Poker is much more than a simple gambling game. Based on many pieces of research, people who play Poker tend to be more patient, focused, disciplined, and have better emotional control. Therefore, besides bringing tons of amusement, it also leads to many positive life skills.
If you’ve ever played any Poker game, and felt like you sucked at it, it’s not your fault! Perhaps you just didn’t find the right one to play. Considering that, we put all our skills into making a list of the best poker card games. Besides characteristics that make each game unique, we’ll also explain all the instructions meticulously.
Let us give you the first idea about this article:
- A tiny dictionary of Poker terms;
- Poker Games:
- 2-7 Triple Draw;
- Texas Hold ‘em;
- Iron Cross;
- The Queen;
- Pregnant 3’s;
- OFC Poker;
- Crazy Pineapple;
- The Good, The Bad, The Ugly;
- 7-Card Stud;
- Position Poker;
- Jacks Or Better;
- 2 and 22;
- Russian Poker;
- Hand rankings;
- A windup of this article!
A Tiny Dictionary Of Poker Terms
Before playing any Poker game, here are the most common terms you should know:
Ante is a bet, specifically, a forced bet. It requires all players to put a specific amount of money into the pot (explained in the following) before the deal starts.
Act, in other words, play. This is where players decide what card to play out of their hand.
Burn means playing the top card of the deck and discarding it, so that card gets burned.
Call. You may call in Poker every time you match the raise or the bet. We recommend you call when action is on you, so you don’t give extra information to your opponent.
Dealer. As mentioned before, the dealer is the player who deals with the cards for the purpose of the game.
Face-up, specifically, face-up cards, are cards that are seen by all the players. So, their suit, number, or whatever is turned up.
Face-down is obviously the opposite of face-up. Now, the player can see only the back of the cards.
Flush. You create a flush only if you have 5 cards in your hand of the same suit. The sequence doesn’t matter. Here’s an example of a flush: Q♠ 9♠ 6♠ 8♠ A♠
Fold means ending participation, or is no longer involved in a hand. You can no longer enjoy the hand.
Hole Cards are cards that can only be viewed by the player they belong to. These private cards, hole cards, are dealt face-down.
Hand is simply the cards held by each player, the cards they’ll use to act.
Kicker often found as a side card is a card that doesn’t take part in determining a hand’s rank, but can only be used to break ties between same rank hands. Lots of times it helps decide the winner, in case they’re tied with the same rank.
Muck is in simple words the discard pile. It is the place to put the burned cards or throw the folded hands. When you muck, your hand is mucked!
Nuts is an expression you use when you think you have the best possible hand. You may say: “Oh man, guess who has got the nuts!”
Pair in most Poker games means a hand of 2 cards of the same rank.
Pot is the central fund or the sum of all the player’s money wagered during a game.
Quads. You have a quad anytime you have 4 cards of a kind, of the same suit.
Set is created when you have 3 cards of a kind, using 2 of your hole cards, and 1 card out of the board.
Standing pat happens when a player decides to keep their hand intact, so they don’t discard any of their cards.
The suit is the common name for the shapes in each card, such as clubs (♣), spades (♠), hearts(♥), and diamonds (♦).
A showdown happens when 2 or more players compare their hands to determine who the winner of the game is.
1. 2-7 Triple Draw
Players: Up to 6;
How do you play ‘2-7 Triple Draw’?
This game is often found as Deuce to Seven Triple Draw. Each player is dealt 5 hole cards. The nuts of the game are cards including 2, 3, 4, 5, 7. On the other hand, there are also bad hands. We may mention here 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. These were just two of the hand rankings. Also, Ace is high. Now, for a game, you have 4 rounds of play, and 3 draws. In each round, you have to bet and discard as many cards as you want, up to 5, into the muck.
The dealer then draws other cards to replace the discarded ones. The first 2 rounds have smaller bets, while in the last 2 comes a big bet. When there are only 2 players left in the game, there starts the showdown. The winner of the game is determined based on each player’s hand rank.
Video explaining the game: How To Play 2-7 Triple Draw;
Play it online: Triple Draw 2-7 PokerStars;
How do you play ’Badugi’?
