Poker Games: A Guide of Top Online Poker Variations

Poker has long been a favourite in casinos, leading to numerous game variations over the years. With the rise of online casinos, thousands of poker variations are now available. Let’s explore the best ones below.

What Is Texas Hold’em?

Texas Hold’em is the most popular poker variant and is available at almost every casino site. Its best-known version is No Limit Texas Hold’em. Many poker games are based on this format, using the same traditional hand rankings.


Compared to other poker variations, No Limit Texas Hold’em is easy to learn with straightforward rules and hand rankings.

How to Play Texas Hold’em

  • Blinds: The player to the dealer’s left posts the small blind, and the next player posts the big blind.
  • Hole Cards: Each player gets two face-down cards (hole cards). Players then bet by calling the big blind, raising, or folding.
  • The Flop: The dealer reveals three face-up community cards. Players bet again.
  • The Turn: A fourth community card is dealt. Players bet again.
  • The River: A fifth and final community card is dealt. The last round of betting occurs.
  • Showdown: Players reveal their hands. The best five-card hand from the seven available (two hole cards and five community cards) wins.

Texas Hold’em is easy to learn but mastering it takes time. It’s popular in major tournaments like the World Series of Poker (WSOP).

  • You can play it at almost every online casino with very low buy-ins.
  • The basic rules are straightforward allowing beginners to pick up the game quickly
  • Hand rankings are easy to understand
  • Players can develop advanced skills over time, including bluffing
  • There are too many games based on Texas Hold’em, so it took time to find a good-quality one with a higher payout.
  • Successful play often requires focus and emotional control

What Is Pot-limit Omaha (PLO)?

Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) is a popular poker game, especially in European casinos and among high-stakes players. It’s similar to Texas Hold’em with some key differences:

  • More Hole Cards: Players receive four hole cards instead of two.
  • Hand Formation: To make the best five-card hand, players must use exactly two of their hole cards and three community cards.
  • Betting Limit: Bets are limited to the size of the current pot, unlike Texas Hold’em where there can be no limit.

These differences add complexity and strategy to the game, making it appealing to experienced players.


How to Play Pot-limit Omaha

  • Four Hole Cards: Players start with four hole cards but must use exactly two, along with three community cards, to make their best hand.
  • Betting Limits: Bets are determined by the size of the pot, which means the maximum bet can change with each round.
  • Same Structure as Texas Hold’em: The game includes the big blind, flop, turn, and river, with the same poker hand rankings.
  • Winning the Pot: The best hand at the showdown wins the pot, and if there’s a tie, the pot is split equally.

Pot-Limit Omaha might look similar to Texas Hold’em, but it’s more complex and can involve high-stakes bets. For instance, if the pot is $100, the first bet can be up to $100, making the pot $200, and the next bet can be up to $200.


This can quickly lead to big pots, requiring sharp strategic thinking and quick calculations.

  • Very similar to Texas Hold’em, so it doesn’t take a long time to learn the rules.
  • Pot-Limit Omaha is favoured in high-stakes environments
  • With 4 hole cards, there are more combinations to create strong hands
  • Quick and high-stakes poker game, not recommended to newbies
  • The potential for big wins is matched by the risk of significant losses

What Is Omaha Hi?

Omaha Hi, also known as Omaha High, is a popular poker variation. In this game, the highest hand wins the entire pot at the showdown. It’s often played in a pot-limit format, where the maximum bet is the current size of the pot.

To play Omaha Hi effectively, it’s helpful to understand Pot-Limit Omaha first, as the betting and hand-ranking rules are similar.


How to Play Omaha Hi

In Omaha Hi, the rules and hand rankings are similar to Texas Hold’em with two key differences: players receive four-hole cards instead of two, and they aim to create the best 5-card hand using 2 of their 4 hole cards and 3 community cards at showdown.


Bets and raises are limited by the size of the pot, and having more hole cards at the start improves everyone’s chances of forming strong hands.

  • It’s easier to make a good winning hand because of the 4-hole cards a player is dealt.
  • Requires strategic thinking and hand management skills due to the complexity of using two hold cards with three community cards
  • Offers a refreshing change for players familiar with Texas Hold’em
  • Higher potential for big pots and large wins.
  • Not as popular as Pot-Limit Omaha, so not all casinos offer it to play.
  • Managing four-hole cards can be overwhelming for new players
  • Betting is limited and tied to the size of the pot

What Is Omaha Hi-lo?

