The game of poker is considered by many fans around the world to be the best card game ever invented. Poker is virtually universal, and transcends language and cultural barriers and unites people of different ethnic backgrounds in a single common goal – have the best hand to win the pot, and be the last man (or woman) standing.
Just about everyone loves to have a hobby of some sort or other to keep them busy and while away the hours. However, for many, poker is far more than just a mere hobby, it is a way of life and, for some, even a good way to make a living. You can even take your game international without ever leaving your living room with top online poker sites like 888 Poker, one of the leading poker sites in the world today.
One of the reasons for poker’s seemingly undying popularity has to do with the open-ended nature of the game. With the same standard playing deck of cards, clever poker players can come up with all sorts of variations on the standard game. For instance, one of the most popular variations on poker of all time is Texas Hold’em. Most experienced players and poker experts agree that this is the undisputed king of poker at the moment and is favoured by most poker players, poker sites and poker tournaments around the world.
Poker tournaments broadcast on top sports sites like ESPN regularly feature Texas Hold’em, including its many sub-variations such as Pot Limit, No Limit or Limit Texas Hold’em. No matter the subtleties, Texas Hold’em is also the favourite of home players and week night poker clubs all over. This is a community card-based poker game, which means each player can use community cards to make the best hand possible to win the pot. The game is fast and easy to learn and is usually the best place to start if you want to learn how to play poker.
Once you’ve mastered standard or popular poker games like Texas Hold’em, it’s time to explore the fringes, where you will find some of the wackiest and most interesting poker variations to add to your diet. Here’s a few to get you started with, just remember, poker is like a buffet, too much too quickly, and you could end up chocking. So take it easy and take your time exploring these and other poker oddities.
Crazy Pineapple or Irish
You know when a game of poker is called pineapple it’s going to be good! Like Texas Hold’em, Pineapple is a community card-based poker game. However, unlike Texas Hold’em, in Pineapple players start with three cards and not the usual two cards. The idea here is to increase the chances of made hands betting against each other frantically, upping the ante and the action. Interestingly, you might find more and more casinos starting to offer this variation as players are starting to look for something beyond standard Texas Hold’em.
Midnight baseball sounds like a whole lot of fun right off the bat! Midnight Baseball is reminiscent of Seven Card No Peak and is also played with face down cards. The cool bit here is that every players hand is exposed one card at a time, making it instantly more intense and exciting. In addition to having only one card exposed at a time, nines and threes are wild and, whenever a four card is exposed, players are allowed to buy an extra card. To really ramp up the excitement, be sure to play the nine card version of this game.
This pretty odd sounding game of poker is becoming popular all over the internet and is essentially a version of lowball poker. In Badugi, suits play an important role in how the game develops because, while the object of the game is to make the best possible low four card hand, pairs and similar suits will not count in your favour. The game is popular with experienced players who are able to take advantage of the games three draws to beat players of somewhat less experience in exploiting made hands.
Scratching the Surface
We’ve really just scratched the surface with our three little examples of wacky and weird poker variations. These are of course a great place to start but the best fun that you could have is to really explore the near-endless expanse of poker games, which promises a never-ending supply of rewards and excitement for all levels of playing skill.