Poker home games often play with no limits to the number of different poker variants you might see at the table.
While No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha are the most popular games you’ll see at poker rooms around the world, they’re just a small part of the total number of ways to play poker.
If you want to spice up your home poker game, or bring a fresh game or two to a Dealer’s Choice mix, consider adding the following poker variants to the lineup:
Crazy Pineapple plays as a spiced-up version of Texas Hold’em. A Crazy Pineapple hand begins just like a Texas Hold’em hand, except each player is dealt three hole cards instead of the usual two.
After the initial betting round, the dealer puts out the flop. Before the next betting round, however, each player still in the hand discards one of their hole cards.
From that point on the game plays just like Hold’em. By the end of the final betting round, the player with the best five-card hand (according to standard poker hand rankings), using any combination of hole cards and community cards, wins.
Several variations of this game exist, all of which you can add to your home game mix.
If you take the “Crazy” off the name, you can play standard Pineapple. That version of the game sees all players discard one before the preflop betting round begins.
Lazy Pineapple, another variant of this game, allows players to wait until the river is dealt before they have to discard.
You might have seen the Squid Game (poker version) appear on the vlog of Upswing Poker co-founder Doug Polk. Doug found himself in a live-streamed mixed game at the Lodge Poker Club, where players could call any game when it was their turn to choose for an orbit.
The poker Squid Game plays as Omaha-Hi with three separate boards of community cards. Each hand plays just as it would in a standard game of Omaha Hi, except that the dealer puts out three flops when it’s time to deal the flop, three turns in the following round, and three rivers on fifth street.
After the river is dealt, the board with the lowest river cards gets taken off the board. The final betting round then plays out, and each players that wins a board gets half of the pot.
If you win both boards, you scoop the entire pot. Check out Doug Polk playing the Squid Game at the Lodge in this clip.
Once the poker players in your home game become familiar with Crazy Pineapple, try adding Irish Poker to the mix. Irish Poker combines elements of Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Pineapple.
Each hand of Irish Poker begins like an Omaha hand, but ends like a Texas Hold’em hand.
A round of Irish Poker begins with all players dealt four hole cards, much like Omaha. The preflop and flop betting rounds play out just as they would in an Omaha game.
After the flop betting round, however, all players still remaining in the hand must discard two of their four hole cards. From there, the game proceeds just like Hold’em, with turn and river betting rounds followed by a showdown.
The winner is the player with the best five-card hand, using any combination of hole cards and community cards.
For an extended look at this game, check out Upswing’s guide to Irish Poker.
For another spin on Omaha, add the game of Cincinnati to the mix. Cincinnati is a community card game that begins with each player getting five hole cards.
Unlike Omaha and Hold’em, however, the five community cards are dealt as face-down cards. The community cards are revealed one at a time, with a betting round taking place after each reveal.
At the end of the final betting round, the player with the best five-card hand wins. You can use any combination of hole cards and community cards to make your hand.
With 10 total cards to derive your hand from, monster hands happen quite often in a game of Cincinnati. Some variations of this game call for four community cards instead of five, but either way expect to see some fireworks at showdown.
You might be familiar with Razz already, as the lowball Seven-Card Stud game is a staple of the World Series of Poker. Adding Razz to your poker night brings one of the more unique and sometimes brutal poker variants to your home game mix.
Razz plays just like Seven-Card Stud, but with ace-to-five lowball rules. The lowest five-card hand wins, and the best possible low hand is 5-4-3-2-A.
Straights and flushes don’t count against low hands, but pairs, three-of-a-kind, full-houses, and four-of-a-kind do void a low hand. Razz is generally played with a fixed-limit betting structure.
You can also play Razz under deuce-to-seven lowball rules. Several other spinoffs of this stud poker classic also exist.
Check out Upswing Poker’s guide to Razz for an extended look at the game.
Dramaha is a split pot game that’s half Omaha Hi, half Five Card Draw. This fun game begins with each player dealt five hole cards.
Each hand proceeds as it would in an Omaha Hi game, with a preflop round of betting, followed by the dealer putting three face-up cards on the board, known as the flop. Another round of betting takes place after the flop.
