hole cards’ which only they see (this may be different if playing at a live table online)

  3. Players bet, check, or fold, depending on their hole cards

  4. Three shared cards are dealt face up onto the table – this is called the flop

  5. Players then re-evaluate their hands and bet again

  6. A fourth shared card is dealt – this is called the turn

  7. Players bet again, now having four shared cards and two hole cards to look at

  8. The fifth and final shared card is dealt – this is called the river

  9. Players bet a final time

  10. If there are still two or more players who haven’t folded, their cards are all revealed in a ‘showdown’ to see who wins

Winning hands for Texas Hold’em Poker:

Name of Hand Consists of Example Hand
Royal Flush Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, all of the same suit A♥ K♥ Q♥ J♥ 10 ♥
Straight Flush Five cards in numerical order, all of the same suit 3♦ 4♦ 5♦ 6♦ 7♦
Four of a Kind Four cards of the same number, plus one other card 2♥ 2♦ 2♠ 2♣ 5♠
Full House Three cards of the same number, plus two cards of the same number K♥ K♦ K♣ 6♠ 6♥
Flush Five cards all of the same suit 3♠ Q♠ J♠ A♠ 5♠
Straight Five cards in numerical order 3♦ 4♥ 5♠ 6♦ 7♠
Three of a Kind Three cards of the same number, plus two other cards A♥ A♣ A♦ 4♥ 2♦
Two Pair Two cards of the same number, plus two cards of the same number, plus one other card 8♦ 8♠ 10♠ 10♥ K♥
One Pair Two cards of the same number, plus three other cards J♣ J♠ 9♥ 2♦ Q♠
High Card The highest card in a hand that does not match any category above J♥ Q♣ 2♥ 5♠ 7♦

Casino Hold’em

The aim of Casino Hold’em: to make a better five-card hand than the dealer, out of a combination of two secret cards that only the player sees, and five shared cards which are on the table.

  1. Each player is dealt two ‘hole cards’ which only they see

  2. Players bet, check, or fold, depending on their hole cards

  3. Three shared cards are dealt face up onto the table – this is called the flop

  4. Players then re-evaluate their hands and bet again

  5. A fourth shared card is dealt – this is called the turn

  6. Players bet again, now having four shared cards and two hole cards to look at

  7. The fifth and final shared card is dealt – this is called the river

  8. Players bet a final time

  9. The dealer then reveals his/her hole cards

  10. To qualify, the dealer must have a pair of 4s or better

  11. If the dealer qualifies, each player’s hand is compared with the dealer’s

Winning hands for Casino Hold’em Poker:

Name of Hand Consists of Example Hand
Royal Flush Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, all of the same suit A♥ K♥ Q♥ J♥ 10 ♥
Straight Flush Five cards in numerical order, all of the same suit 3♦ 4♦ 5♦ 6♦ 7♦
Four of a Kind Four cards of the same number, plus one other card 2♥ 2♦ 2♠ 2♣ 5♠
Full House Three cards of the same number, plus two cards of the same number K♥ K♦ K♣ 6♠ 6♥
Flush Five cards all of the same suit 3♠ Q♠ J♠ A♠ 5♠
Straight Five cards in numerical order 3♦ 4♥ 5♠ 6♦ 7♠
Three of a Kind Three cards of the same number, plus two other cards A♥ A♣ A♦ 4♥ 2♦
Two Pair Two cards of the same number, plus two cards of the same number, plus one other card 8♦ 8♠ 10♠ 10♥ K♥
One Pair Two cards of the same number, plus three other cards J♣ J♠ 9♥ 2♦ Q♠
High Card The highest card in a hand that does not match any category above J♥ Q♣ 2♥ 5♠ 7♦

Omaha

The aim of Omaha Poker: to make a better five-card hand than all of the other players, out of a combination of four secret cards that only the player sees, and five shared cards which are on the table.

It is important to note that in Omaha, players must make their hand out of three shared cards and two of their hole cards.

