Types of Poker Games

What started as a game played by small groups of friends in the privacy of their homes has grown into a billion dollar industry offered both online and in casinos throughout the world.  But, what better place to learn about the different types of poker games than from the world’s largest card casino?

While most games of poker follow a standard order of play, games are differentiated by hand values, the specific cards used, and the number of betting rounds. When most people hear about card poker, the first thing they think of is Texas Hold ‘Em, which has emerged as one of the most popular poker games due to its exposure in movies and on television. Card poker has plenty of variations that can generally be divided into stud, draw, and community card games. Below is a rundown of the different types of poker games that are played at poker hotspots like the Commerce Casino.

Poker Jargon


ante The minimum amount that a player must be willing to put on the line in order to be part of a game.
blinds Chips that are placed on the table to represent money that’s being wagered; with each new deal, chips move from one player to another.
call The indication of a player’s determination to match the amount of a newly placed wager.
check The indication of a player’s unwillingness to raise in the absence of a wager.
raise The indication of a player’s desire to increase a bet.


The Different Types of Poker Games

Stud Poker

In stud poker, a player is dealt a group of cards—usually either five or seven—with which to play his or her best hand. Stud games consist of multiple rounds of face-up or face-down cards, where the first player to bet is allowed to change from one round to the next. (Trivia: cards that are dealt face down are alternately known as “hole cards,” a name that inspired the idiom ace in the hole, which refers to a winning hand that others cannot see.)

Versions of stud poker that use three cards date back as far as the 1770s. Five-card studs became more common during the 1860s, when they proved popular among Union and Confederate soldiers. Over the last few decades, seven-card studs have become standard, both in and out of casinos.

The function of a game can largely depend on how many rounds are included. For instance, games like Mississippi and five-card-stud—which have four or less betting rounds—work well with pot or no-limit play, while games with more rounds work better with fixed or spread limits. In all practicality, betting rounds should be set to higher limits as the game advances. Example: if a game is called $5/$10/$20 seven-card stud, it will allow bets of $5 in the first couple rounds, $10 in later rounds, and $20 in the final round.

Stud betting rounds are generally named after the number of cards that each player is dealt at the start of a given round. Therefore, if the game starts with all of the players having three cards, the game is called “third street.” Likewise, if the players each have five cards in the first round, the game is usually called “fifth street.” The final round is usually dubbed the “river” or “end” round, no matter how many cards are dealt. Five-card stud and seven-card stud poker are both offered at Commerce Casino.

Draw Poker

Even though it’s the first type of poker that most novices learn about, most casinos no longer provide draw poker games. Draw poker continues to be offered at Commerce Casino, where it remains a popular choice among visitors and regulars alike.

In games of draw poker, a player is given a number of cards at the beginning and develops his or her hand round-by-round by drawing certain cards. As such, a player will usually trade in anywhere from one to three cards in hopes of getting a better hand. While home games of draw poker typically require an ante, casino games generally use blinds. The game begins with the player seated left of the big blind, and the following rounds start with the player seated left of the dealer. In essence, draw poker is a positional type of game involving as many as eight players.

Community Card Poker

In community card variations of poker, all the players share a set of cards—alternately known as “shared cards,” “window cards,” or “community cards”—that are placed in the middle of the table. Additionally, each player is dealt an incomplete set of “hole cards,” which are then played off the shared cards for a complete hand. The shared cards can be arranged uniquely or in a straight line, and the ways in which they can be combined with hole cards depends on the rules of a given game. The most widely known community card poker game is Texas Hold ‘Em, which dates back to the Roaring Twenties.

As with draw poker, community games tend to be played with antes in home settings and with blinds at casinos. Another difference between home and casino settings is that in the home versions, spread-limit games are more prevalent; in casino versions, fixed-limit games tend to dominate. Rarely played variants include no-limit and pot-limit forms of community card poker. With blinds, the betting round starts with the player immediately left of the big blind; otherwise, the betting begins with the player seated left of the dealer. Earlier betting rounds generally have lower limits than later rounds. Lowball hand values tend to play poorly in community card games. However, high-low splits sometimes play well.

The community card is central to all variants of this type of poker. In most games, several such cards will be placed on the table for all the players to share, but each game has specific rules regarding which cards are allowed in a player’s hand. Collectively, a set of community cards is generally referred to as a “board.” However, you’ll also find that  community card sets can sometimes be referred to as “widows.” Most boards are dealt in a basic line, though some games favor more intricate arrangements.

The leading example of community card poker, of course, is Texas Hold ‘Em. This game ends with each player holding two cards while a board of five shared cards sits in the center, for which each player tries his or her best hand. Another principle example of community poker is Omaha Hold ‘Em, in which players are limited to three shared cards, which can be paired with two out of four hole cards in order to make a hand.


The Most Popular Poker Games at Casinos


Texas Hold ‘Em has become the most well-known community card game in stateside poker. At the start of the game, two hole cards are dealt to each player, who then wait for a board of five shared cards to materialize. The game is divided into the following four rounds of betting:

  • Round one – where the hole cards are dealt.

  • Round two – “the flop,” where the first three shared cards are revealed.

  • Round three – “the turn,” where the fourth shared card is turned.

  • Round four – “the river,” where the fifth shared card is exposed.

The challenge for each player is to make his or her best hand with a combination of hole cards and shared cards.


Consisting of anywhere from two to ten players, Omaha is divided into four betting rounds. But unlike Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha deals four cards to each player, and a board of five shared cards, which are instantly revealed. The objective here is for each player to make his or her best hand of five with two of the hole cards and three of the shared cards.


In 7-Card Stud, players are each dealt seven hole cards—three down, four up—and the objective is for each individual to make his or her best hand of five from the initial seven. At the start of the game, each player is dealt two face-down and one face-up card. Whoever has the lowest face-up card foots the bring-in, after which betting commences in clockwise order. If no bring-in is present, the opening round of betting starts with whoever holds the highest level face-up card. If two players tie for high face-up cards, the person sitting to the left of the dealer goes first.

A series of rounds and cards follows: second round, third upcard, betting round, fourth upcard, betting round, a downcard, fifth betting round, and the showdown—where players try to make their best five card hand.


Factors to Notice in the Different Types of Poker Games

The methods that a player could use to win at poker are virtually limitless; some of the rules are even bendable. However, it’s crucial to be on top of the specific guidelines of the different poker games, whether you’re playing Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha, 7-Card Stud, Razz, or any of the other variants. Some of the most important things to be able to recognize include the following:

  • Whether the high hand or low hand—or perhaps a high/low hand—is the winning hand of a particular game.

  • Whether the Ace is ranked high or low.

  • Whether anything qualifies as a wild card.

  • Whether there’s a pot limit on the amount of cash that you’re allowed to wager on a given hand.

  • Whether a deck is a standard 52 or a different number due to cards being added or subtracted.

As the largest card casino in the world, you can find all of these types of poker card games at the Commerce Casino in Commerce, California, where local and visiting players alike come to relax, dine, and play poker. Whenever you’re in the area, make Commerce Casino your poker-playing destination.

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