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Three popular historic variations of poker

Everyone has heard about the two most popular variations of poker- Texas hold'em and Pot Limit Omaha. But what many people don't know is that there are other variations in poker which historically were very popular.


  1. Five Card Draw


Five-card draw is often considered to be the simplest variant of poker which is most popular at home games. Due to its uncomplicated gameplay, it is sometimes the first variant learned by new players,


Objective: To make the best five card poker hand from the hole cards. Unlike texas hold’em, where a player uses the best five cards from seven (two hole cards and five community), in draw poker, there exist only five hole cards for every player. Community cards do not exist.


The Rules:


Pre-flop betting is usually done in two ways:


  1. Pay an ante before receiving the cards.
  2. OR post small blind and big blind similar to hold’em and Omaha games.


After the antes / blinds are posted, each player receives five hole cards (cards face down), which is followed by one round of betting. If multiple players are still in the hand after the first round, then the drawing takes place. Each active player makes a judgement on how many cards he or she wishes to discard and replace those with new cards from the deck. One can be completely satisfied with the original five cards dealt and therefore, not want to draw any cards.


There can be multiple betting, and then subsequent drawing rounds. Players can decide on a mutually agreeable number. Once the drawing rounds are completed, there is one final round of betting, which leads to a showdown between the remaining players. The player with the best five-card poker hand wins the pot.




  1. Seven Card Stud


Seven-card stud was the most widely played poker variant in home games and casinos across the United States until the rise of Texas Hold’em.


Objective: To make the best poker hand using five cards. Each player has seven cards, four open and three hidden.


The rules:


Each player is dealt seven cards, and the best five-card poker hand, wins. Out of the seven cards, three cards are dealt face down while four are dealt face up. The seven cards are not all dealt together though. First, each player puts an ante into the pot, after which he or she is dealt two cards face down (hole cards) and one card face up (door card). The player with the lowest ranked door card commences the betting (suit is used to break a possible tie). After one round of betting, the remaining players are dealt their fourth card, which is one card face-up. Second round of betting occurs, after which the remaining players are dealt their fifth card, another door card. After the third round of betting the remaining players are dealt their sixth card, another door card. Fourth round of betting occurs, after which the remaining players are dealt their seventh and last card, face down (hole card). Final round of betting occurs, followed by a showdown and the player with the best five card poker hand wins the pot.


The poker hand rankings are the same as Texas hold’em.


  1. Seven Card-Stud High-Low Split


Objective: To use five cards and make the best or the worst five card poker hand. Each hand scoops up half the pot. Each player has seven cards, four open and three hidden.


This poker variant is an interesting one because every pot has two winners at showdown - the player with the best hand and the player with the worst hand. The only way in which one player can scoop up the whole pot is if all the other players fold before showdown. All the rules for seven-card stud apply to seven-card stud high-low split.


Dealing of hole cards and door cards, along with the betting rounds happen in the exact same way as seven-card stud. The poker hand rankings are the same as Texas hold’em. The player with the lowest hole card initiates action. At showdown, the best handed player scoops up half the pot and the worst handed player scoops up the other half.  




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