Poker Game Variants


Many people who play home poker games like to play games other than the commonly played Hold 'Em, Stud, and Omaha. These games are usually played exclusively at home games and are played more for fun than for money.

Popular Rules Changes

  • High/low split: Games where the pot is split between the highest and lowest hand. Sometimes there is a qualifier for the low hand where you need to have a certain rank or less.

  • Lowball: Where the lowest hand wins the pot.

  • Wild cards: Where certain cards can change to any value that a player chooses.

  • Kill games: Games where the stakes double if a certain criteria is met. Many times the criteria is that if a player wins 2 hands in a row. Another popular rule is if the pot reaches a certain dollar amount.

Types of Poker Variations

Poker varations can be classified into Draw, Stud, Community Card Games, or miscellaneous, because all of the games are mostly variations of the popular versions of Draw and Stud poker but are played with custom rules. Here are some rules for the most popular poker variations:

  • Stud:

    Games where players receive some of their cards face-up and some of their cards face-down cards. There is usually a betting round after receiving each card.

    • Chicago

      The player with the highest spade face down ("in the hole") receives half the pot.

    • Baseball

      3's and 9's are wild. If a player is dealt a 3 face-up, then they have to pay $0.50 or fold before another card is dealt. If a player is dealt a 4 face-up, then they get an additional card dealt face up before the next player gets dealt to.

    • Follow the Queen

      If a queen is dealt face up, the next card dealt face up (all cards of the same rank) are wild. If another queen is dealt face up, the next card dealt face up replaces the previous wild as the new wild card. If a queen is the last card dealt face up, then nothing is wild. If no queens are dealt face up, then the hands are thrown in, and the cards are dealt again to the players that have not folded.

  • Draw:

    Games where all of the cards that players receive are face down.

    • Anaconda

      Seven cards are dealt face down to each player. Then there is a round of betting. Then each player chooses three cards to pass to the player on their left. Then another round of betting. Then everyone chooses two cards to pass to the player on their left. Then after that another round of betting. Then each player chooses one card to pass to the player to their left. Each player then chooses five cards to keep as their final hand and discards the remaining two.

  • Community Card Games:

    Games where a player is able to use community cards (cards that any player can use) to make their hand. Examples are: Texas hold 'em and Omaha.

    • Iron Cross

      Five cards are dealt face-down to each player and five cards are dealt on the table arranged in a cross with the center card revealed last. Players may only use cards from either the vertical arm or the horizontal arm of the cross to form their hands.

  • Miscellaneous:

    • Guts

      Each round starts with an ante and each player is dealt three cards down. Since there is only three cards, the highest hand is Three of a Kind. Players look at their cards and then decide if they want to play their hand. All players declare simultaneously whether they are in or out. Of the players who stayed in the hand, the one who has the best hand collects the pot. All the other players who stayed in and didn't have the best hand must each match the amount of money in the pot. The money from the losing players carries over to the next deal and escalating the size of the pot. Then a new hand is played where all of the players can play. The round ends when only a single player has the guts to stay in, and thus the whole pot is taken.

    • Blind Man's Bluff

      Each player is dealt one card that he displays to all the other players (usually stuck to the forehead and facing outwards). Then there is a round of betting. Each player then guesses if they have the highest card based on all of the visible cards as well as how the other players are betting.


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