First, the dealer deals 4 cards face-down to each player. After dealing with the cards, each player starts betting. When the betting round ends, then starts the first drawing round. Players, taking turns, tell how many cards they want to discard, and they get the same amount in exchange. They may also keep a standing pat. The best hand in this game is Ace to 4 (Four-Card 4). So, the best hands are made out of the lowest cards, 4 cards total. Aces are low.
Once all of you have played and drawn cards, the new betting round starts. This continues until only one player is left, or the players have completed their third betting round. The player with the strongest Badugi wins.
Video explaining the game: Introduction to Badugi in 10 Minutes;
Play it online: Badugi at Poker Stars
3. Texas Hold ‘em
How do you play ‘Texas Hold ‘em’?
A very famous game, huh? Deal 2 face-down cards to all the players. After the cards are dealt, each of you should either check, fold or bet. After you bet, you should burn the top card of the remaining deck, and place it face-down in front of you. Next, create the flop, a.k.a. place 3 other cards (from that deck) face-up in the center of the table.
When it’s your time for you to bet again, you burn another card, and you deal another card in the flop, which we’ll call the turn. It continues this way, until you burn for the third time, deal the fifth card, called the river. The others may continue the rounds one more time, and then reveal all of their face-down cards, to see who wins the pot.
Video explaining the game: How to Play Poker – Texas Hold ‘em Rules Made Easy;
Play it online: Texas Hold ’em at Zynga Poker
4. Iron Cross
How do you play ‘Iron Cross’?
One of you becomes the dealer, randomly. They deal 5 cards, face-down, to all the players. The dealer also places 5 cards in a cross layout, such as the photo we showed above. The cards’ ranking goes from Ace, which is high, to 2, the low one. Similar to other Poker games, there will also be rounds of betting.
You reveal cards one by one, starting from 1. It continues until you reveal the fifth card. The fifth card is the final one. This is when players could use dealt cards, or cards from the cross, but only horizontal lines or vertical. After all, hands get revealed, everyone counts their hand rank, and this is how the winner is decided!
Video explaining the game: How To Play The Poker Game “Iron Cross”;
5. The Queen
How do you play ‘The Queen’?
If you find it with another name, such as Follow The Queen, don’t get confused, it’s the same! First, deal 3 cards to each player. The first one is face-down, while the last one is face-up. Everyone starts betting. Once all bets are in, the new round, and new cards, start. Players are allowed to take a look at their cards, so they’ll know how much to bet.
The rounds and dealing news cards continue until you all have a total of 6 cards, 4 face-up and 2 face-down. It’s up to you to decide whether you want your last card (the seventh) to be dealt face-up or down. Y’all reveal the cards and see who has the best hand. Queens are wild cards, meaning they may represent any card you want. Also, the card following the queen is also wild. Cool, huh?
Video explaining the game: How to Play Follow the Queen Poker
How do you play ‘Baseball’?
Let’s play baseball without a ball, fellas! Foremost, deal each player 2 cards, one face-up, and the other a hole card. On betting rounds, each player gets one extra face-up card, until everyone at the table has 1 hole card and 4 face-up cards. There are some specials on this game: 3s and 9s are wild, when a 4 is dealt face-up, the dealer deals one more hole card to the recipient, the player who gets a face-up 3, must match the pot, otherwise, they drop.
The highest hand is five of a kind, containing at least 1 wild card. For example, four Queens and a 9. On the other hand, the lowest hand, which, unfortunately, is worth almost nothing, is a hand of no pairs. The players in the showdown reveal their hole cards, and compare who has the best 5 card hand!
Video explaining the game: How To Play Baseball Poker;
7. Pregnant 3’s
How do you play ‘Pregnant 3’s’?
Before beginning, you should know that there are 12 wild cards: all 3s, 6s, and 9s. Each player antes and gets 5 face-down cards. Every draw round depends on rules called out before the other players who are receiving specific cards. After every draw, there comes a betting round. So, depending on the draw and mandatory, each player should discard a specific amount of cards.
Of course, all cards get replaced by the dealer. He/she gives new cards to the players every time they put cards into the muck. After new cards are dealt with, there starts a new betting round. The game continues until all the draws are complete and the final betting round starts. The player with the best 5 cards hand wins, as you already understood!
