With the 2016 World Series of Poker just around the corner, mixed poker games start to get more of a focus. The WSOP is the one place where nearly every variant of poker is played. If you love to play games other than Texas Hold’em, you should not miss this event.
If you’re still primarily a Texas Hold’em player, we urge you to consider expanding your skill set into other games. Doing so will give you other avenues for income and will give you an edge over other Hold’em players that decide to dabble in mixed tournaments. Below are the five best games for players to learn other than Texas Hold’em.
#5. Open-Face Chinese Poker
This is presently the most popular form of Chinese Poker in the world. In normal Chinese Poker, you get 13 cards that you set in three hands. Two are five card hands and the last is a 3-card hand. The bottom five-card hand must be higher than the middle five-card hand and the middle must be higher than the three card top hand or the hand is fouled.
In Open-Face Chinese Poker, instead of getting all 13 cards at once, players receive 5 cards to start and then place them one at a time until they have made their three poker hands. Also, they must place their hands face up which adds an extra strategy element to the game.
This game is often played as a side game for cash but it is beginning to become popular in tournament format. Pineapple Open-Face Chinese is a popular variant where after the initial deal, players get three cards at a time and play two at a time until their hands are made.
Open-Face Chinese Poker is the next big thing in poker and you should probably start learning it now. For those in legal jurisdictions, TonyBet Poker is a great place to play OFC online.
#4 – Badugi
This four-card lowball variant has picked up in popularity over the last few years and is even part of mixed games at the World Series of Poker. In Badugi, the object is to get one card of each suit with the lowest four-card “Badugi” hand winning the pot.
Badugi is a triple-draw game and elicits a ton of action in good games. It is much more popular online than live but it is slowly gaining more acceptance in the live arena. Learn this game to stay ahead of the curve.
#3 – 2-7 Lowball
This is the most common form of lowball poker you will see both live and online. Your object is to get lowest five-card hand. Aces are always high and straights and flushes count against you. As such, the lowest hand is an unsuited 7-5-4-3-2.
This game is played both in Triple Draw and in Single Draw. Triple Draw games are typically limit betting while Single Draw games are No-Limit. Both games have their own events at the WSOP and 2-7 is part of most mixed games outside of H.O.R.S.E.
#2 – Omaha Poker
Pot-Limit Omaha is the second most popular form of poker in the world and the most popular in Europe. Its split-pot cousin is Omaha Hi-Lo, probably the most popular split pot game in the world.
Omaha poker is a flop based game like Hold’em but played with four hole cards. Also, a player must make their best five-card hand using three cards on the board and two in their hands. For Hi-Lo, there is a potential for a split pot with half of the pot going to the best hand with five unique cards eight or below.
If you’re an aspiring mixed games player, you have to learn both PLO and Omaha Hi-Lo. They are both action games and great for those that like to play draws or chase big pots.
#1. Stud Poker
Mixed games effectively saved Stud poker from extinction following the rise of Texas Hold’em. There are three variants of Stud that you must learn if you want to play mixed games effectively.
In standard Seven Card Stud, players make their best five card hand out of the seven dealt to them. Stud is seldom played PL or NL. Stud Hi-Lo is the split-pot cousin of Stud that awards half the pot to a qualifying low hand of five unique cards eight and below.
Finally, you have Razz. Razz is Seven Card Stud low. Aces are always low and straights and flushes don’t count against your hand. The best hand is the wheel, or A-2-3-4-5.
There is a Stud component to every standard mixed poker game in the world, so it is a requirement that you learn Stud in order to master mixed games. Stud may not be the most exciting game, but if you can play Stud competently, then you will have the patience to master any form of poker in the world.