Five Different Ways to Play Poker Five Different Ways to Play Poker

Poker is recognized as a great game all around the world, and as the popularity of the game has grown, so has the number of ways the game can be played.

Sure, there are many different types of poker. Even though Texas Hold’em is currently the most popular form of poker, other variants such as Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO), Seven Card Stud, and Five Card Draw have also garnered plenty of attention over the years, with some of the games experiencing a renaissance period as mixed game rotations such as HORSE have gained popularity.

But as more and more people have been drawn to the game of poker, creative ways of playing have emerged both in terms of format and gameplay.

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1. Lottery Sit-and-Gos

In what has grown to be one of the most popular formats of poker, short-handed sit-and-go tournaments that have a variable prize pool, commonly referred to as lottery sit-and-gos (LSNGs), have emerged as the preferred format for many players engaging in online poker in the US and worldwide today.

Their short playing time and potential to win big prizes (sometimes as much as 10,000 times the amount of the buy-in) are key features that have contributed to the explosion in popularity of the poker format since it was first introduced by French online poker giant Winamax in 2013. Since then, every major online poker room has created its own version of the lottery sit-and-go.

2. Fast-Fold Poker

Fast-fold poker is another format that capitalizes on players’ desires to have their poker served up at lightning-fast speeds. This format utilizes a pool of players seated at multiple tables where players are shifted to a new table each time they fold their hands (or after a showdown).

The high-speed poker format gained popularity as Rush Poker on Full Tilt, but it is now a staple on most online poker sites, many of which have their own version of the game. In Southern Europe, Winamax has its famed Expressos, while in the US, PokerStars has ZOOM, and BetMGM Poker has FastForward, which also features randomized cash drops at its Hot Tables. In fact, fast-fold poker has become so popular that it threatens to overtake traditional poker ring games as the standard mode of playing online.

3. Chinese Poker

With its most significant similarity to traditional poker being that it uses the same hand rankings, Chinese Poker has some big differences which have caused some to deny that the game is actually even “real” poker.

For one, there are no betting rounds in Chinese Poker. The game can still be used to gamble for real money, but instead of traditional betting during the game, points are tallied after each hand, with a predetermined amount per point going to the eventual winner. This format of keeping score also means there is no bluffing in the game, a component of poker that has become one of the most well-known.

In Chinese Poker, players are dealt 13 cards from which they form a three-card hand and two five-card hands, with each hand required to be of higher rank than the previous one. That gives you the jist of how this poker variant works, but make sure you check out more detailed rules on Chinese Poker before you start playing the game.

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4. Badugi

Badugi is another game that differs from traditional poker games. It is a draw game that is most similar to low-ball poker, where the lowest ranking hand wins, but in Badugi, Aces are low.

Badugi has been rising in popularity in recent years, becoming more common in both the live and online poker worlds. A sign of its shift to the mainstream — the 2023 World Series of Poker featured its first-ever Badugi bracelet event.

Players have three drawing rounds in which to make the lowest hand without duplicate suits. Each player gets four cards, but a Badugi hand can consist of anywhere from 1 – 4 cards. A detailed explanation of the rules can be found here.

5. Hybrid Poker

Perhaps the most divergent poker game type is a game that combines poker with popular esports features such as those found in games like Hearthstone and League of Legends.

These poker games, such as Hands of Victory, introduce special play cards that change the normal course of the game. Some examples include changing the flop, peaking at their opponents’ cards, and changing the suit of a specific card. Hybrid poker games are played on the internet as social games and for real money.