Ten Unusual Poker Variations Every Player Should Know

Ten Unusual Poker Variations Every Player Should Know

Poker, a game embodying skill, strategy, and a touch of luck, has long been a global favourite pastime. While the glitz of Texas Hold’em tournaments and the strategic depth of Omaha have captured the spotlight, the world of poker is far richer and more diverse than these popular variants suggest. Beyond the well-trodden path lie poker variations that are unusual and incredibly engaging, offering players new challenges and ways to test their skills. Today, we dive into the lesser-known corners of the poker world, unveiling games that promise to refresh your love for poker and provide intriguing new landscapes for play. From the strategic twists of Pineapple Poker to the lowball intrigue of Razz and the multi-faceted challenge of HORSE, this article is your guide to expanding your poker repertoire. Whether you’re looking to spice up your next game night or simply curious about the breadth of poker’s variations, join us as we explore ten unique poker games that every player should have in their arsenal.

Pineapple Poker

Pineapple Poker adds a twist to the Texas Hold’em formula, dealing three-hole cards to each player instead of two. Before the flop, players must discard one card, setting the stage for interesting pre-flop strategy decisions. Choosing which card to discard can significantly impact your game, requiring a balance between potential hand strength and the likelihood of achieving it.

Crazy Pineapple Poker

A sibling of Pineapple Poker, Crazy Pineapple holds onto its twist until after the flop. Players keep their three cards until the post-flop betting round, adding an extra layer of strategy. The decision on which card to discard post-flop often depends on the community cards laid out, making this game a test of adaptability and foresight.


Razz turns traditional poker hand rankings on its head, aiming to secure the lowest hand possible. This form of stud poker requires a shift in mindset and strategy, where pairs, normally sought after, become a liability. Observing opponents’ boards and selecting starting hands wisely are crucial skills in Razz.


Originating from Asia, Badugi is a draw poker variation where hands are ranked based on the lowest unmatched cards of different suits. The game introduces a unique hand ranking system and allows up to three draws, offering a distinct strategic depth and bluffing element to secure the pot.

2-7 Triple Draw

In 2-7 Triple Draw, the goal is to achieve the lowest possible hand, similar to Razz, but with a different hand ranking system. This lowball game involves three rounds of drawing, making it a battle of wits and strategy as players seek to improve their hands while keeping their intentions concealed.

Ten Unusual Poker Variations Every Player Should Know


HORSE is a combination of five different poker games: Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Seven Card Stud, and Eight or Better (Stud Hi/Lo). This rotation game tests a player’s versatility and ability to adapt their strategy across different forms of poker, making it a favourite among seasoned players looking for variety and challenge.

Irish Poker

A mix of Texas Hold’em and Omaha, Irish Poker starts players with four cards. After the flop, players discard two, leaving them with a two-card hand for the remainder of the game. This variation requires players to think ahead, predicting which cards will be most valuable as the hand progresses.

Chinese Poker

In Chinese Poker, players are dealt 13 cards to divide into three hands (front, middle, back) with specific hand strength requirements. The game is less about betting and more about hand organization, offering a different pace and strategic planning focus than traditional poker games.

Six-Plus Hold’em (Short Deck Poker)

Six-Plus Hold’em shakes up the traditional deck by removing all cards from 2 to 5, leading to a higher frequency of strong hands. This change in the deck composition alters hand rankings and strategies, making it an exciting variation for players seeking a game with more action.

Double Board Omaha

Doubling down on the complexity, Double Board Omaha deals with two separate boards, with the pot split between the winners of each. This variation challenges Omaha players to adapt their strategies for two potential winning hands, doubling the potential for strategic depth and intrigue.

Diving into these unusual poker variations can enrich your playing experience, challenging you to think differently and adapt your strategies to new rules and structures. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a casual player, exploring these games can offer a refreshing break from the norm and an opportunity to sharpen your poker skills.

Why stick to the familiar when you can explore the vast and varied poker world? Gather your friends or join an online platform offering these exciting variations and start dealing with a new poker night. As you delve into these games, remember that each one offers a unique opportunity to learn, adapt, and become a more versatile poker player. The deck is shuffled, and the cards are dealt — are you ready to explore the unknown and become a master of all trades in the poker world?

Author: Gus Barge

Leave a Reply