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Online Poker Games
Poker games types, range and variants played online:

Overview

There are different types and variants of poker games that are part of the Poker Game World. Choose the poker game that fits you the best and enjoy playing poker.

An important distinction between different kinds of poker games is the difference between ring games and tournaments. Tournaments are further divided into single-table or multi-table, and into scheduled events or so-called "sit-and-go" events.

Note to new players: It is advisable that players new to online poker start out by playing in a "play-money" (free) ring game just to learn the mechanics of using the poker client software. Once you've warmed up and are comfortable, try moving on to some play money or freeroll tournaments.

The variety of online games you are likely to find

  • Texas Hold 'Em
  • Double Flop Hold 'Em
  • Omaha
  • Omaha Hi-Lo
  • Omaha 8 or Better
  • 7 Card Stud
  • 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo
  • 5 Card Stud
  • Stud 8 or Better
  • One-on-One
  • Big 2 Poker
  • Survivor Guts Poker
  • Pan
  • Chinese Poker
  • Crazy Pineapple
  • Crazy Pineapple Hi-Lo

Type of tournaments

  • Single Table
  • Two Table
  • Multi Table
  • WPT (World Poker Tour) Satellites
  • Freeroll tournaments

Betting limits

  • Fixed Limit
  • Pot Limit
  • No Limit

Ring Poker Game v Tournaments Poker Game

The term ring game is poker lingo for a plain old non-tournament poker game. Another name for this type of game is "live game." A ring game is confined to a single table. In a ring game, any player can sit down at any time, buy chips, play poker and cash out at any time. Players come and go as they please sit out when they need to take a short break. The big distinction between a ring game and a tournament is the ability to stand up and cash out at any time.

In the lobby, the ring games typically are grouped separately from the tournaments. If you see a section named "Holdem" or "Omaha" these are ring games. The tournaments are clearly marked as tournaments. The easiest way to get started is in a play money ring game.

Varieties of poker games differ from one another in how much information about opponents' hands is revealed and when.

The obvious source of information is the up-cards that have been dealt, unless of course you are playing draw Poker. Either too much or too little information about opponents’ hands is likely to lead to infrequently contested pots.

When a lot of information has been revealed, one hand will appear clearly dominant and will thus take only a small pot when the other players fold. This kind of dilemma is often present in stud Poker.

On the other hand, as is the case in Draw Poker, which reveals little information, large contested pots occur only when two players think they have very strong hands. Too little information does however have one advantage: it makes successful bluffing a realistic possibility, and probably explains why Draw Poker was one of the classic games of the old style.

Play Money v Real Money poker game

Most if not all online poker sites have both "play money" (fake money) and "real money" games. Anybody can sign up to play in the play money games. You start out with a certain number of chips that you can use in the games. If you run out, you just ask for more, though most sites limit how often you can get more play money chips. Real money games require that you deposit real money with the site first.

Even if you know you're interested in playing for real money, it's smart to learn the ropes with a little practice in play money poker games. The thing to keep in mind about them is that real money doesn't necessarily mean high stakes. Some of the most popular online poker games are played at the nickel and dime level, or with $1 to $5 tournament buy-ins.

The Poker Games

Draw Poker

There are two central features of the draw poker game. The first is that a complete hand is dealt face down at the beginning of the game to each player. The second is one or more rounds of exchanging cards (called the draw) from your hand with new ones dealt from the deck. There is a round of betting after the initial deal and after each round of exchanges.

Stud Poker

With this style of poker game, the initial deal comprises of cards both face-down and face-up in an incomplete hand. The hands are completed by dealing a single card in each round which can be face-up or down depending on the particular game. After each round of dealing betting takes place.

Community Poker Games (Examples: Texas Holdem, Omaha)

Probably starting about the time of World War II, many modern online poker games used community cards (also called "shared cards" or "widow cards"), which are cards dealt face up to the center of the table and shared by all players. In these games, each player is dealt privately an incomplete hand ("hole cards" or "pocket cards"), which is then combined with the community cards to make a complete hand. The set of community cards of the online poker games is called the "board" or the "widow", and may be dealt in a simple line or arranged in a special pattern; rules of each game determine how they may be combined with each player's private hand.