8. OFC Poker
How do you play ‘OFC Poker’?
OFC stands for Open-Face Chinese, not for ‘of course’! Guess what? This time is no betting in the game, you only fight for points! You all take turns drawing cards from a common deck until you all have arranged 13 cards in front of you. This arrangement is made of three rows, the top, the middle, and the bottom. You’ll have to compare them with your opponents’. On the first turn, you get 5 face-down cards, and you start arranging them. On the other turns, you take 1 card at a time.
You place the cards in the row you think will make a good hand. Remember: you can’t move the cards between rows. The basics of scoring the points work as in other Poker games, but there are also bonuses, for example, a three of a kind in the middle, gets you 2 extra points! A royal flush ( a combination of ace, king, queen, jack, 10) in the middle hand also, gives you … 50 points!
Video explaining the game: How To Play Open Face Chinese Poker;
Play it online: OFC Poker at GameDesire
How do you play ‘Anaconda’?
If you’re the dealer, this time deal 7 hole cards to all of you. The game starts with each player passing 3 cards to the player on their left. The first betting round starts after the first pass. On the second pass, each player passes 2 cards. On the third pass, you all pass only 1 card to your left. This is where the second betting round happens.
The final betting round is the third one, as you may assume. After this final round, you should make out the best possible 5 cards hand, out of the 7 cards in your hand, and start the showdown. The best hand of cards wins. Once more, the best 5-card combo is the quads, and a wild card (jokers), of course, or the flush. The worst one is again the no pair…
Video explaining the game: Dealer’s Choice How To Play ANACONDA Poker Game;
10. Crazy Pineapple
How do you play ‘Crazy Pineapple’?
It’s a crazy pineapple, how do you play that? Let’s start with dealing 3 cards to each player. After the flop, before betting, you all select one of your 3 cards to muck. This is where the dealer burns the top card. There comes the turn, the third betting round, where the dealer burns the other top card, to add it to the community. The last round is the river, which means burning another card and adding it to the board.
Whenever the action is over, the showdown starts. The players may either fold or show their hands. The best combination of 5 cards wins! As I bet you understood, Crazy Pineapple is pretty similar to Texas Hold ‘em, with one main difference: you are dealt 3 hole cards instead of 2!
Video explaining the game: How To Play Crazy Pineapple Online
How do you play ‘Omaha’?
The amazing dealer deals 4 hole cards to each player. Here starts the pre-flop. This is when the players may fold, call or raise. Next, start the flop, bet again, and burn 3 top cards. After the flop, let’s deal with the turn, where you raise the minimum bet. Before betting, the dealer burns one more card and adds it to the community deck.
The last round is the river, where you add the final card to the community deck.
As in the previously mentioned games, the higher the hand, the better. This time, to make a hand for the showdown, you should use at least 2 of your hole cards, and 3 cards from the community. For example, if the board has K, Q, A, 6, 5 and you have 7, 9, J, 8, 2, you may create a straight flush: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (if it’s the same suit, baby)!
Video explaining the game: How to Play Omaha Poker for Beginners;
Play it online: Omaha at PokerStars
How do you play ‘Cincinnati’?
Let’s take a ride to Cincinnati! After each player antes, they get 4 cards, face-down. There should be extra face-down cards to the middle of the table, making the community cards. Taking turns, starting from the player on the dealer’s left, should either raise, call or fold. When someone raises the pot, the following player must meet the raise, otherwise, fold. After the first betting round, the first community card gets flipped up.
The game continues until all the community cards have been turned face-up. This is where the showdown occurs. The players remaining in the game should match cards from their hand and the community deck, in order to make the highest possible hand. Do I need to repeat it? The player with the highest hand wins the whole game! The Royal or the Straight Flush is once again the best combination!
Video explaining the game: How To Play Cincinnati Poker;
Play it online at: Cincinnati at PokerAtlas;
13. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
How do you play ‘The Good, The Bad, The Ugly’?
Start the game by all of you making an ante, and let the first betting round begin. All of you get 2 hole cards, and there should be 3 extra cards placed in the community deck. After this round, the player turns up the first card on the community deck, named ‘The Good’. This determines which is the wild card of the round. Next, the dealer deals another card to each player, this time face up.
