5 Cool Poker Variants
Poker players have been showing some creativity as of late with regards to creating fun and interesting poker variants. It has gotten to the point where even recreational players are beginning to become slightly burnt-out with no-limit hold'em, so there's quite a bit of demand out there for new poker variants to get people excited about the game again. Here are just a few fun variants that are gaining some momentum in the brick-and-mortar cardrooms of Vegas. None of these can be played online yet, but it wouldn't be too surprising if some online poker rooms catch wind of the popularity of one or more of these games and add them to their software at some point in the future. However, that's still probably a few years away.
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This game is the crack-cocaine of poker. It is played the same as Omaha only two flops (and two turns, and two rivers) are dealt. The pot is split between the player who has the best hand on each board. It is fairly unusual for a player to scoop the entire pot by having the best hand on both boards, but it can happen. Since this game induces so much action, it is usually played with limit betting. Players almost never fold since usually everyone has some type of hand or draw on at least one of the boards. It is possible to play the same card as your high hand for both boards. For instance, if you have AAxx and there is an Ace on each board, you can play your pocket Aces for a set of Aces on each board. The "double-flop" concept can be applied to hold'em games too, but the Omaha game is a lot more fun in my opinion.
Baduci is a hybrid between Badugi and Deuce to Seven Lowball. As in Deuce to Seven Lowball, players are dealt five cards. Players get three draws in this game ("triple draw") and limit betting rules are used. The pot is split between the player with the best 2-7 lowball hand and the player with the best Badugi. In Badugi, only four cards are used and the best hand is A234 rainbow. Any "rainbow" hand (meaning four cards all of differing suits) is better than any hand with two or more of the same suit. For instance, K872 "rainbow" is a King-low Badugi and would beat any non-rainbow hand. It is possible to scoop the full pot in Baduci, though breaking up a strong Badugi or strong 2-7 hand to try to make a hand with scooping potential is ill-advised.
This game was played at the Rio a lot this summer with $5/$10 blinds and pot-limit betting rules. It is the same as Omaha only you are dealt five cards instead of four. I believe the Rio's version of this game was played as a hi-lo split pot game.
This game can be played as Omaha or hold'em. In either case, the only rule change is that there are three flops dealt and two turns dealt along with one river. Players compile the best hand by choosing which of the three flops and which of the two turns they wish to use. In many cases, it doesn't matter which of the two turn cards they wish to use since it doesn't play with their hand. To reduce variance, this game is commonly played using hi-lo rules. The winning hand is usually very high ranking.
This game might also be referred to as "Four Card Crazy Pineapple". Players are dealt four cards and must discard one card after both the flop and the turn. In a fun twist, a sixth community card is added, known as the "ocean". This game creates a lot of action so it is almost always played with limit betting. Since there is a sixth community card and thus one extra chance to complete a draw, drawing hands on the flop are a lot more powerful than they are in hold'em. Flopping something like top pair with a strong kicker isn't nearly as good in this game as it is in hold'em since an opponent will frequently draw to a flush or straight. This game has the potential to become substantially popular and can sometimes be found at Imperial Palace for low stakes and Aria for larger stakes.