Community online poker games involve a certain number of cards dealt face-down to each player, as well as a certain number of cards laid out in the center of the table (example: Texas Hold'em Poker, Omaha Poker). These cards are flipped over as the game progresses, with betting rounds in between the flipping of cards. Players put together their best five card hand by combining some or all of the cards dealt to them with some of the community cards that have been dealt in the center of the table.

The purpose of these community cards is that they are "shared" amongst the players. Two players, for example, may make use of the same community cards in order to complete their hands. The one big difference between one Community game and the next is the format in which community cards are laid out on the table. The more common Community online poker games involve the community cards being laid out in a line, a cross, or a circle, although the variations are endless.

As cards are flipped over either one at a time or several at a time, it is normally at the dealer's discretion which cards get flipped, as he or she is the one doing the flipping.

Community Poker Game Formats

The Line

The line format of community cards is more common in the Texas Hold'em poker game online, played by big-shot casino and big money tournament-goers. It simply involves a line of cards flipped either one at a time or a few at a time and used in conjunction with the cards dealt to a player to make the best five card hand. Another common line game is Cinncinati, which involves no more than 3 cards dealt to each player and a line of 4 cards in the center of the table, flipped one at a time. Players use these seven cards to make their best five card hand (more of a beginner's game).

The Cross

The cross format of community cards involves rows of cards that intersect at some point, the most popular being Iron Cross. This typically involves a card that acts as the cross-point between rows of cards, this card being part of each row.

There is normally a stipulation regarding that one card. It can be wild. Or, as some play, the player who is dealt the highest card of the same suit as the cross-point card wins half the pot. In other words, if the cross-point card is the Two of Hearts, then the player who is dealt the highest Heart gets half the pot, the other half going to the player with the best hand at the table.

For this reason, it is normally good form that the dealer flip that center card last. If it is wild or if the highest of its suit gets half the pot, the game is far more exciting when it is the last card flipped.

The Circle

The circle format is not as common. It involves a loop of cards, again either flipped over one at a time or several at a time by the dealer. The stipulation, as in Merry Go Round, is normally that cards in the loop used by players must be adjacent to each other. That is, if a player uses three cards from the circle of cards in conjunction with his hand, those three cards must be side-by-side on the circle.

Community Poker Betting

The prominent feature of Community games are the rounds of betting that ensue the flipping of each card. At most small stakes tables, the general rule is that for every card flipped face-up by the dealer, there is a round of betting. One way that betting rounds can work is with the player to the left of the dealer, called the 'sucker', opening each of these betting rounds, as there are no cards showing a la Stud games.

However, with poker card games like H-Bomb that involve a lot of betting rounds, another way is to have the opening of the betting round shift around the table in clockwise order for each card flipped. In other words, the first betting round is opened by the player to the dealer's left... the second betting round, opened by the player sitting 2 seats to the left of the dealer, the third round, by the player 3 seats to the left of the dealer, etc. The latter method is preferable, as it does not put the pressure on one player to open each of several betting rounds.

High / Low

A lot of players enjoy adding the element of High/Low or Hi-Lo to a Community game. As in Stud poker card games, High/Low involves the pot being split in two at the end of the game, half of it going to the player with the best hand, the other half going to the player with the worst hand. This feature keeps more players in the game longer, although the pot does get split in half.

Roll 'Em

The dealer may also decide to add more betting rounds to the game by requiring players to "roll" their cards in the hole. After all of the community cards have been flipped and on the dealer's count of three, each player flips over a face-down card of their choice. Best card showing opens a betting round, after which each player flips over a second card. A betting round is again opened by the best hand showing. This continues until each player only has one card remaining face-down. Final betting round, and then showdown.

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Related links - General rules and how to play

Texas Hold'em poker

Omaha poker

Seven-Card Stud poker

Caribbean Stud poker

Draw poker

Chinese poker

Poker rules

Poker glossary

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