This follows with turning over the second card of the deck in the middle of the table. This card is what we call ‘The Bad’, because each player holding the same card, must place it into the muck. Then, the dealer deals one more face-up card to y’all, and turns the last community, ‘The Ugly’, over. This card is honestly ugly because if you have it, you should fold… A final card is dealt, the player now may expose their hands, and compare who’s the highest.
Video explaining the game: How To Play The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly;
14. 7-Card Stud
How do you play ‘7-Card Stud’?
The name isn’t that common, is it? Let’s dive into this poker card game: choose the dealer of this game. He/she deals 2 hole cards and one face-up card (the door card) to all the players. This is when the first betting round starts. This round is followed by 3 more face-up cards and 1 more hole card. Next, you’ll continue with the second and third betting round, and each time you get one more face-up card.
When the last betting round (the fourth) starts, you get your final card, this time face-down, the River. As you already calculated, now you have a total of 7 cards. When the showdown occurs, you choose 5 of your 7 cards, to make your competing hand. The highest rank, guess what? Wins!
Video explaining the game: How To Play 7 Card Stud;
Play it online: Seven Card Stud at CardzMania;
15. Position Poker
Players: Up to 7;
How do you play ‘Position Poker’?
Well yes, this game has something in common with Crazy Eights. Now concentrate and try to remember what we told you about 7 card studs. The steps go all the same, except for the last card, the dealer asks you if you want it to be face-up or down. When this card is dealt, there follows the last betting round and the showdown.
The specialty of this game is that 8s are wild. So, every player that gets an 8, they’ve got a wild card. That’s not all! There are more wild cards, based on the player’s positions. For example, the first player on the dealers’ left has Aces as wild, the second has 2’s, the third has 3’s, and so on. Based on their suit, these wild cards tell the designated players what to do, such as winning half the pot, no matter their hand rank, or mucking their hand.
16. Jacks Or Better
How do you play ‘Jacks Or Better’?
We haven’t mentioned Jacks in a while, have we? You already know that to begin, you all should make an ante. Then, the dealer deals 5 hole cards to every player. In the first round, only players who have a pair of Jacks may open the round. In case no one owns them, all of you muck your cards, the dealer deals 5 new cards. On the second round, after you ante, you’ll need a pair of Queens or better to start the round. If the same happens again, you ante, continue with Kings or better, Aces or better, and once again, Jacks or better.
Once any of you meets these requirements, you may open the game. Players who remain in the hand may draw as many cards as they want, up to five, until the final betting round starts, followed by the showdown. The players on the showdown compare hands, and whoever has the higher ranks, wins, wins, wins!
Play it online: Jacks Or Better at VegassLotsOnline;
Get the app: For IOS and for Android;
How do you play ‘Vanunu’?
It’s all getting easier understanding these games, huh? Let the dealer deal 7 face-down cards to all the players. Next, every player flips over one card of their hand and starts betting. They may bet either for the highest hand, lowest or even both. This repeats until each player has exposed 5 of their cards, leaving them with 2 hole cards left. This is when the player may start exchanging one of their cards with another, but of course, paying the specific sum.
Once y’all are sure about all your cards, you may place your bets. It’s up to you to go for the high side of the pot, the low one, or if you’re brave enough, go for the whole pot… We recommend you place the bets at the same time. Just saying! This is how it continues, dude. No hard feelings, just some fun!
18. 2 Or 22
How do you play ‘2 or 22’?
The name doesn’t tell much, does it? Dealer, it’s your time to shine! Deal 1 card face-down, and then 1 card face-up to all the people at the table. After this process of dealing with the cards ends, the first betting round starts. Once you finish betting, here starts the first cards’ round. This is where the dealer tells which card can be drawn by the other players, in case they want to. Remember: you can only take one card at a time!
Continuing further, you repeat this process until none of the players elect to take a specific card, and the dealer announces the last call for cards. The players have the chance to take the final card. If they don’t need that card, the dealer announces the last betting round, and the cards get revealed. The goal of this game is to get as close to 2 or 22, hence the name of the game, to be able to split the pot.
Video explaining the game: Poker Alternative – How to Play “2 or 22” – The Card Game;
How do you play ‘Guts’?
