Other Unique and Fun Poker Variants
Badugi is a favorite for many. This game is very unique and it is also very niche. In fact, very rarely will you find Badugi tournaments on the major sites or in the major casinos, but they are out there. Badugi is reported to have been invented in the 1980s, although exactly where and when no one is quite sure. Pokerstars has these tournaments running throughout the day, and there are also Badugi games on the major tours and in the major tournaments.
Badugi is played with four cards, and the aim of the game is to make “Badugi”, which is made when the player has one card from each suit. The betting system is much like standard games of Draw, with blinds paid out before each hand. Each player gets four cards and there are three rounds of betting after that, with an option to change however many cards the player wants to change as they try their best to make “Badugi”. A strong hand is a low hand, with the strongest possible hand being A, 2, 3, 4 of different suits.
Badugi games are often fixed limit games, and this puts a lot of amateurs off. There are also pot limit games available, but these are less common, and you will very rarely find a no limit game of Badugi
5 Card Draw
This is one of the oldest games of poker. Many people assume that Texas Hold’em was the main game in the wild west, played by Wild Bill and co, but it was actually 5 Card Draw. This was the most common game of poker up until the age of Texas Hold’em, which took the world by storm and created a new generation of players, many of which had never heard of 5 Card Draw, let alone played it.
5 Card Draw is played with 5 cards and often a maximum of 4 or 5 people per table. All five cards are dealt before the first round of betting and the goal is for the players to make the strongest five card poker hand with the hand they are dealt. After the first round of betting they are allowed to change as many of their cards as they want, much like in Badugi, but there is only one change allowed, after which there is one more round of betting.
5 Card Draw is a great tournament game, and one that makes for some very exciting skill-based tournaments. It can be a very frustrating game to play heads-up, and many refuse to play heads-up unless they have to (such as at the end of a tournament) but it’s great when you have a full table. It is also the perfect game to introduce people to poker, as it’s by far the easiest game to learn.
This game has many layers which means it is very rarely appealing to those who don’t understand the rules. It is probably the most popular game on this list, but is nowhere near as popular as standard Omaha, which is often only second to Texas Hold’em in the popularity stakes.
Omaha Hi-Lo is typically a pot limit game and there are two pots in each hand, with a high hand and a low hand. All players are dealt four cards (although there are five card variations as well) and there are also five community cards dealt on the table that all players can use to make their best five card hand. They need to use two cards from their hand and three cards from the community hand in order to make that five card hand.
If there are three or more low cards on the table, which are defined as 7 and below, then the pot is split, with half going to the high hand and half going to the low hand. The best low hand is one from the ace through to the five, and standard poker rules apply to the high hand.
Omaha Hi-Lo is very unique in the sense that prior knowledge of good Omaha or Hold’em hands will do you few favors here as you also need to calculate the best low hand potential.
Mixed Poker games take many forms and the beauty of these is that only those with an eclectic range of poker knowledge can run deep in the tournament. Mixed games incorporate two or more poker variants into one tournament, with the game switching for every blind increase. These games are as simple as Omaha/Hold’em splits, which are the most popular, and as complicated as HORSE (Hold’em, Omaha, Razz, Seven-card Stud and Eights or Better). There are also games that mix eight, ten, twelve and even thirteen different poker variants. The competition in these is likely to be fierce, with only the best of the best competing, but this is a great way to test your abilities and with so may variants on the go, and with regular changes between them, you’ll never get bored regardless of how deep the tournament runs.
Some new games that are achieving popularity on Pokerstars and other places include Courchevel, which is a bit like Omaha but with five cards, one of which is face-up; Triple-Draw, which is similar to both Badugi and 5-Card Draw; and Razz.