  1. Each player is dealt four ‘hole cards’ which only they see (this may be different if playing at a live table online)

  2. Players bet, check, or fold, depending on their hole cards

  3. Three shared cards are dealt face up onto the table – this is called the flop

  4. Players then re-evaluate their hands and bet again

  5. A fourth shared card is dealt – this is called the turn

  6. Players bet again, now having four shared cards and four hole cards to look at

  7. The fifth and final shared card is dealt – this is called the river

  8. Players bet a final time

  9. If there are still two or more players who haven’t folded, their cards are all revealed in a ‘showdown’ to see who wins

Winning hands for Omaha Poker:

Name of Hand Consists of Example Hand
Royal Flush Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, all of the same suit A♥ K♥ Q♥ J♥ 10 ♥
Straight Flush Five cards in numerical order, all of the same suit 3♦ 4♦ 5♦ 6♦ 7♦
Four of a Kind Four cards of the same number, plus one other card 2♥ 2♦ 2♠ 2♣ 5♠
Full House Three cards of the same number, plus two cards of the same number K♥ K♦ K♣ 6♠ 6♥
Flush Five cards all of the same suit 3♠ Q♠ J♠ A♠ 5♠
Straight Five cards in numerical order 3♦ 4♥ 5♠ 6♦ 7♠
Three of a Kind Three cards of the same number, plus two other cards A♥ A♣ A♦ 4♥ 2♦
Two Pair Two cards of the same number, plus two cards of the same number, plus one other card 8♦ 8♠ 10♠ 10♥ K♥
One Pair Two cards of the same number, plus three other cards J♣ J♠ 9♥ 2♦ Q♠
High Card The highest card in a hand that does not match any category above J♥ Q♣ 2♥ 5♠ 7♦

Razz

A.k.a. Seven Card Stud Low

The aim of Razz Poker: to have the best five-card low hand out of seven cards.

Gameplay:

Aces are always low. Straights and flushes do not count.

  1. Players bet before the cards are dealt

  2. Each player is dealt two hole cards that only they see, and one face up card

  3. The player with the highest shown card must make another bet, and the other players follow

  4. Each player is dealt another face up card – this is called Fourth Street

  5. The player with the lowest- and therefore best- shown cards must now check or bet

  6. All players bet

  7. Each player is dealt another face up card – this is called Fifth Street

  8. The player with the lowest- and therefore best- shown cards must now check or bet

  9. All players bet

  10. Each player is dealt another face up card – this is called Sixth Street

  11. The player with the lowest- and therefore best- shown cards must now check or bet

  12. All players bet

  13. Each player is dealt a seventh card, this time face-down

  14. The player with the lowest- and therefore best- shown cards must now check or bet

  15. All players bet

  16. If more than one player remains, the remaining players showdown to determine a winner

Winning hands for Razz Poker:

Name of Hand Consists of Example Hand
Lowest high card Hands are judged from the highest card down, so your 5-card hand must have a lower high-card than other players, plus no pairs A♥ 2♣ 3♥ 4♠ 5♦
One Pair Two cards of the same number, plus three other cards J♣ J♠ 9♥ 2♦ Q♠
Two Pair Two cards of the same number, plus two cards of the same number, plus one other card 8♦ 8♠ 10♠ 10♥ K♥
Three of a Kind Three cards of the same number, plus two other cards A♥ A♣ A♦ 4♥ 2♦
Full House Three cards of the same number, plus two cards of the same number K♥ K♦ K♣ 6♠ 6♥
Four of a Kind Four cards of the same number, plus one other card 2♥ 2♦ 2♠ 2♣ 5♠

Conclusion

These are by no means all the different poker games, but they are the ones you’re most likely to find on an online casino site.

Some sites will let you watch the live table games without placing a bet, so if you find one of these, try watching the action with this guide handy, and see if you can follow the gameplay!

Poker is generally considered a game that’s easy to learn but hard to master, so don’t despair if it seems tricky at first! Lots of sites have freeplay practice poker tables and beginners’ tables so new players can train up without being swamped by experts.

Interested in other games as well as poker? Check out OhMyBingo’s articles on how online slots work, and the different kinds of bingo.