C’mon now people, trust your gut! Let the dealer deal 2 face-down cards to all the players, one at a time. The first round, and the other rounds as well, start with an ante. Next, starting from the dealer’s left, each person announces if they’re in or out. In case they stay out, they may not win the pot, but do not lose extra chips or money. On the other hand, if 2 or more players stay in, all of them in this ‘group’, should reveal their cards.
As always, the player with the best hand rank wins the pot. Similar to other Poker games we just mentioned, Aces are high. Since there are only 2 cards, pairs of equal cards beat the unequal ones, the hand with the highest hand wins, a higher pair beats a lower pair, and so on. Considering the fact you can’t see your cards, all you gotta do is trust your intuition, and stay in, or go out!
Video explaining the game: How To Play Guts
20. Russian Poker
Players: Up to 6;
How do you play ‘Russian Poker’?
Let’s dive into another extra famous Poker game. Russian Poker starts with the dealer dealing 5 cards to all the players, of course, after making their antes. All the players should decide if they want to bet that their hand is higher/better than the dealer. If it turns out that their hand is weaker, they must fold. If the dealer has a good hand, they should qualify. Otherwise, all bets are off.
If the players’ hands are worse, they lose the bet. Counting all this information, to make the dealer qualify, you might increase the stake, exchange the cards, or even buy a 6th card. Most of the time, the dealer qualifies with an Ace-King, or something better. Always use your strategy, and dedicate all your concentration, in case you want to win!
Video explaining the game: Olympic Casino: Russian Poker;
Play it online: Russian Poker at CasinoGuru
Top 10 Poker Card Games Hand Rankings
I bet you all understood that in each Poker card game we mentioned, and in all other games actually, hand ranking is what determines the winner of the game. In order to not mention each ranking in each game -we assume that could get boring, here’s a list of most common rankings, starting from the strongest to the weakest:
Royal Flush is a combination of Ace, Jack, Queen, King, and 10 of any suit;
Straight Flush is a hand that contains 5 cards of the same suit, going on a sequential rank. For example 6 ♠ 7♠ 8♠ 9♠ 10♠;
Four of a kind, as the name tells, is a combination of 4 cards of one rank, and one card of any other rank. Let’s say 5♥, 5♣, 5♠, 5♦, 10♣. This is also known as quads.
A full house is created by 3 cards of the same rank, and 2 cards of another rank, different suits, such as 4♠, 4♥, 4♦, Q♦, Q♠;
Flush is a simple-made hand, which consists of 5 cards of the same suit, different ranks, and not at all sequence-important. A good example is 1♦, 4♦, 2♦, J♦, 10♦.
Straight is a combination made by 5 cards of a different suit, but differently from a flush, this time the cards should be in sequential rank. 3♠, 4♥, 5♣, 6♠, 7♦ is a straight hand.
Three of a kind is a hand made of 3 same-rank cards, and 2 other cards, unrelated to one another. Let’s say you’re making 6♣, 6♥, 6♦, J♥, 3♣.
Two pairs, as you assumed by the name, are a combination made by 2 pairs, and an extra card, not of the same rank. An example would be 2♥, 2♦, K♣, K♥, 5♣.
Pair, similar to the previous one mentioned, pair is a hand made of a pair of cards, and 3 other unrelated cards, such as 8♦, 8♣, 10♣, 2♥, 5♦.
High card, unfortunately, the lowest poker hand, is made of 5 different cards, which have no pair, no straight, or no sequential rank. A high card hand is 1♣, 2♣, 5♥, 8♦, 6♣.
A Wind-Up Of This Article: Are These Games Worth It?
Undoubtedly, yes! Besides that these games bring infinite fun when played in casinos, they work incredibly well even if you play it at your house, with your lovely people!
We do not exclude the other Poker games we didn’t mention, in any way, but we tried our best to select the most unique game. This is why, games that were pretty similar with each other, we just mentioned the, you know, ‘the first of the tribe’!
For the best experiences, make sure you read the instructions we wrote carefully about you. If you think you need more information, in almost all our games we added links where you could watch how to play these Poker games.
Also, it’s very cool we found online sites where you could play a considerable number of card games, and thought why not share them with you!
Ah, life, like Poker, has an element of risk!