PokerStars players know that one of the highlights of the site is the fact that it provides so many different poker variations from which to choose.
There are literally hundreds of ways to play poker (perhaps even more). You won’t find all of them on PokerStars, but you’ll certainly find many of them — dozens, in fact.
Over the game’s long history stretching back more than two hundred years, some poker variants became popular in certain areas of the world while others took hold elsewhere.
Of course, with the advent of online poker the “poker world” has become much more connected today than was the case before. Games once popular only in a particular location have become available to anyone, playing from anywhere.
No-limit Texas hold’em is by far the most popular variant whether you’re playing poker online or live. Indeed, go to any poker room all over the world, and you’re most likely to find no-limit hold’em being the featured game (and sometimes the only game).
Once upon a time, 5-card draw was the most commonly played variant, especially during poker’s early history in the United States. Most of the stories of Old West poker games feature draw poker, and the same goes for the early westerns that depict that period in America’s history.
Stud poker emerged during the second half of the 19th century and gained popularity as well. Moving into the middle of 20th century and forward, 7-card stud became many poker players’ favorite variant. That said, 5-card stud was played a lot, too.
The popularity of 7-card stud in particular continued into the latter part of the century. The game was especially prevalent in the eastern US, including at the card rooms in Atlantic City when they first opened in the early 1990s.
Both limit hold’em and no-limit hold’em were popular at the turn of the century as well. Meanwhile Omaha poker, a variant of NLHE that involves players getting four hole cards as opposed to two, had emerged as well as a fun alternative.
Omaha became especially popular in Europe, more so there than in the US (at least at first). Both Omaha Hi (the high-only version, usually played as pot-limit) and Omaha Hi-Lo (the split-pot version, usually played as fixed-limit) attracted many players, some of whom became specialists in the game.
Some poker players don’t realize how these different variants are in fact reltaed to one another. Even those who know how to play all the different games may not know each variant essentially evolved from one that came before. Stud developed from draw, just as hold’em developed from stud and Omaha later developed from hold’em.
The “poker boom” of the mid-2000s first attracted many new players to play NLHE. But soon those players took an interest in other variants, too, and pot-limit Omaha became many players’ second choice — and in some cases their first choice.
The online game provided many more opportunities for players to try out new games, including those not typically found in live poker.
Besides inviting players to play hold’em, Omaha, stud, and draw games, PokerStars additionally features a variety of mixed games like H.O.R.S.E. and 8-game. You can also find variants like Courchevel or Badugi.
You can even play 6-plus hold’em, a game once primarily found in Macau though now popular all over the globe thanks in large part to online poker.
Poker is a game that continues to evolve as well, which means new variants will likely emerge in different places wherever poker is played. Expect these new varieties of poker to find their way online as well, including at PokerStars.