Variations Players logging on to legal poker rooms in the United States will see that they offer a wide variety of poker games. Below you will find a brief description of the most popular games offered at online poker rooms and some of the basics involved for each game.

Texas Hold'em

Variations - Texas Texas Hold'em is by far the most popular poker game in the world, whether it's online or offline.

There are two versions of the game – Limit and No Limit. Nine times out of ten players will jump into No Limit Hold'em games because they offer the biggest potential for profits and the most excitement. Limit games tend to run slower but the swings tend to be much less severe.

In Hold'em, players are dealt two 'hole' cards which solely belong to each player and are hidden from the other players. Five community cards are dealt face up on the table with a round of betting in between each deal, with players then having to make the best five-card hand from the seven available.

Betting starts before the first three community cards – the flop - are dealt, with the flop dealt first, followed by the turn and the river. After a final round of betting, the player with the best hand at showdown or the last player in the hand (after all others have folded) wins the pot.

One of the most important elements for beginners to learn is which starting hands are good, and which ones are best thrown away at the start of a hand. Many players feel the need to play any two cards in front of them, but smart players know that if they are in a bad position – say, first or second to act - they should only be playing premium hands. The best strategy for beginners is to only play big hands like decent pairs or strong suited connectors, and play them strong. Once you have a feel for the game and the table, widen the hand range you are willing to play, and start making moves based on position to exploit weaker players.


Variations - Ohmaha Omaha is a lot like Texas Hold'em, but it is played with four cards instead of two and typically played in the Pot Limit betting format.

Omaha easily ranks as the second most popular form of poker and has seen its popularity increase over the last few years. In Pot Limit Omaha (often referred to as PLO), players must use two of the four cards they are dealt (no more, no less) and use the community board (just like Hold'em) to make the best 5-card poker hand possible.

Because each player has four hole cards instead of two, the possibilities for big hands and great drawing odds force more action than in regular Hold'em games. There is a variation called Omaha Hi/Lo where there is a split pot at showdown, one half of the pot going to the best hand and the other half to the best "qualifying" low hand (unpaired and all cards at or below an 8).

Since Omaha is draw-heavy and less understood than Hold'em, Pot Limit Omaha games tend to be a lot looser and fishier at all levels, particularly online where Hold'em players want to try it out. However, the game is more complex and has a lot more mathematics involved than other forms of poker. It's highly recommended that players do a little reading and perhaps watch some training videos before seriously diving into the game.

Players should be very selective with starting hands, looking for great combinations for both straight and flush possibilities. Sets tend to play poorly in Omaha while flushes and full houses tend to win hands at showdown. A critical skill will be to see which players play every single hand and chase bad draws through all five streets. These players who continually make bad calls will be highly exploitable. For the most part, being smart and knowing your odds while trying to draw to the nuts in multi-way pots are a good way to get a great start playing Omaha.


Variations - Stud Seven –Card Stud was the most popular form of poker right up until the current poker boom when No Limit Hold'em took over. Limit Stud is a very strategic game where having a great memory and picking up on tells is always rewarded.

Players receive two cards dealt face down (known as hole cards) and one card face up. Cards are dealt to each player one at time. The player with the lowest card facing up has to make a bring-in bet. The betting then continues in clockwise position. After a round of betting, each player is dealt another face up card and the betting begins again. This process continues through a fifth and sixth card, both dealt face up. Finally, a seventh card is dealt face down, with a final round of betting following. The player with the best 5-card poker hand out of the seven cards in front of them wins the pot.

Some good advice for players getting into Limit Seven-Card Stud would be similar to other forms of poker: play premium starting hands and get out of bad starting positions early by folding. Being able to assess your opponents will be another critical skill you must master, as players will telegraph what they tend to do very early in games. Some will play terrible hands and some will only play premium hands, while others will give off tells when they are bluffing. A good player, even if they have already folded, never stops paying attention.

Another vital skill to Stud dominance is developing a photographic memory with up cards. Always remember the "up cards" of your opponents so you can remember if hands are "live" or not. Many players won't keep track and fail to realize their opponent is nearly drawing dead to a flush, which can be exploited by a good player.

Finally, a good Stud player is never afraid to raise. Many beginners in Stud just call (otherwise known as "flatting") and let the action move on. If you have the best hand, raise every single time. As with Omaha, many online Hold'em players like to have a go at the Stud tables to see what the game is all about. That means that there will be plenty of bad players around, even if the games themselves may not be well-populated. Learn the basics and exploit them!


Variations - Razz Razz is a "low" game, meaning that the player with the worst hand wins the pot. It's nearly identical to Stud is most ways with the obvious exception that the worst hands wins instead of the best.

To start a game of Razz, players are dealt two cards face down and one face up. The player required to bring in the first bet in Razz is determined by who has the best "door card" which are ranked from lowest to highest (jack, queen, king). Aces are an asset in Razz, meaning that they are the lowest value card, making the highest ranking card a king. Suits are ordered alphabetically from worst to best (clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades). The player with the 'best' Razz hand, or the one with the lowest value, is the one to start the action at each betting round. After all the betting rounds have been completed, each player makes the best five-card hand possible out of their seven dealt cards. A hand of Razz is then won by the player holding the worst hand. Straights and flushes do not count in Razz hands and there is no qualifier for winning the hand.

In terms of strategy, players should play only "weak" hands. Most beginners refuse to play a hand that contains a card higher than an eight, which is advisable. Remember that a hand with one pair can still be a winning hand, but any hand stronger than that can be pretty awful at showdown. Razz players still bluff but beginners should be discouraged from being creative with their play and bluffs when learning the game. One last bit of advice for players is that there tends to be a lot of opportunities to steal antes and bring-ins, especially when you are showing really good Razz cards like an ace or a deuce.

Hi-Lo Games

Variations - Hilo Many of the games in our guide are played in their popular formats as described above. These games include No Limit Texas Hold'em, Pot Limit Omaha, Limit Seven-Card Stud and Limit Razz.

Some players, however, like to throw in a Hi-Lo element to make things interesting. In fact, there are dozens of Hi-Lo games available online but the most common ones can be found at the Omaha and Stud tables.

A Hi-Lo variant is one where the pot is split between both a high hand pot (best hand wins) and a low hand pot (worst qualifying hand wins). The qualified hand for the low has to be eight-high or lower. In some games it is possible for a player to "scoop the pot" which means they can win both the high and low.

Omaha Hi-Lo is typically played in Limit, Pot Limit and sometimes No Limit formats at most of the major online poker sites. Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo is typically played in the traditional Limit betting format.

There are a ton of other Hi-Lo games including Triple Stud, 2-7 Single Draw, 2-7 Triple Draw, and HORSE. Before you dive in, however, it's highly recommended you play a Hi-Lo variant of a game you already know, like Stud or Omaha, before branching out into some of the other Hi-Lo games offered online. HORSE, a five-discipline game that encompasses Hold'em, Omaha, Razz, Stud and Stud Eight-or-Better is probably best left to the experts, although it's growing in popularity among beginners due to its high-profile billing at the World Series of Poker.

Interested in learning even more poker variants? Check out this helpful guide from