Poker Variations: Mastering the Different Types of Poker

Different types of Poker Games
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There are many, many variations of poker – that’s what makes the card game so interesting! But learning all of them can be tough for the uninitiated.

That’s why we’ve created a brief guide to the most popular poker games, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha and Caribbean Stud Poker, as well as an introduction to video poker and Pai Gow poker. From here, you’ll get a handle on the basics, learn the differences, and then read the expert guides we’ve created for each of the poker game variations.

Let’s discover the different poker games together, from poker rules to winning poker hands and everything in between…

The Different Types of Online Poker Games

Poker is a card game that is played with a standard 52-card deck. The goal of the game is to win the pot, which is the collection of bets made by all of the players. Players make bets by placing chips into the pot. The player with the best hand at the end of the hand wins the pot.

Now, there are many different poker games in NZ. Some of the most popular types of poker include:

Texas Hold’em Poker

Texas Hold Em Poker is the most popular poker variant played around the world. In this version, each player is dealt two hole cards face down. Five community cards are then dealt face-up in three stages: the flop (three cards), the turn (one card), and the river (one card). Players use any combination of their two hole cards and the five community cards to form the best five-card poker hand.

Omaha Poker

Omaha is similar to Texas Hold’em, but each player is dealt four cards instead of two. Players must use exactly two of their hole cards and three of the community cards to form their best five-card poker hand. It is quickly becoming one of the most popular variations of poker in the world. Find out everything you need to know about Omaha Poker in our guide.

Omaha Hi-Lo

Omaha Hi-Lo is a variation of Omaha poker that’s very similar, except there are two pots for each hand. Each player creates a five-card hand that’s high and another five-card hand that’s low. The best part? You can win half the pot if you have the highest hand and the other half of the pot if you have the lowest hand.

To get the best high hand, it’s the same as playing any other type of poker. To achieve the best low hand the total of your five cards need to be 8 or lower. If no player has a low hand, the pot gets split between all players with the best high hands.

5 Card Omaha

In a regular game of Omaha poker, each player is dealt four-hole cards. They need to use two of these cards and three community cards to make the best hand possible. When you play 5-card Omaha, you are dealt five starting cards instead of four.

Hi-Lo Poker

Hi-Lo is a type of poker where players are trying to make the best high hand and the best low hand. The best high hand is the same as in other types of poker. The best low hand is made up of any five cards that are 8 or lower. If no player has a low hand, the pot is split between all of the players with the best high hands. Learn more about Omaha Hi-Lo in our dedicated guide.

Seven Card Stud

Seven Card Stud is a type of poker where each player is dealt seven cards. The first three cards are dealt face down, and the next four cards are dealt face up. Players must use any five of their seven cards to form the best five-card poker hand. Interested in learning more about Seven Card Stud? Head over to our guide to find out more about this classic poker type.

Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud Poker is a type of poker where players play against the dealer. Each player is dealt five cards, and the dealer is dealt five cards. Players can make side bets, such as a bet that their hand will beat the dealer’s hand. If a player’s hand beats the dealer’s hand, the player wins the side bet. Find out how to play Caribbean Stud in our guide.

2-7 Triple Draw

In this version of poker, each player is dealt five cards face down. During the three rounds, each player can swap cards from their existing hand with cards from the dealer. You can also play a 2-7 lowball game, where the player with the lowest ranking hand wins.


The major difference between Badugi and other forms of poker is how the Ace is valued. In Badugi, the Ace has a low value, unlike other game forms. The objective in this version is to create a low-value hand.

Each player is dealt four cards instead of five to start the round. There are three rounds of play and betting, during which each player can draw up to four cards. The player who holds the best poker hand from their four cards at the end of the final round is the winner.


HORSE is an acronym that includes five different versions of poker: Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Stud Lo, Stud Hi and Stud Hi/Lo. HORSE is often seen in high-stakes live games, such as international professional tournaments like the World Series of Poker.

Chinese Poker

Chinese poker is played with between two to four players. Each player receives 13 cards from the dealer and splits them into three hands. Two hands have five cards (known as the middle and back hands) and one hand holds three cards (known as the front hand).

The aim is for the front hand to be the lowest-ranking hand and the back to be the highest. All hands are placed front down on the table in different positions. The front hand is placed on the table first, furthest away from the player. The middle hand is placed second in between the front and the back hand. The back hand is placed third, closest to the player. Each player earns points throughout the game depending on the hands they reveal.

Short Deck Poker

This fun version of Hold’em poker is popular in high-stakes games and poker tournaments. The hand rankings in short deck poker differ slightly from traditional poker games. That’s because numbers 2 through 5 have been removed from the playing deck, resulting in only 36 playing cards. Hence the name, ‘short deck’.

Because there are fewer cards, there’s a higher chance of making a strong hand more often, but the same goes for all players!

