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What is the best poker variant for you?

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Thinking of picking up poker and starting to play with your friends? Well, if you are, you might be shocked to find out that it isn’t quite as simple as learning the rules and jumping straight into a game.

Poker is a game that has multiple ways of playing, which means there is no such thing as ‘straight poker’, instead there are variants like Texas Hold ‘Em, Razz and Omaha Hi-Lo. In this article we will give you the lowdown on the range and variety of poker variants available.

In addition to this, we will explain the four different personality types in poker and what variants are best suited to each type. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll not only be able to tell the difference between draw, stud, and community poker but you will also be able to pinpoint exactly which variant suits your style.

Poker’s 3 Categories: Draw, Stud and Community

In total there are 3 categories of poker – Draw, Stud and Community – but beyond that there are an additional 13 subcategories which we’ll get to later…

The main differences between these categories relate to how information is shared between players. Confused yet? Here’s a brief overview of each category:

Draw: In this category of game, players are dealt a complete hand at the beginning of the game which is completely hidden from their opponents.

Throughout the game players are given the opportunity to improve their hand by replacing cards.

The most common variant of draw poker is 5-card draw (also known as Cantrell draw by some) which is the basis for most video poker games.

Draw is usually the first variant of poker played by beginners as it allows players to familiarise themselves with hands without introducing too much jeopardy.

Stud: In games of stud poker, players receive a combination of face-up and face-down cards over the course of multiple betting rounds.

5-card stud, which was first played during the American Civil War is the most common variant in this category.

Community: The main difference between this variant and the other two is that players ‘share’ community cards between one another.

That is to say that players are dealt cards and that the dealer also lays out on the table a series of community cards which players combine with their hidden cards to create winning hands.

The most popular type of community poker is Texas Hold ‘Em which took over from Five-card draw as the dominant variant in the early 20th century.

Poker’s Subcategories

Now that you’re at least somewhat familiar with the 3 main categories of poker it’s time to move on to the sub-categories, of which there are 13.

Rather than going into intricate detail of every subcategory available on the planet, we will instead look at 1 popular variant within each of the 3 main categories.

Draw

Hi-Lo Declare: This variant adds an extra dimension to the game, instead of playing for the best possible hands, players have the chance to play for the best or worst hand. To distinguish their intentions players going for a high hand position a chip in their hand.

Stud Variants

Razz: This stud variant is exactly the same as 5-card stud which we discussed earlier, in terms of rules and gameplay apart from the fact that the winning player is the one with the worst, rather than the best hand. This is why in the UK; the game is commonly referred to as London Lowball.

Community Variants

Omaha: This variant is very similar to Texas Hold ‘Em with the one key difference being that players are dealt 4 face-down cards at the beginning instead of 2. Players must then make the best 5 card hand using exactly 2 of their 4 face-down cards and 3 of the 5 community dealt cards.

The extra wiggle room that having 4 instead of 2 face-down gives players tends to result in faster-paced and more liberal gameplay than usually seen in Texas Hold ‘Em.

Poker Personalities: Which one are you and what does that say about your preferred variants?

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There are 4 widely accepted personality types in poker, Tight, Loose, Passive and Aggressive, here’s what they all mean:

Tight: Players who are very exacting about their betting habits and need a high probability of success to be persuaded to part with their chips.

Loose:Loose is one of the well-known poker terms that is given to players which are the polar opposite to tight players, tending to bet on anything and everything, usually favouring faster paced games.

Passive: Those who like to sit back and take it all in rather than feeling the need to involve themselves in every hand. These thoughtful types are usually better suited to making psychological plays like bluffs.

Aggressive: The class bully who recognises that having the best hand isn’t the be all and end all when it comes to poker. If you join a table with an aggressive player expect them to use their bankroll to test you resolve at every possible opportunity.

Which variant suits each personality type?

Now you know what the 4 poker personality types are and have worked out which one you fall into, let’s look at each type and their ideal variants.

Tight: Hi-Lo Declare

If you are naturally a tight player, you are more likely to favour games with higher probabilities of success. Hi-Lo is ideal as it doubles player’s chances of winning money. It’s also a game that comes with a lower level of competitive risk as opponent’s motives are split.

Loose: Omaha

This variant is the fastest paced community variant and one of the more frantic poker variants in general. Games are usually quick and frenetic with pots rising and falling dramatically, which makes it perfect for loose players.

Passive: Texas Hold ‘Em

The small and big blinds in Texas Hold ‘Em mean that players don’t get a free pass to fold every hand, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a variant that punishes the more passive type of players. In fact, the psychological element of the game is ideally suited to passive players who prefer to observe the action from a distance before involving themselves.

Aggressive: 7-Card Stud

According to many, this is one of the hardest poker variants to master as the probabilities involved are particularly hard to predict. Which is why it is the perfect game for aggressive players who thrive by preying on their opponent’s hesitancy.

If you have a healthy bankroll behind you, then you can certainly bully other 7-Card Stud players into submission.

Now you know a little bit more about the range of poker variants on offer and the 4 main poker personality types which variant will you choose? Let us know in the comments section below.

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