Types of Poker Games for New Players

The popularity of online poker has moved past the explosion phase associated with the poker boom era. Between 2003-2006, No-Limit Hold’em was the primary driving force behind the industry. These days, however, No-Limit Hold’em is no longer the only game in town and you can’t just go to a home game and assume your friends are playing Texas Hold’em. Instead, other variations have grown increasingly popular and spread across casinos and poker rooms worldwide.

In this article you will learn everything you need to know about the other most popular type of poker games being played out there. In addition to No-Limit Hold’em, this includes such variants as Limit Texas Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, Short Deck Poker, and Sit & Go Poker, which is technically a format rather than game.

If you’re just getting started with poker be sure to check out our online poker guide to learn everything you need to know to play. Or check our reviews page to learn about the best online poker sites.

No Limit Hold’em

In the early 2000s, No-Limit Hold’em replaced Seven-Card Stud High as the game of choice for players. This was when widespread access to the internet helped spark the poker boom and swell the ranks of online poker sites around the world. Today, holdem still remains the leading poker game in the world, hence its name the “Cadillac of Poker”. No-Limit Hold’em is also a simple game to understand, and a great way for beginners to start learning to play poker.

Rules of No Limit Hold’em

As the old poker saying goes: “Texas holdem takes five minutes to learn and a lifetime to master.” Here’s a quick break down of the order of play to help players start enjoying this exciting game:

Blinds: The small blind and big blind each post their bets.
Hole Cards: Each player around the table is dealt two hole cards. The preflop betting round then takes place, starting with the player to the left of the big blind. Each player has the option to call, fold, or raise.
The Flop: Three community cards are dealt face-up in the middle of the table, after which another betting round begins.
The Turn: A fourth community card is dealt, followed by another betting round.
The River: A fifth community card is dealt, followed by the final betting round.
Showdown: All players still in the hand show their cards to reveal who is the winner.

Pros and Cons of No Limit Hold’em

There are many reasons why No-Limit Hold’em is the world’s most popular poker variant. However, the game is not for everyone, so here are some of the game’s pros and cons:

Pros

– Simple to learn
– Lots of action
– Exciting combination of luck and skill

Cons

– High-risk, volatile nature of game
– Games saturated with good players
– A lot of patience needed to play

Limit Hold’em

Limit Texas Hold’em is a Texas Hold’em variation in which the betting limit is fixed. If you are new to poker, then limit hold ’em may make more sense. You will be punished less for your mistakes than no-limit hold’em. Providing you play at responsible stakes, the limited bets should also help you avoid busting out quickly. This poker variant will therefore give weaker players a better chance of winning in the short term.

Rules of Limit Hold’em

Limit poker only allows players to bet a maximum and minimum amount at any time. However, its doesn’t mean you can get away with bad moves. After all, every bet you waste you will need to win two in order to earn a profit. In other words, the game is all about taking calculated risks and maintaining consistency over longer sessions. The rules of limit hold ’em are as follows:

Blinds: The small and big blind each post their bets.
Hole Cards: Each player is dealt two face down cards known as hole cards. The preflop betting round then takes place. The first player to act must either fold, post at least the size of the big blind, or only raise by an amount equivalent to the big blind. This amount is referred to as the small bet.
The Flop: Three community cards are dealt in the middle of the table. Another betting round begins in which bets and raises must also be equal to the big blind.
The Turn: A fourth community card is dealt. Another betting round begins, except this time bets and raises must be equal to twice the big blind. This amount is referred to as the big bet.
The River: A fifth community card is dealt. A final betting round begins, with bets and raises once more required to be equal to twice the big blind.
Showdown: All remaining players reveal their cards to determine the winner.

Pros and Cons of No Limit Hold’em

Pros

– Quick to learn
– Low variance and difficult to go bust
– Action-filled with more players involved at showdown, where you can learn to beat aggressive poker players

Cons

– Generally less exciting
– Less bluffing involved with more player chasing poker hands
– Usually higher rake than in other poker variations

Pot-Limit Omaha

Pot-Limit Omaha is second in popularity only to No-Limit Hold’em. The two games are similar, although two major differences set the games apart. Firstly, Pot-Limit Omaha player are dealt four hole cards, instead of two. However, they must use two of their hole cards along with three community cards to make a winning hand. And secondly, as the name implies, you can only bet and raise equal to the amount already in the pot.