Pineapple Poker

In Pineapple poker, each player starts with three pocket cards. After looking at their cards, they need to discard one before the first betting round begins. Otherwise, the rules are the same as Texas Hold’Em poker.

There’s also another version known as Crazy Pineapple Poker. Players hold onto all three pocket cards in this version until the round before the dealer reveals the fourth card, the turn card. In another slightly different version, known as Lazy Pineapple poker, players don’t need to discard a card until the dealer turns over or deals the final community card, the river card.

Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is a type of poker where players are dealt seven cards. Players must divide their cards into two hands of five cards each. One hand must be a high hand, and the other hand must be a low hand. The high hand must be made up of any five cards that are 10 or higher. The low hand must be made up of any five cards that are 7 or lower. If a player’s hands are both of the correct rank, the player wins. Learn how to play Pai Gow Poker from our guide.

Razz Poker

Razz is a type of poker where players are trying to make the worst five-card poker hand. The worst hand is made up of any five cards that are 7 or lower, and all of the cards must be of the same suit. Check out our Razz Poker guide to find out more about this lowball poker card game.

Five Card Draw

Five Card Draw is a type of poker where players are dealt five cards. Players can then draw up to three cards to improve their hands. The best hand is made up of these five cards. Discover more in our dedicated guide to five-card draw.

Video Poker

Video Poker is a type of poker where players play against a computer. It is based on 5-card draw. Players are dealt five cards, and they can then hold any number of cards and discard the rest. The computer will then deal new cards to replace the discarded cards. The player with the best five-card poker hand wins the game. Read more about video poker in our dedicated guide.

High Chicago or Low Chicago

High Chicago, sometimes called Chicago, is when the player with the highest spade face down (in the hole) wins half the pot. When playing Low Chicago, the player with the lowest spade face down (Ace is the lowest card in this version) wins half the pot. If the player with the highest value hand also has the highest or lowest spade face down, then that player wins the entire pot.

Follow the Queen

This poker version is a 7-card stud game. It uses a wild card, which is the card immediately dealt face-up after any Queen has been dealt or exposed. If a Queen is dealt as the wild card, then all Queens are treated as wild cards. If no Queens are dealt during a round, then the round is played without a wild card. Players bet the same as a normal 7-stud game.


In this 5 card poker version, there are four rounds of betting. In round one, players can choose to replace up to three cards. In round two, players can replace two cards and in the third round players can replace one card. In the final round, players show their hand and the highest hand wins.

For each replacement card, a player adds the cost of the card into the pot, and the cost doubles each round.


Guts is more like a cousin of poker than a variant. There are only three cards (or sometimes fewer) that are ranked similarly to poker. Like poker, there are multiple rounds of betting where players can remain in or opt out before the final showdown.

Five-O Poker

Players play five hands of five cards simultaneously in this version of poker. Four of the five cards are dealt face up. There is only a single round of betting. The winner is the player with the strongest poker hand in three or more hands against their opponent. If a player wins all five hands, it’s known as a Five-O win.

Kuhn Poker

Kuhn poker is a simplified version that uses a three-card deck, e.g. a Jack, Queen and King. It’s played with only two players, and the player with the highest card wins.

Community Cards Poker

Community cards refer to shared cards used by players in a poker game. For example, in Omaha or Texas Hold’Em poker, players are dealt their own hidden cards, which they combine with community cards to form their hand.


When you play lowball poker, the lowest hand wins. Specific rules usually apply for lowball games, such as whether flushes or straights count and how an Ace is valued. Examples of lowball games include Razz and 7-Triple Draw.

High Low Split

High-low split games are typically some of the more complex games of poker you can play. They divide the win between the player holding the highest hand and the player holding the lowest hand. Sometimes, you can be lucky enough to hold both and win big. These are good to try only after you’ve mastered the basics of poker.

Additional tips for poker beginners

If you’re just beginning to play poker, here are some tips to consider that can help to improve your game and get you playing like a pro in no time!

Start by playing with friends or family members. This will give you a chance to learn the basics of the game without risking any money.

Once you have a basic understanding of the game, you can start playing online at one of our recommended NZ online casinos.

Don’t be afraid to lose money – within reason! Everyone loses money when they first start playing poker. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes and keep playing.

Be patient. It takes time to become a good poker player. Don’t expect to win every hand.

And be sure to have fun! Poker is a great game that can be enjoyed by adults of all ages.

The Bottom Line

Our guide to the different kinds of poker games covers just a few of the many different types of poker out there. There are many other types of poker, each with its own unique rules and strategy. And if you’re looking for online poker casinos, check out our recommended Online Poker Casinos in NZ.

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Noah Adams
Noah Adams
Senior Content Editor
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Noah is the senior content editor at CasinoCrawlers and a writer with many iGaming articles under his portfolio. Therefore, he is skilled at writing bonus guidelines, gambling strategies, and casino reviews. During his spare time, he enjoys playing Call of Duty and is a huge rugby fan.

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