TEXAS HOLD’EM POKER VARIATIONS

Ever since the ‘poker boom’ of the past decade the game of Texas Hold’em has become ubiquitous. What was once a game limited to ‘wise guys’ and serious casino players is now played by millions across the world. In fact, it’s reached the point where if you’re talking or writing about poker it’s *assumed* that you mean Texas Hold’em unless you clearly specify otherwise. In this article, we want to go over some of the ‘other’ games available at online poker sites and in casino poker rooms. Some players find that they can turn consistent profits by specializing in one of these ‘lower profile’ games.

A quick word of warning–even though at their essence all poker games are based on similar concepts the similarity ends there. While there are some games that use a ‘interchangeable’ skill set that can’t be assumed. With few exceptions, each poker variation should be approached as a different game. For example, being a Texas Hold’em expert might help you pick up a game like Pot Limit Omaha more quickly but in no way whatsoever does being an expert in one make you an expert in another.

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TEXAS HOLD’EM VARIATIONS

We often speak of Texas Hold’em as a single, monolithic game but there are several popular variations. The best known is ‘No Limit Texas Hold’em’ thanks to World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour TV coverage. Simply put, a player in No Limit Texas Hold’em can bet any amount at any time, up to his entire stack of chips. This game takes a unique skill set and personality–many players prefer one of the less volatile forms of the game. It all depends on your personal preference and taste for risk.

In ‘Limit Texas Hold’em’ there is a limit on how much a player can wager in any betting round. These limits are predetermined and offered at different level of stakes. We’ll go into detail on this game (and the other Texas Hold’em variations) in subsequent articles. In Limit Hold’em there are a maximum of four raises every betting round. Another variation popular in card rooms and online poker sites is ‘Pot Limit Hold’em’ which allows a player to bet any amount at any time up to the size of the pot. There are no limit on raises in Pot Limit Hold’em.

HYBRID TEXAS HOLD’EM VARIATIONS

An interesting variation that has gained popularity in recent years is the hybrid game, better known as ‘Mixed Texas Hold’em’. In this game play alternates between rounds of ‘Limit Hold’em’ and ‘No Limit Hold’em’. In most cases, the blinds in this type of game will increase when play switches from one betting format to the other. This helps provide some degree of consistency between pot sizes. Other than the ‘alternating’ nature of play the rules of the ‘Limit’ and ‘No Limit’ components of the game are identical to the formats we’ve described above.

With regard to which game is best for you that depends on a number of factors. Obviously, you’re better off playing a game that you’re familiar with and have ‘at the table’ experience in. At the same time, there’s something to be said for developing fluency at a number of different variations. This makes it easier to find a game but also makes it easier to be successful financially. Although there are ‘specialists’ in one poker variation or another most professional poker players compete in a variety of different games and rulesets.