5 Different Poker Variants You Might Not Know

Poker is one of the most varied card games you can play, with an enormous number of types based on the three families of the game – draw, stud, and community.

I’ve picked just five great variants that you might not be aware of

But be warned, to play them all you’ll need to know more than five different types of poker – as you’ll learn below.

Guts Poker

Guts poker is a poker variant that’s simple to learn, fun to play, and offers the chance to make some big wins – along with sizeable losses.

Games often involve players being dealt three cards, though, some types of guts are played with two or four cards.

The basic rules to guts poker are as follows – two, three, or four cards are dealt to all players, with each person then deciding if they want to fold or continue with their hand.

Players then reveal their cards and the person with the strongest hand wins – rankings are similar to those in Texas hold’em, with a straight flush being the best and high card the worst. 


HORSE isn’t an equestrian version of the world’s most popular (probably) card game – it’s a combination of five different poker variants, making it one of the most diverse card games you’ll ever play.

HORSE is made up of the following five games:

  • H: Texas hold’em
  • O: Omaha hi-lo
  • R: razz
  • S: seven-card stud
  • E: seven-card stud eight or better (AKA stud hi-lo)

The poker variation you play changes with each orbit – from Hold’em through to eight or better – meaning that it’s a variant that’s perfect for the more experienced player.

Short deck

Short deck is rapidly becoming one of the most popular types of poker. Why? Because it’s similar to Texas hold’em, but features big hands much more often.

The reason short deck poker has so many big hands is that cards two to five are taken out of the deck.

This leaves you with 36 cards in play and means that the hand rankings differ to those used in hold’em – for example, a flush beats a full house and three of a kind beats a straight.

Why? Because the change in the number of cards alters the odds of you picking up certain hands.

In the video below, poker legend Tom Dwan explains the different hands used in short deck poker:

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Follow The Queen

One of the many great versions of stud poker, Follow the Queen adopts the same basic approach as seven-card stud – you receive a mix of face-up and face-down cards, receiving a total of seven cards.

Where Follow the Queen differs from seven-card stud is that it features wildcards. How does this work? I’ll explain.

The wildcards in Follow the Queen are cards that players can turn into cards that they need to complete their hand.

Queens are always wildcards, but they aren’t the only ones in the game – a number of other cards can become wildcards and this means that there’s always that chance that the strength of a player’s hand can improve.

If you like plenty of variety to your poker playing then we recommend that you give Follow the Queen a try.

Pineapple Poker

Pineapple poker is a variant of Texas hold’em that has one important difference to its parent game – you get three hole cards and have to discard one.

The basic rules of pineapple poker are really easy to pick up, as I explain below.

The game starts with players being dealt three cards. You then decide which hole card to throw away, before a round of betting commences and three community cards are dealt. The game then follows the same rules as Texas hold’em.

One thing to note about pineapple poker is that there’s a version of the game known as ‘crazy’ pineapple poker.

The rules of crazy pineapple poker are the same as I’ve described but with one difference – you choose which hole card to discard once the three community cards have been dealt.

Recommended reading: 5 Celebrities That Love to Gamble

I’ve given you five great versions of poker to try out, each of which offers something a little different.

But my advice is that before you play any of these variants you really get an understanding of the three families of poker games – stud, draw, and community.

Once you know your draw from your stud, you’ll be ready to try out any type of poker.

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