7 Poker Variants and Derivatives You Should Try Now

Dealt Poker Hand on A Poker Table with Chips

Poker has always been a substantial part of the casino scene. That popularity soared in the early 2000s with the advent of online poker stars.

Suddenly, players could compete with players around the world, and there was always a game available to play. No-Limit Texas Hold’Em continues to be the gold standard for novice players and professional gamblers alike.

Yet, a growing faction feels Texas Hold’Em has been broken by analytics and statistical models. The game has become too sterile for their tastes, and the players appear robotic.

Many of these poker fans have made a move to other poker variants. It may be beneficial for more novice players to check out the popular poker derivative games that litter the casino floor.

Poker is tough to beat in regard to making money because the games are skill-based. Still, the derivative games offer a refreshing change when the poker room becomes stale.

If you’ve grown weary of the typical poker room norm, look at these 7 poker variants and derivatives you should try now.

1 – Five Card Draw

Five card draw was how many of us likely got our first introduction to poker. I remember playing the games for hours with my cousins while the adults played poker around the kitchen table.

Watch the old westerns or nearly any movie made before 1995, and five card draw was the poker game you’d see being played on the big screen.

However, the game isn’t nearly as popular in the casino. Even most home poker games have converted to Texas Hold’Em.

Still, the familiarity of the game can breathe a new life into your poker routine. Five card draw starts with each player being dealt five cards to build the best poker hand.

Players may fold up to three cards and draw three new cards. That adds an additional element of strategy to the game.

One of the first observations Texas Hold’Em fans will notice is the absence of any community cards. This factor makes it more challenging to put opponents on a hand, which can be to your advantage as a skilled player.

2 – Seven Card Stud

While five card draw is a far more popular poker variant for home games. Seven card stud gets more love in the casino poker rooms.

Seven-card stud is the game the poker heavyweights were spending 100% of their effort on before the rise of Texas Hold’Em.

In seven card stud, players are dealt two cards face down and one up for the table to see. They then decide to bet and stay in the hand or fold.

This continues as players receive a fourth, fifth, and sixth card face up, each time having a chance to bet or fold. Finally, players are dealt a seventh card to complete their hand, followed by one more round of betting.

The game incorporates a great deal of strategy and exciting elements that vary from Hold’Em.

Royal Flush

First, there are no community cards. You use only your seven cards to build a hand.

Then there’s the aspect that you’ve only got eyes on 4 of your opponent’s cards. So, you’re making constant calculations on how the five card poker hand looks.

Lastly, you’re not going to be able to go all-in on the seven card stud table. The betting schedule typically goes 1x, 2x, 3x, and so on for each street.

So, players won’t have to stress going broke on a single hand or getting bullied off their cards.

Seven-card stud offers a ton of entertainment and a new avenue for many poker players. That makes it one of the must-try games for your next poker game.

3 – Three Card Poker

Three card poker is one of the latest poker derivative games, but you won’t find any tables in the poker room. This game makes its home on the casino floor, surrounded by blackjack and baccarat tables.

Three card poker is precisely that; each player places an ante bet and gets three cards. From there, the players must decide if they want to play their hand or fold.

One of the exciting caveats to three card poker is that you’re playing heads up against the dealer. The other players at the table are doing the same, so there’s no need to read your opponents’ hands.

You merely focus on the three cards in your hand and decide if you have a good enough hand to play.

Since you’re battling the casino and not other players, three-card poker isn’t a skill-based game like different poker variants. That means you’ll be facing a house edge in three-card poker.

Playing a game with even a minimal edge isn’t advised when other poker games have no house advantage. However, if you’re looking for an entertaining alternative and your poker skills are lacking, you may have a much better chance at three-card poker.

4 – Pot-Limit Omaha

Pot-limit Omaha is one of the most popular poker games in the world. The game is favored by many professional poker players because of its purity.

PLO plays nearly identical to Texas Hold’Em with a few notable differences. Players share five community cards that come on the flop, the turn, and the river.

However, the players get four-hole cards to build their hand as opposed to two, like Texas Hold’Em.

As the name would suggest, pot-limit Omaha won’t let players push others around too much. Your maximum allowable bet is what’s in the pot.

Pot-limit Omaha is an excellent game for several reasons, but you should never dive headfirst into any poker game. First, you need to learn proper PLO strategies and play the game enough to understand the game’s flow.

Closeup of an Omaha Poker Hand

If you have a solid Texas Hold’Em skillset, the transition to pot-limit Omaha will be much smoother. However, there will always be a learning curve when trying your hand at a new game.

So, don’t assume you’ll automatically enjoy the same successes you’ve been having in Hold’Em. Still, if you dedicate the same time and energy that made you a solid poker player, you should pick it up rather quickly.

Having a general knowledge of poker hands and betting strategies alone will be enough to get ahead of much of the competition in some games. You may find that to not be the case in pot-limit Omaha; many of the players at these tables are savvy veterans.

5 – Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is an early poker derivative that makes its way onto the casino floor as a true mainstay. The game plays on the ancient domino game Pai Gow and has many exciting benefits for players.

Instead of dominoes, players are dealt seven cards. Each player must then build two separate hands using these seven cards.

Players have a lot of choices when building these hands, and the strategy involved makes Pai Gow Poker incredibly entertaining. The object is to best both of the dealer’s hands.

Beat the dealer’s five-card and two-card hand for a win. When the dealer beats both of your hands, you lose.

However, if the player can manage to win just one of the hands, the bet pushes. Beating the house on both hands obviously makes it tougher to win, but the push means you’ll lose less often.

In addition to playing only the dealer heads up, one caveat to Pai Gow Poker is that your five-card hand must beat your two-card hand.

So, you can’t merely pair your aces for the two-card hand. Unless you’ve got trips or better in the big hand.

6 – Ultimate Texas Hold’Em

Ultimate Texas Hold’Em is a fiery game you’ll find on the casino floor. As with other poker derivatives, the player is facing only the house.

Players must make two bets to start a hand, one blind bet, and an ante. Throughout the course of the hand, players are allowed to make one raise.

The amount a player is allowed to raise varies by where they are in the hand. In the earlier stages, like pre-flop, players may raise 3x-4x their bet.

Texas Holdem Casino Game

Yet, in the later phase of a hand, players may only be able to raise 1x. Knowing when and how to raise can have a significant impact on your wins.

Ultimate Texas Hold’Em uses a paytable with predetermined payouts. Pay attention to this table and leverage your wagers accordingly.

7 – Mississippi Stud

Mississippi Stud is a poker-based game. Your only competition is developing the best hand possible from your five cards.

You can get some huge returns using the paytable with 500 to 1 for a royal flush.

The main goal here is to have a pair of sixes or better. Accomplish that, and you’re a winner.

Players are not allowed to raise during the hand, but you’ll be allowed bigger wagers in many casinos.

Our Ginal Thoughts on These Poker Variants

Finding suitable casino games to play often boils down to personal preference. Whether someone tells you a game is fantastic or the house edge is among the lowest available, you must be entertained.

For poker players, the challenge is increased because we’re accustomed to playing skill-based games with no house edge and a ton of strategy. Check out these 7 poker variants and derivatives you should try now and make the most of your next casino session.