Learn More About the Types of Poker

Lowball:

The lowest hand at the table wins the pot. Depending on the House Rule where you’re playing, the perfect low hand varies. Some tables play that Straights and Flushes count against you (with the logic that a Straight or a Flush is a good regular poker hand, and therefore, a bad Lowball hand), other tables play that Aces cannot be low, while still other tables play that Straights and Flushes do not count against you, and Aces can be low. This would need to be established before the deal, either by the dealer or prevalent House Rule. If Straights do not count against you, then the perfect low would be a A-2-3-4-5. If Straights do count against you and Aces can be low, then the perfect low would be an A-2-3-4-6. If Straights do count against you and Aces cannot be low, then you’re playing a game called Kansas City Lowball, and the perfect low would be a 2-3-4-5-7. It is found that the most common form of Lowball involves the A-2-3-4-6 as the best low hand.

New York Stud:

This variation, which can be added to any Stud game, adds the stipulation that an outside straight beats a pair. An outside straight being four of a player’s cards in numerical sequence, or four cards to a straight, this stipulation adds a new rank to the table. The outside straight beats a Pair, but loses to Two Pair. If, through the course of the game, a player has the outside straight showing face-up, that player bets over one who only has a pair showing.

Canadian Stud: 

This variation plays just like New York Stud, on top of which a fourflush beats an outside straight. A fourflush being four of a player’s cards of the same suit, or four cards to a flush, this stipulation adds two new ranks to the table. The outside straight beats a Pair, the fourflush beats an outside straight, but Two Pair beats a fourflush. A player with a fourflush showing bets over a player with an outside straight showing, who bets over a player with a Pair showing. Note: four cards to a Straight Flush is no better than a fourflush; in fact, it is nothing more than a fourflush.

Spanish Stud: 

This variation can also be added to any Stud game. To play Spanish poker, all of the Twos, Threes, Fours, Fives, and Sixes are removed from the deck. This is a total of 20 cards removed, leaving 32 cards that are played. Spanish five-card stud could be played at six people, but Spanish seven-card stud could be played by no more than four players, if only one deck is used.

Bet or Drop:

This variation can also be added to any Stud game. The stipulation that it adds is that the player who opens the betting round by having the best hand showing, must open with at least the table’s minimum bet or fold. The option to ‘check’ or ‘pass’ is removed, as that player is required to open with at least a minimum bet. Typically, the dealer will announce a slight increase in the table’s minimum bet for purposes of this variation.

Cold Hands:

Also called Showdown, a less popular variation where ante is significantly higher, as there are no betting rounds. All cards are dealt face-up in sequence. The best hand wins. Typically used, on top of winning a set pot, to determine the first dealer of the night, or as a final quick game.