Types of Poker

Poker is a pastime that is enjoyed all over the world with seemingly universal appeal, yet the true origins of the game are not known. One of the earliest known games to feature the sort of betting and bluffing specific to poker was the 15th century German game Pochspiel. However, many feel Poker more closely resembles the ancient Persian game of "Âs Nas", some say the evidence points to a French game called poque. Despite all the claims and arguments, the origins of poker are still not clear. What is clear is the massive popularity of Poker today (just check out the number of online poker sites and books on poker strategy!)

The history of some of the variants of Poker played nowadays is slightly easier to trace, Texas hold 'em (also known as hold'em or holdem) dates back to the early 1900's but really caught on when it was introduced to Las Vegas in 1967 by a group of Texan gamblers. In Texas Holdem two cards are dealt face down to each player and then five community cards are placed face up by the dealer, a series of three cards is then introduced(referred to as"the flop", "the turn" and "the river"), players have the option to check, bet, raise or fold after each deal. This meant that Holdem had four betting opportunities (as opposed to the two in draw poker), players bet prior to "the flop", "on the flop", "on the turn", and "on the river". Many professional gamblers believe Holdem is a more strategic variant of Poker, the "thinking man's game". Today Texas Holdem is a contender for the most popular Poker game out there, but there are plenty of others.

Probably the second most popular of the modern Poker variants is Omaha (aka Omaha holdem or Omaha hold'em) is a community card (game where players share cards) poker game similar to Texas hold 'em, where each player is dealt four cards and must use two of them, plus three of the five community cards make his best hand. Seven-card stud is another popular poker variant (in fact seven card stud was he most popular poker game in the USA before the relatively recent increase in popularity of Texas hold 'em). Five-card draw is a poker variant that is generally regarded as the simplest variant and is common in home poker games but less so in casino and tournament games. Razz is an unusual form of stud poker where the aim of the game is to achieve the "lowball" hand, normally ace-to-five low. Players try to make the lowest possible five card hand from the seven cards dealt. Straights and flushes do not matter and the best possible Razz hand is 5-4-3-2-A (aka "5 high", "the wheel" or "the Bicycle"). Other examples of lowball poker include "Triple Draw" -essentially Draw Poker with three drawing rounds, played limit with either A-5 or 2-7 ranking (known as 2-7 triple draw).


There is also a popular new brand of Poker called H.O.R.S.E. which commonly played at the high stakes tables of casinos. Basically consisting of alternating rounds of play of Texas Hold 'em, Omaha eight or better, Razz, Seven card Stud, and Seven card stud Eight or better.

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