Rare Poker Variants You Can Find Online – If You Really Dig Deep…


Although Poker appeared centuries after Blackjack and Baccarat, the number of variants derived from this game has so far been unparalleled by any other skill and strategy card game. With the expansion of gambling to the online realms, Poker followed, quickly becoming an indispensable part of online gaming. Nowadays, Poker variants such as Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hold’em, 7-Card Stud Poker, Tequila Poker, etc, can be found in a number of online casinos and they are often available in both free play and real cash mode. However, this is only scratching the surface; most online casinos only stick to the popular versions of the game known by the majority of players, but if you really start rummaging through the cyberspace, some of the less common Poker variants will start popping up…

Before we get to the less known forms of Poker, a brief summary of Poker rules and the betting process might be in order – just in case you are still on a beginner’s level and need to brush up on the knowledge.

Online Poker is usually played against the house (represented by the dealer). The players start the session by submitting the Ante bet. The Dealer will then deal two cards for the house and two for the player, thus starting the first stage of betting in which the player must decide between folding the hand (and losing the Ante) or calling. The latter option actually means doubling the Ante; if you decide to call, three more cards will be dealt (Flop) and you will now be able to combine your hand with the community cards.

The next stage is where you can Check or Bet – proceed with the same betting amount or submit a new bet and wait for the Dealer to draw the Turn card. The betting rounds end when the last community card (the River) is drawn from the shoe, which concludes the Poker session and settles the bets according to the Poker hand ranking table:

  • High Card – the highest card in the hand, played when no other combinations are possible
  • Pair / Two Pair – two cards of the same rank or two sets of cards of the same rank
  • 3 of a Kind – any three cards of the same denomination
  • Straight – 5 non-suited cards in a sequence
  • Flush – 5 suited cards
  • Full House – 3 cards of the same rank + pair. Full House can come in a lot of combinations with different probabilities 
  • 4 of a Kind – 4 cards of the same rank
  • Straight Flush – 5 cards in a sequence, all in the same suit
  • Royal Flush – poker players’ dream! 5 suited cards but not just in any order –  the hand has to contain the following cards: A, K, Q, J, and 10. 

With the rules covered, we can finally proceed to the less common versions of poker, found beyond the first page of the search results…

Abyssinia

This variant is actually derived from the 5-Card Stud and is extremely rare online, which we hope will change in the near future. 

To complete their hands, the players will have to buy the cards that are divided into categories listed below, each with a different price:

  • 2 – 5 Cards
  • 6 – K
  • Aces

The players can select either the known or the unknown cards, and the betting rounds will begin when all the players complete the purchase. The round ends with the showdown and the pot is shared by those with the lowest and the highest ranking hands.

Pineapple

Very similar to Texas Hold’em, Pineapple is another variant that you will not just randomly come across in an online casino. You will have to search for it. Even now, when pretty much every card game can be found on the internet, Pineapple remains a private game that has never found its way to the World Series. When you do find it, it will usually be in a form of Crazy Pineapple and Lazy Pineapple.

In Pineapple, the pre-flop stage starts with 3 cards being dealt instead of 2. The players will then analyse the cards and eliminate one from the hand, before submitting the first bet.

The order in which the card is discarded is slightly different in Crazy Pineapple and the player will only get rid of a certain card prior to Turn card being dealt. Finally, in Lazy Pineapple (aka Tahoe Pineapple), the card is eliminated when the last community card is dealt (River).

Big O

Have you every played Omaha? If the answer is yes, you will be quite at home with Big O. The only difference between the two is that the players will get 5 instead of 4 hole cards in the pre-flop stage. This also means that the number of players cannot exceed 9 and the card cannot be burnt before the River is dealt. If the game is played with 8 hands or less, a card is burnt prior to each new board deal.

The extra card in Big O doubles the number of possible combinations with 2 cards (6-10), which means that the odds of forming a favourable hand are increased.

Padooki

If you are not able to find it under this name, try Badugi, Badougi, or Paduki. All of these names stand for the same variant, which is essentially similar to the Triple Draw Poker. In Badugi, the player’s hand will contain 4 cards and 0-4 cards can be traded during the three betting rounds. The objective is to form the best Padooki hand and claim the pot.

Mexican Poker

Mexican Poker is played with a 41-card deck, with removed 8s, 9s, and 10s. The Joker is kept and each of the players will receive 5 cards (in total), one facing down. This card is exposed at the end of all betting rounds. When facing down, the Joker is the Wildcard, otherwise, it will only be accepted as “Wild” with Flushes, Aces, and Straights.  

Chinese Poker

Relying on the standard poker hand ranking system, Chinese Poker is a great place to start when learning how to play. The game is played with 52 cards and the player will receive 13 cards, which are then divided into 3 separate hands:

  • Middle (5 cards)
  • Back (5 cards and the highest ranking combination)
  • Front (3 cards and the lowest ranking combination)

Three Flushes or three Straights win the hand by default.

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