Poker is one of the first card games ever to be linked with the appearance of commercial gambling and most of its popularity is owed to the unique combination of chance, strategic planning and tactical skills that the player possesses. The different variations of poker are determined by the number of the cards dealt to the player, community cards, hidden cards and finally the betting procedures. In itself, poker is not difficult to learn, but it is perceived as extremely difficult to master.

The onset of online gambling introduced poker to an even wider gambling audience, re-establishing it as one of the most popular forms of social activity. Depending on the variation, one can enjoy a game of poker within a large group of people or engage in a one-on-one round against the dealer only. The advanced settings and user friendly interface in online variants of poker help with preserving the social character of the game, which, contrary to some predictions was not killed by its online counterpart.

The majority of the poker variants originates from the early years of 20th century. As far as the structure of the game is concerned, it pretty much remains the same, with the main differences coming from assigned hand values, number of rounds and in-between round dealer-player actions. Three of the most popular Poker variants are Draw Poker, Stud Poker and Community Card Poker with Texas Hold’em probably being the best known derivate.

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Most Common Differences

Most of us are already familiar with the basics of poker, however, browsing through the online casino offer is likely to expose you to a few variants you may not have encountered before. Vast number of software providers will include the rules and payout table under the Help section, but in order to differentiate between the styles, some general knowledge is required.

  • Lowball –  rule found in Razz and 2 -7 Triple Draw Poker variants, where pot will be won by whoever has the lowest hand. Aces can be regarded as either high or low. Some variants allow for the pot to be split between the lowest and the highest hand (High Low Split)
  • 3, 2, 1 Left – Certain variants, such as Anaconda, have a system where the players can exchange their cards
  • Kill Game – Omaha and some Lowball poker games introduce the Kill Game rule, where the stakes are doubled when the player wins two consecutive pots.
  • Stripped Deck can be viewed as returning to Poker roots, when the game was played with 20 cards only. In all other aspects, stripped deck game is pretty similar to Hold’em
  • Wild Cards – often present in Stud variants, where the players can agree on a card that will act as a replacement.
  • Twist Round  – an advantage of buying an extra card for your hand
  • Royal Deck – a combination of two decks is used, but only consisting of 9 to A or 8 to A cards from both
  • Double Flip occurs when one of the remaining heads-up players is all-in. At that point, the players who are out of the game are re-instated with the chance of splitting the pot.
  • Roll Your Own – another rule characteristic for stud games is permitting the player to choose which of the cards will be exposed to other players.

Even with the number of available styles online, Texas and Casino Hold’em remain the top two Poker games, with probably the highest number of online hits and active players. The choice between the two if often determined by the player’s preferences and while the player is competing against other participants in Texas Hold’em, Casino Hold’em is a duel between the player and the house, represented by the dealer.

Fortunately, Live tables have not obsoleted Video Poker, which is still as popular as when it first entered casinos in the seventies. Video Poker is particularly appealing to more private and profit-oriented players as it offers high payouts, low edge, cashbacks and free rounds, pushing the RTP to the player’s advantage.