Omaha Hi-Lo is known for its complexity as players need to consider both high and low hand combinations. Unlike Omaha Hi, the pot at showdown is split equally between the highest-ranked hand and the lowest. Players can use different combinations of hole cards to form both high and low hands.



How to Play Omaha Hi-lo

Players are dealt 4 hole cards and must use 2 of them along with 3 community cards to form a 5-card hand. Betting occurs before players fold or proceed to showdown. A player can win the pot without showing their hand, but if there’s a showdown, the best ‘high’ and ‘low’ hands split the pot.


Players familiar with Omaha Hi have an edge because determining the ‘high’ hand is similar to Texas Hold’em or Omaha Hi. Learning how to play ‘low’ hands effectively requires additional effort for successful play.

  • There are more chances of winning because the pot is always divided into two
  • Requires strategic thinking for both high and low hands
  • Rewards players who can balance between high and low-hand strategies
  • Involves community cards that can benefit multiple players
  • Both ‘high’ and ‘low’ hands must be considered at once, so the game requires more skills and knowledge.
  • Higher skill levels among players can make it difficult for beginners to compete effectively
  • Splitting the pot can result in smaller individual winnings

What Is 5-card Draw?

The 5-Card Draw poker game is considered pretty easy. Basically, it’s a variation of ‘High’ poker, played with 52 cards, and hands are the same as in Texas Hold’em.

How to Play 5-card Draw

In this poker variation, all players receive five cards face down. The dealer begins by giving one card to each player in a clockwise direction. Once everyone has their cards, the first round of betting starts. Players then choose which cards to discard, and the dealer replaces them from the deck.


After this draw phase, another round of betting occurs. Finally, players who haven’t folded reveal their hands to determine the winner. If multiple players have the same hand, they split the pot equally. This straightforward online poker game involves one round of drawing, two rounds of betting, no community cards, and each player receives their own complete hand.

  • 5-Card Draw poker is pretty straightforward to play
  • Rounds can be quick, making it ideal for casual play or shorter sessions
  • Success relied more on individual decision-making rather than the community cards
  • All bets are made by guessing because none of the other players’ cards are visible during the game
  • The game can become repetitive

What Is Short Deck Poker?

Short Deck poker uses only high-ranked cards, intensifying gameplay and increasing the likelihood of impressive hands. The rules and winning hands mirror those of Texas Hold’em, making it easy to learn and adapt to.


With cards lower than 6 removed but Aces still in play, Short Deck favours full houses over flushes and makes it more challenging to form three of a kind compared to a straight.


How to Play Short Deck Poker

To play Short Deck Poker, each player begins by placing big blinds and small blinds. Then, they receive 2 face-down cards and must match at least the big blind to continue. After the first round of betting, 3 community cards are dealt, followed by another betting round.


The turn card is then revealed, leading to another round of betting, and finally, the river card is dealt. At the end, players reveal their cards to determine the winner of the pot.

  • Playing with a deck with all lower cards removed means that every round is shorter
  • With fewer cards in the deck, players see more high-value hands
  • The rules and hand rankings are similar to Texas Hold’em
  • Not recommended for beginners to avoid confusion between hands
  • The frequency of strong hands can make the game more volatile

What Is 7-card Stud?

Poker of Stud type is another popular poker game and, in some ways, you can say it beats Texas Hold’em. When playing the Stud-type poker games, players receive their own individual hands.


Some of these cards are dealt face-down and hidden from players, while other cards will be face-up for everyone to see. In this game, hole cards and community cards are not used.


How to Play 7-card Stud

  • Ante Up: All players place a small bet called an ante to start the game.
  • Initial Deal: Each player gets two face-down cards and one face-up card.
  • Third Street: The player with the lowest face-up card makes the initial bet (the “bring-in”).
  • Fourth Street: Each player receives another face-up card. The player with the highest visible hand starts the betting.
  • Fifth Street: A third face-up card is dealt to each player. The player with the highest visible hand starts the betting.
  • Sixth Street: A fourth face-up card is dealt. The player with the best visible hand begins the betting.
  • Seventh Street (The River): Each player receives a final face-down card. The player with the best visible hand starts the final betting round.
  • Showdown: If more than one player remains after the final betting round, players reveal their hands.
  • The best five-card hand out of the seven dealt cards wins the pot.
  • It’s a different way of playing poker, without community cards.
  • This game rewards skill and strategy over pure luck
  • Players get to see a portion of their opponents’ hands, allowing for more informed decisions
  • Without community cards, smaller bets are usually placed.
  • Multiple betting rounds can make the game slower

What Is Chinese Poker (OFC)?