Rules of Pot-Limit Omaha

Aside from being dealt four cards and betting being restricted to the size of the pot, the rules of PLO are a lot like Hold’em:

Blinds, Betting Rounds: PLO blind structure, five community cards dealt, and all the betting rounds (preflop, flop, turn, and river) are the same as in Texas Hold’em.

Showdown: The player with the best hand wins the showdown. Generally, a stronger hand is needed to win at Pot-Limit Omaha than in a game of Texas hold’em. Remember a player must use two of their hole cards to make a hand, plus three community cards. For instance, a player holding Ad-Ks-Qc-Js on a Kd-10d-6c-3d-2d board does not have a flush or a straight. They only have a pair of kings with an ace-kicker.

Pros and Cons of Pot-Limit Omaha

Pros

– Lots of fun and action
– Similar to Hold’em. So players already have a feel for the game
– More fish than in No-Limit Hold’em

Cons

– More complex poker game to play for beginners
– Lot less bluffing as players tend to make stronger hands
– Less hands dealt per hour

Short Deck Poker

Poker never stops evolving as a game, and Short Deck Poker is the most recent Texas Hold’em variant that has fast gained popularity around the world. Six-Plus Hold’em, as it is also known, removes all the twos through to fives in the deck. This means only 36 cards are used in the game compared to 52 cards in Texas hold’em. This subsequently changes the probability of making certain hands.

Rules of Short Deck Poker

Other than 36 cards in a deck and slightly different hand rankings, the rules of Short Deck Poker are mostly the same as No-Limit Hold’em.

Blinds: Instead of a small and big blind being posted at the start of a game, as in other hold’em variants, only the button is required to post a blind. Meanwhile, each of the other players around the table post an ante.

Betting Rounds: Similarly to traditional hold’em, each player receives two hole cards, and five community cards are dealt over four streets of betting (preflop, flop, turn, and river).

Showdown: All players still remaining in the hand show their cards to reveal the winner. However, using just 36 cards changes the probability of making certain hands, and so alters overall hand ranking. For instance, three of a kind beats a straight, and a flush beats a full house in short deck games. Also, an ace can be used to make both low and high straights.

Pros and Cons of Short Deck Poker

Pros

– Fast, fun and dynamic game to play
– Easy for new players to learn
– Fewer lower cards mean more playable starting hands

Cons

– Stronger pre-flop hands needed
– Increased variance and smaller winning edges
– Mainstream traction still lacking

Sit & Go Poker

Sit & Go, which is also known as Single-Table Tournament (STT), tournaments are an ideal choice for new players. Not only do they not cost much to enter and last less than an hour, but Sit & Go’s run continuously on most quality online poker sites. Therefore, there is hardly ever any waiting time needed before jumping into a game. That’s no matter whether the SNG is a multiple table (MTT) set up, or a one table format (STT) with up to 10 players competing. There are also regular or turbo Sit & Gos featured at most top poker sites.

Rules of Sit & Go Poker

Unlike the other poker variants mentioned so far, Sit & Go tournaments are exclusively a tournament format. As such, each game has a beginning, middle and late stage, with the blinds increasing regularly throughout the contest. In a ten-handed Sit & Go, three players typically receive a payout, with 50% of the prize pool going to the winner, 30% to the runner-up, and 20% to third place.

Early Stage: The blinds start off fairly low. This allows players greater opportunities to contest more pots and accumulate chips. So even if you have a bad start to the tourney, you still have a decent chance of finishing in the money, or even winning the game outright.

Middle Stage: At this stage around four or five players will still be left in contention. Meanwhile, the escalating blinds keep the action flowing and forces players to become more aggressive. Players will subsequently start looking to attack weak players while avoiding the stronger ones. Players who think they have the upper hand often move all-in during this stage of the game.

Late Stage: There will probably be just three players remaining at this point. The blinds will usually be quite high, meaning players will loosen up and become even more aggressive. Stealing the blinds becomes a top priority during this late stage. A Sit & Go is completed once the heads-up phase is over and just one player remains in the game.

Pros and Cons of Sit & Go Poker

Pros

– Only last between 30-60 minutes
– Easiest way to gain an understanding of poker
– Basic strategies can be learned for a simple way to build a bankroll

Cons

– Can be a little repetitive and automatic
– Payouts are minimal
– Excitement less than MTTs and tournaments

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