Poker variants – Poker isn’t just NLTH!

Poker variants

Even if you specialize in no limit hold’em, at UnfairPoker.com we think it behooves you to at least learn the strategy for other poker variants. No Limit Texas Hold’em is currently the most popular poker game, played either online or live. Even though no limit texas hold’em is only one of many variants of poker, for many it is often synonymous with the word poker. However, this variant wasn’t always the most common game – limit hold’em was the game you would find most often spread before the no limit hold’em boom. There was also a time when stud games were commonplace – however nowadays you will rarely see them in live environments.

Having said all that, some cardrooms do spread other games from time to time, or even regularly. Popular online cardrooms allow you to play these other games at all times.

Why learn other poker variants?

  1. If your aim is to make as much profit per hour from poker, you may find there is more profit to be made in these other games than no limit hold’em. That is to say these games are softer. The reasons for this are:
    (a) There is a mountain of information out there on how to beat no limit hold’em – whilst the game is far from solved, there is enough information for most players to do well in their games if they absorb and use the information out there. There is less easily accessible information out there on strategies for many of these other games.
    (b) As many of your opponents (especially live) will have less experience playing these other games, they may be less good at these games.
  2. Each of these other games requires different strategic adjustments. If you have learnt hold’em in such a way that many of your plays are semi-automatic, playing other games forces you to think harder about strategy. This could help you with your general poker thinking, which could help your no limit hold’em game too.
  3. Being able to play different games may help some players not get burnt out, by not playing the same game again and again.

Example of popular poker variants

Short deck no-limit hold’em

All the 2,3,4 and 5s are removed from the 52 card deck prior to play. A6789 is the lowest possible straight (as there are no 2-5 cards in this game). The rankings of hands is slightly different from the non short deck game, and varies depending on where you are playing (flushes always beat full houses, but three of a kind may or may not beat straights depending on where your are playing). Instead of blinds there is an ante posted by every player preflop, with the button usually posting a double ante. As there are no blinds, action always begins on each street (including preflop) with the first player to the left of the button who hasn’t folded.

Pot limit omaha

Raises can only be pot sized (i.e. the size of the pot, after your call). Unlike texas hold’em each player is dealt four face down cards (instead of two) pre-flop. They must use exactly 2 of these (no more, no less) and exactly 3 cards (no more, no less) from the maximum 5 that could be dealt on the board to make their hand.