Poker is an extensive subject. Though Texas Hold'em is the king of online poker, most card sites feature other popular games. The best US poker sites feature cash games, tournaments, and sit and go events with Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo. Some also Seven-Card Stud and Razz. Eventually, you'll want to try all of the poker games online, it's read our survey of the best poker card games in online card sites.
Let's start with the poker game that dominates most live and online tournament play: Texas Hold'em.
Texas Hold'em Poker
With the rise of World Series of Poker in 1970 and beyond, Texas Hold'em has become the most popular version of poker. It's the game played in the main event of the biggest poker tournaments around the globe, including the World Series of Poker Main Event.
The game is popular because of its combination of approachability and strategy. Texas Hold'em is easy to teach, easy to learn, and easy to play. Like chess, it's hard to master. Mix in a decent amount of human psychology and game theory and many consider Texas Hold'em the perfect poker game.
Omaha Poker is a similar community card game that's played at most online sites and in most live poker tournaments worldwide. In fact, the best US online poker sites feature many ways to play Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo.
A popular variant of Omaha Hold'em is Omaha Hi-Lo. In this game, half of the pot is tied to the highest hand, much like standard Omaha.
No-Limit Hold’em has been referred to as the Cadillac of poker but every now and then you might feel more like cruising around in a ponderous but torquey Ford F150. That’s when some of the other games come into play.
Texas Hold’em, and to a lesser extent its four-card sibling Pot-Limit Omaha, gets all the attention but there are plenty of really fun poker games, many of which were popular long before Hold’em became an online sensation. We’ll provide a brief explanation of some of the most popular non-Hold’em games below.
Seven-Card Stud was actually the most popular poker game in the world prior to the rise of No-Limit Hold’em. It’s still one of the most popular games on the East Coast of the United States.
Seven-Card Stud is a favorite of players who enjoy a slightly slower-paced game compared to Hold’em and don’t like being pushed off hands by huge over-bets.
Razz Poker is very similar to Seven-Card Stud except for the lowest hand always wins. This is referred to as a lowball variation of Seven-Card Stud.
Otherwise action in Razz is exactly like Seven-Card Stud with five rounds of betting that bring a total of three face-down cards and four face-up cards with the final card always being dealt facedown.
Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo
Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo combines the winning hands of Seven-Card Stud and Razz. It’s also sometimes referred as the rather-lengthy Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Split Eight or Better.
If you were born before the year 2000 there’s a good chance your first introduction to the game of poker came via Five-Card Draw. The game is incredibly simple, which is why it's the first poker game many people play in home games.
Many players are familiar with Five-Card Draw because it’s the basis for video poker, which can be found in nearly every casino around the world.
2-7 Triple Draw
Deuce-to-seven (or 2-7) triple draw is another lowball variant that differs from Razz because flushes and straights do count and it’s actually a five-card draw game.
2-7 Triple Draw can be played with limit, pot-limit or even no-limit structures.
2-7 Single Draw
2-7 Single Draw, sometimes referred to as Kansas City Lowball, switches things up from it’s triple draw sibling by offering just just to draw. It’s also only ever played no-limit.
H.O.R.S.E. is a mixed poker game that combines five variants of poker in one. The five games are Hold'em, Omaha, Razz, Seven-Card Stud, and Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Eight-or-Better. In this case, the "E" in H.O.R.S.E. stands for "Eight or Better".
Different Types of Poker
This is a good start for players wanting to learn about the different types of poker they'll encounter in online cardrooms. You'll eventually come across all of the different types of poker card games online, but you now know about the most popular online poker games.
Poker Games Online FAQ
What is the best online poker game?
That depends on a poker player's quirks and preferences. Texas Hold'em is the most popular online poker game. This has its advantages, because its give players more options. You can play online Texas Hold'em at more bet ranges and with bigger prize pools. You'll find more tournaments, ring games, and sit-and-go's for Texas Hold'em than anything else.
Omaha is a good alternative for those who want something different. Omaha is a community card game like Texas Hold'em, though it's different enough to provide a different strategic challenge. With 4 hole cards, hands are stronger and players must calculate more possibilities.
Seven-Card Stud is a game for players who like incremental betting and a slower pace of play. Razz is for similar players, but those who prefer to calculate lowball hands. All of these games have been popular for decades and thus have been proven with the test of time.
What is the best free poker game?
Strangely enough, the best free poker games take place at real money online poker sites. As a promotional tool, sites allow players to test the poker software without making a deposit or spending cash. Thus, you're playing at the same virtual tables that real money card players bet at.
You can play Zynga poker or other social gaming poker games, but if you want an experience most like the real money games, play free online poker at an online cardroom.
Can I play poker online for real money?
Yes. Card players can enjoy games at countless real money online poker sites. The key is finding trusted online cardrooms known for making fast and reliable payments. Read reviews, create a player account, and make a deposit in your favorite cardroom. You'll be playing real money poker online in a matter of minutes.
What's the status of legal online poker in the USA in 2022?
Six US states have regulated online poker at the moment: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Delaware, West Virginia, and Nevada. The other 44 US states and the District of Columbia all allow offshore online poker play. Residents in all 50 US states can play poker online without fear of prosecution or fines.
Several differences exist between regulated and unregulated online poker. Playing at offshore online cardrooms means you won't have the consumer protections you would in regulated states, but you'll receive much larger poker bonuses. Keep in mind that most offshore poker sites are licensed and regulated in their home countries. The key is reading online poker reviews and playing only at trusted card sites.
Which online poker sites are legit?
We consider online poker sites legit when they have a current reputation for fairness and safety, plus a longstanding tradition as a white hat operator. Online poker rooms must have good poker software, a variety of payment methods, good poker bonuses, a reputation for quick and reliable payouts, and an unblemished record for honesty.
Read reviews and player forums before making a deposit. Only play at honest online poker sites.
Are there any USA friendly poker sites that accept Bitcoin?
Yes. There are several different US-friendly online poker sites that accept Bitcoin. Each supports Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals, while most offer Bitcoin bonuses for new players.
Ensure you're playing at a legit online casino by reading reviews before you start playing with real crypto. The best casinos will offer a variety of other payment methods as well. Ensure the site is licensed in their home country, too.