Subsequent to that betting round, but before the turn is dealt, all players still in the hand can discard any number of cards, and replace them with new cards from the deck in a procedure that’s standard in virtually all draw poker games.
After each player gets their new cards (or stands pat, drawing no new cards), the hand plays out as it would in a normal Omaha game.
At the end of each hand, the pot is split between the player with the best five-card poker hand according to Omaha rules, and the best Five Card Draw hand.
Several different versions of Dramaha exist, and the game is generally played under pot-limit or fixed-limit betting rules.
Take a look at Doug Polk explaining some of the different versions of Dramaha and playing the game in the Dealer’s Choice mix at the Lodge.
Omajack combines elements of Omaha and Blackjack. Each player gets five hole cards, and the game proceeds through a flop, turn, and river, just like Omaha.
At each showdown, however, the game turns into a split-pot game. All players still in the hand through the river must make the best possible five-card hand, using exactly two hole cards and three community cards.
Your three unused hole cards, however, then must make the best possible blackjack hand.
For example, let’s say you’re dealt K-K-8-7-6, and the community cards run out K-3-3-T-7. You can use the K-K from your hole cards to make kings full in the Omaha part of the hand, and use the 8-7-6 to make 21, the best possible blackjack hand.
Each Omajack pot is split between the best Omaha hand and the best blackjack hand. The example hand above would stand a great chance of scooping both halves of the pot.
Badugi is a staple of mixed-game tournaments at the World Series of Poker, and also the Dealer’s Choice cash games at the Lodge.
The game tasks the player with putting together the best possible four-card lowball hand according to ace-to-five rules, but all four cards must be different suits. The best possible hand in Badugi is A-2-3-4, with each card one of the different suits.
Any hand with four different suits is known as a four-card badugi. A hand that has two cards of the same suit, or paired cards, can’t qualify as a four-card badugi.
A hand like A-A-4-3, for example, would qualify as a three-card badugi, as the pair of aces disqualifies it from four-card badugi status. Same with a hand like , as the two spades count against badugi status.
At the end of each round, the player with the best hand according to badugi rules wins the pot. A four-card badugi always beats a three-card badugi, a three-card badugi always beats a two-card badugi, and so on.
The game uses a system of a button and blinds, and each game begins with all players dealt four cards. Three betting rounds and three drawing rounds commence, followed by a final round of betting. This process is much like other lowball triple-draw games.
Read the Upswing Poker guide to Badugi Rules & Hand Rankings for a deeper look at this fun game.
Vanunu combines elements of 7-Card Stud, Razz, and draw poker games. Each round begins with all player getting dealt seven cards face down.
All players then turn up one card, and the first betting round begins. All players can bet that they have the best high hand, the best low hand, or both.
The betting process repeats four more times, for a total of five betting rounds. At the end of the fifth round, players have five face-up cards and two face-down cards.
At this point, players can discard and draw a new up card for a set price, or a down card for double that price.
After that, all players declare which side of the pot they’re trying to win, either the low, high, or both. The declaration is revealed by all players dropping coins in the center of the table at the same time – one to declare the low, two for the high, and three for both.
Poker legend Daniel Negreanu is said to have invented Vanunu with his friends from Toronto.
Moss Poker involves community cards, hole cards, and elements of Texas Hold’em.
Each hand begins with all players dealt 10 cards. The dealer then deals a flop, with three community cards hitting the table.
Players then arrange their 10 cards into five separate five-card hands, in combination with the community cards. The hands are arranged into a five-point hand, a four-point hand, a three-point hand, a two-point hand, and a one-point hand.
After that, the turn and river are dealt. You get five points if your five-point hand is better than your opponent’s, four points for a better four-point hand, and so on.
You can set a price for each point before you begin playing. For example, if you’re playing $1 per point, and you win a round 9-6, you win three dollars from your opponent for the three-point win.
Multi-player games of Moss Poker can involve various different scoring methods. We recommend that you take a look to Upswing Poker’s guide to Moss Poker, and also highly recommend that you add this game to your home mix.
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