Having friends round for a poker game at home is one of the best ways to socialize, but by playing the same variant over and over again it could soon become dull. There’s no disputing that Texas Hold’em is one of the best forms of the card game out there, but there are a couple of similar strains of poker that you may want to try out. Mixing things up can help keep you engaged with the card game, and it can also help you to sharpen your skill set.
After the poker boom in the 2000s, Texas Hold’em became the number one variant of poker played across the world. It is the main strain of the card game used in the biggest tournaments in the world, including the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour. It’s easy to teach new players how to play Texas Hold’em, with the concept of the two hole cards and the community cards being simple to understand. This is why it is often used in home poker games as well. But if you have been sticking to the traditional way of playing Hold’em for a while, you may want to mix things up a bit.
There is now a more fast-paced way of playing Hold’em which is designed to increase the amount of action in each hand. This is Short Deck Hold’em, and in this variant deuce to five in each suit has been removed. Because of the reduced deck size, the hand values have changed slightly as well. A straight is more likely than three-of-a-kind in this form of poker, so is valued as a weaker hand. This is because the ace can be used as a low connector to the six. Playing in this way is likely to bring about some crazy pots, but make sure everyone is familiar with the warped rules before starting.
If you want to make things really interesting, you could try out playing some games of Omaha Hi Lo. This variant uses all the same hand values as Hold’em but, instead of getting two hole cards, each player receives four. There are still five community cards in the center, and the betting works in the same way after the flop, turn, and the river. The main difference with this game is that player must make a hand using three community cards and two from their hand. This isn’t the same as Hold’em, in which a hand can be made of any five cards. For this reason, Omaha requires players to think a lot more deeply about what their own best draws are and what other players could be holding.
To avoid your home poker games going stale and players getting bored, it could be a great idea to mix up the poker variants you play each time. You could even play one hour of Hold’em, then move to Omaha, and switch back to Hold’em later. Anything to crank up the excitement levels a bit more is likely to go down well with your guests.