The most different variation with exceptional playing structure is Chinese Poker (OFC). This poker variation doesn’t follow any of the traditional game rules and structures.


How to Play Chinese Poker

  • Players and Cards: Chinese Poker is usually played by up to 4 players. Each player receives 13 cards.
  • Creating Hands: Players must arrange their 13 cards into three hands:
  • A strong 5-card hand (best hand).
  • A middle 5-card hand (moderate strength).
  • A weak 3-card hand (lowest hand).
  • Setting Stakes: Before the game begins, all players agree on the wager for each hand.
  • Winning Hands: Players compare their hands in each category. The player with the best hand in each category wins one unit of the stake from each opponent.
  • Special Hands: If a player has all straights or all flushes across their hands, they can win the entire round. This must be declared before revealing the hands.
  • The most beginner-friendly online poker type
  • Unlike traditional poker games which are focused on one hand, you need to manage three different hands.
  • It is not “pure poker” and chance can be more important than knowledge or skills.

What Is Pineapple Poker?

Pineapple (or Crazy Pineapple) is a popular poker variant known for being easy to play and learn. It’s similar to Texas Hold’em but falls under the Chinese Poker category. The main difference is that players receive three-hole cards instead of two.

How to Play Pineapple Poker

  • Each player is dealt three hole cards.
  • Before the first betting round, players must discard one of their three cards
  • Players use their remaining two-hole cards to form their best hand
  • The player with the highest hand wins the pot
  • When the players are familiar with Texas Hold’em, the quality of the plays can be really high.
  • This game is fast-paced
  • The extra hole card means players often end up with better hands
  • The game takes longer because there are fewer possibilities to fold.

Poker Games Glossary

Texas hold'em
A popular poker game where players are dealt two private cards and share five community cards.
A poker variant similar to Texas Hold'em, but players are dealt four private cards and must use two of them.
A variant of Texas Hold'em where players receive three private cards and must discard one before the flop.
Seven-Card Stud
A poker game where players receive a combination of face-up and face-down cards over multiple betting rounds.
A lowball poker variant where the lowest hand wins, using the Ace-to-Five or Deuce-to-Seven hand rankings.
Five-Card Draw
A classic poker game where players receive five private cards and have the opportunity to discard and replace cards.
Chinese Poker
A card game where players arrange 13 cards into three hands: two five-card hands and one three-card hand.
Caribbean Stud Poker
A casino game where players compete against the dealer, aiming to achieve a better poker hand.
An Asian poker game where the objective is to have the lowest four-card hand of different suits.
Stud Poker
A category of poker games where players receive a combination of face-up and face-down cards over multiple rounds.
Draw Poker
A category of poker games where players can replace or "draw" cards from the deck to improve their hand.
Community cards
Cards placed face-up on the poker table and shared by all players.
Mandatory bets placed by players before the cards are dealt, typically the small blind and big blind.
A structured poker event with a set buy-in, blinds, and escalating levels where players compete for a prize pool.
Betting rounds
The phases in a poker hand where players can bet, check, raise, or fold.
The total amount of money or chips wagered by players in a poker hand.
Pot odds
The ratio of the current bet to the potential winnings from the pot, used to make informed betting decisions.
A small mandatory bet that all players must contribute before each hand.
The final phase of a poker hand where players reveal their cards to determine the winner.
Cash Game
A poker game where players can buy in with real money and cash out their chips at any time.
Jamie Bungaree avatar
Jamie Bungaree
Head of Casino Games

Hi, I’m Jamie, the Head of Casino Games at CasinoAus. For over eight years, I’ve been exploring the exciting universe of iGaming, from pokies to table games. My experience isn’t just about playing; it’s about understanding the mechanics and delivering quality content. My background in journalism equips me to provide you with insights that go beyond the surface. I’m here to make sure you have an engaging and informative experience.

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