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While Texas Hold’em is the undisputed king of poker games, many players are beginning to look to other forms of poker as a way to increase their ROI. The internet has allowed some games to come back from the dead and has exposed players to new games that they may not have normally played in a standard casino setting.

If you want to become a better poker player, it is important to learn new games. With that in mind, we present the top 5 games you should learn in 2017. When selecting these games, we made sure to compile a list of those that you are likely to encounter in various poker venues. Also, every one of these games is available in a minimum of two events at the World Series of Poker.


Over the last few years, Badugi has been one of the most popular draw poker variants live and online. Currently you will only find it spread in Dealer’s Choice events at the WSOP but we would not be surprised to see the game get stand-alone events in the near future.

Badugi is a four-card draw game with the object of the game to get one of each suit, also called a Badugi. Straights don’t matter but pairs do. The best Badugi hand is A-2-3-4 rainbow. This triple draw limit game is popular with action players. However, even tightish players can do well due to the structure of the game.

NL 2-7 Single Draw

2-7 Lowball is essentially five-card draw played for low. Ace is always high and straights and flushes count against you. Your best hand is 7-5-4-3-2, ergo 2-7 or #1 if you use proper lingo.

While Triple Draw and NL 2-7 are both regularly spread online and in live poker, the majority of players learning this game will likely find NL 2-7 easier to disseminate due to similarities in certain key concepts such as bluffing.

Five Card Draw

Believe it or not, there are still poker players that do not know how to properly play Five Card Draw. While the rules of the game are simple, things change when you play this in a live casino venue and especially in tournaments.

Beyond learning the basics of how to play Five Card Draw, you need to focus on key areas such as bluffing, bet sizing and reading your opponents. This is vital for success in tournament Draw game games.

Presently, you will only find Five Card Draw offered in Dealer’s Choice events at the World Series of Poker and in NL format only. If you are going to learn Five Card Draw, make sure you spend ample time learning the NL format in order to give yourself the best chance of being competitive in the game.

Big O

Lovers of action poker should consider learning Big O. For those unfamiliar with “Big O,” it is Five Card Omaha. With the addition of a fifth hole card, players have more than double the number of possible hand combinations. As a result, Big O is the ultimate in “go big or go home” poker.

This means that you have to be playing for the nuts whenever possible. Playing for second best hands is going to make you a long-term loser. Big O was in three events at the 2016 WSOP – both Dealer’s Choice events and the Mixed PLO/8-Omaha/8-Big O event.

Seven Card Stud

Seven Card Stud was going the way of Draw poker and Five Card Stud prior to 2006. However, a combination of the internet and a focus on mixed games at the World Series of Poker helped to resurrect the game. Now it is a part of every mixed game format tournament at the World Series of Poker and it also has two stand-alone events.

Start out by mastering Seven Card Stud (high only) before moving on to Stud 8 or Better. They are similar but play very differently. I’m a firm believe that anyone that has the patience to play Seven Card Stud competently has the patience to learn and excel in any form of poker.

Pay Attention to Trends in the Game

If we could give one tip in regards to learning new poker games, it is to keep tabs on current trends. Pay attention to games that are beginning to draw a following or those that are beginning to draw the attention of the general poker media and the online fan boys.

When you see these trends develop, start learning those games. That way, you set yourself up with another revenue stream for when the game becomes a bit more mainstream.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.