If you’re going to study poker the right way, there are two things that you have to do: look at the theory of the game, and then play a different variant than what you’re used to. Look, we get it. We’re crazy about Texas Hold’Em but it’s not the only poker out there. And if you have dreams of participating in a major, televised event like the World Poker Tour or the World Series of Poker, you’re going to need to stretch way outside your poker com fort zone. That’s the name of the game, as hard as it might be to deal with.
But we’ve given you six cool variants to check out. Some might be similar to other variants you’ve played. Others might be found only at certain casinos. If you’ve ever wanted to create a trip to play poker, this is your chance to learn new skills.
Below is the list of our picks. Check it out.
1. Big Raise Stud Poker
This variant is found at a few Las Vegas casinos, so if that interests you…check this out. Like the others, it’s a single card deck, but with no jokers. The dealer gives you three cards, plus two community cards. The community cards are face down. At this point, you can fold or raise. You can only raise once in Big Raise Stud, up to four times your ante.
2. Asian Stud
Asian Stud is slowly starting to grow outside of the Seattle area, where it first started about 12 years ago. You get a single deck of cards, but it includes a joker. In this variant, the ace is worth 1 point, and the joker is one point as well.
You make your ante wager and then the dealer gives everyone five cards, including themselves. These are all face down cards that each player can examine. Don’t share information; it’s rude.
Like the other variants, you will either raise or fold. The additional wager is equal to the original one.
You separate your five cards into a three card hand and a two card hand. The 3 card hand has to come up to 10, 20, or 30 points. Cards 2 – 9 have a point value equal to their face, and face cards are all worth 10. If you can’t qualify on the 3-card hand, you lose your wager. The only way to reverse this is if the dealer themselves don’t qualify.
You can win good money on this one, so check it out.
3. Bet The Deck
This is kind of a weird poker variant, in that it’s not played very often. You’re basically betting on the outcome of a 5-card hand. You have four community cards and the 5th card is your choosing.
The game starts up with your bet. Then the dealer discards one card and then places the very next four cards face down on the board. Each card is turned face up one at a time.
The bets are easy: specific card, all red or all black, eight or lower, or a wild joker bet.
4. Face Up Three Card Poker
You’ll find this variant in a ton of California based casinos. Keep in mind that in this variant, there are no ante bonuses and there is a fee to play. You will have to pay an extra 1% of your total bet, rounded up of course.
You start out making your ante, then you get three cards. The dealer also gets three cards, except that two of them are face down and only one is face up. All three of your cards are face down.
At this point, you can either fold or raise. If you fold, you have to forfeit everything. If you raise, then your raise has to equal the ante.
The dealer reveals their cards. If they don’t have at least queen high, they don’t qualify. At that point, you have to look at your hand.
If you beat their hand, then you get a 1:1 payout and the raise pushes.
If they don’t qualify but their hand beats yours, then the ante AND the raise push.
But if the dealer qualifies and you beat them, then both ante and raise pay 1:1.
Keep in mind that if you’re playing good strategy, a flush should make you raise. Just a hint.
5. Flop Poker
This is a cool poker variant for one reason: it carries a zero house edge for the pot bet. So if you’re looking for profit, you will find it in flop poker. This is a popular poker variant if you hit Atlantic City often.
Here’s how it goes down: there’s a single deck of cards, and traditional poker rules apply to how your hand is scored. Every player makes both an ante wager and a pot wager. The pot wager is the table minimum, but the ante can be as high as the table limits.
You get three cards face down, and you cannot share info with the other players at the table. Your options at this point are easy: raise or fold. Keep in mind that if you fold, you have to give up your ante bet. You can keep your cards to figure out if you’ve won the pot bet.
The dealer will set out the three card flop. These cards go in the middle and serve as the community cards. So far, so good.
Here’s what’s a neat twist: you have to have jacks or better to get anything out of your ante wager. A pair of jacks are even money, plus the flop bet. The dealer determines your best hand out of the three cards you have and any two of the community cards on the table.
The pot bet is won by the player with the highest and best poker hand. Very neat.
6. Mississippi Stud Poker
MSP fascinates us because it’s a style of poker that requires you to take action. You can’t just limp around the pot. You either bet or you fold. If you fold, you lose the ante wager that you put up. So it becomes a matter of looking at your “outs”, the possibilities that your initial two cards really bring to the table. Sometimes it’s better to fold, but if you get the right card combo…hang in there and go for it.
We could definitely go on and on when it comes to variants. If you’re going to gamble, it never hurts to stretch outside your comfort zone once in a while. Maybe you find your mind getting into a rut lately thinking of poker. That’s a pretty sure sign that you need to step out of the poker that you normally play. Not all of these variants will be found online, but the ones that are should be played every once in a while, just to keep your mind sharp. Don’t underestimate the psychological side of poker!