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Poker News | Online Poker | News

Poker Plus - Variety Can Spice up your Poker Game

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When it comes to playing poker, variety really is the spice of life at the tables. While there are several wonderful reasons to play poker online, one of the very best is the variety it affords players.

It doesn’t matter what game you like to play, you can easily find it at the online poker rooms. Not only can you find your favorite game offered, but there is always one running that you can jump in, or get on the waiting list. And, if you don’t want to wait, sit down and start a table. This can be a great way to earn extra player points (PPs) as most sites give you bonus PPs for starting a game.

Have you been having a bad run in Hold’em? Well if you play on PokerStars, you can change games as easy as changing tables and can find Razz, 5 Card Draw, Omaha, and 2-7 triple Draw games. There are also hi-lo split versions of Omaha and Seven Card Stud, with an 8 or better qualifier for low. How about a lot of variety all at once? Then check out the “mixed games” like H.O.S.E. or H.O.R.S.E. or Eight Game which are plentiful in all limits.

The mixed games are fun for many reasons, one is you won’t get bored playing the same game for hours. The games that are played in H.O.R.S.E. are:

• Hold'em
• Omaha high-low
• Razz (Seven card stud low)
• Stud (Seven card stud high)
• Seven card stud high-low (Eight-or-better)

H.O.S.E. has the same games without the Razz round. H.O.R.S.E. is played as one "round" of each game starting with limit Hold'em, then limit Omaha high-low and so on down the list. When the Seven Card stud high-low round is complete, the game goes back to limit Hold'em. When playing on PokerStars, you can tell which game is being dealt by looking at the top border of the table window which will display the game name. When switching from Omaha high-low to Razz, the button is frozen, that way, when the game switches back to Hold'em, nobody skips blinds or pays extra blinds.

All the games in H.O.R.S.E. and H.O.S.E. are fixed limit and the same limit is played in all games. That means if you are playing at a 10c/20c table, all the games are 10c/20c limit.

These mixed games are a great way to learn and polish your skill in multiple games, while breaking the monotony of playing a single game all the time.

Years ago a popular variety of poker was 5 Card Draw, played in both the High version and the Low or Low-Ball version. Many players still like the Draw poker - 5 Card Draw games - but it is almost impossible to find Low-Ball anymore, where the best low hand wins. One new variant on Low-Ball Poker is 2-7 (Deuce to Seven) Triple Draw. Like Low-Ball, players are dealt five cards, and can discard from zero to five of them on the draw. The big difference is that in Triple Draw, each player has the opportunity to draw three times. Of course if you are dealt a monster, just stand pat (no draw) and bet like crazy!

Unlike traditional Low-Ball, in 2-7, straights and flushes count against your low hand, and aces are always high. Therefore the best possible hand is: 7, 5, 4, 3, 2 unsuited. The following 2-7 hands are ranked from the worst- #1, which will rarely win the pot, to most powerful- #16, the nuts:

1) J, 7, 4, 3, 2 (all the same suit - a flush)
2) 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 (a straight)
3) 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 (a lower straight)
4) 5, 5, 5, 6, 3
5) 2, 2, 7, 6, 5
6) A, 9, 6, 4, 2
7) A, 8, 7, 4, 2
8) A, 5, 4, 3, 2 (not a straight - ace-high)
9) K, J, 8, 7, 4
10) T, 7, 5, 4, 3
11) T, 6, 5, 4, 3
12) T, 6, 5, 4, 2
13) 9, 7, 6, 4, 3
14) 8, 6, 4, 3, 2
15) 7, 6, 4, 3, 2
16) 7, 5, 4, 3, 2

All Draw games are played with blinds, with each player being dealt five hidden hole cards. The first player after the big blind has the option to fold, call, or raise with the action continuing clockwise around the poker table until betting is complete for the round. After the first round of betting is complete, there is a draw. To discard, just click on the cards you want to throw away and if you change your mind, clicking a second time on the card that you were going to discard will put it back in your hand. After the first draw, there is another round of betting, beginning with the first active player to the left of the button. There are two more draws with a round of betting following each one, resulting in three draws and four rounds of betting total, making for an action packed game and big pots.

All of the game varieties can be played at the free practice tables, which is the perfect way to get comfortable with each of the games. Playing for free is the best way to get a feel for the game and learn how to play before putting any money on the line. Then when you feel ready, you can get your feet wet in a small buy-in tournament or micro limit game like 10c/20c. When you feel confident and want to move up in limits, mixed games are available in all the normal limits, all the way to $1,000/$2,000.

One of the best things about the mixed games besides keeping you on your toes is if you are card dead in one game, maybe you will catch cards in the next one. Those 2-5 off suits are bad in Hold’em, but can be gold in Razz! So, the next time you are fed up with the suck-outs and never making your hand, why not try a different game? Try something new, it just may be a boost to your bankroll and you’ll have some fun too!

Grab a chair…see you there!

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