Unusual Poker Variants

Most people like to stick with Texas Hold’em, or one of the other traditional poker games. Then you have the more adventurous players who’ve never met a card game they didn’t like. These individuals are always looking for a new challenge, and they’re not afraid to wager on even the most bizarre sets of rules. If you fall into this category, you might want to give the following unusual poker variants a try.

Anorexia – This variant of Anaconda is played as follows. Each player is dealt seven cards face down (although each player may look at their individual hand). This is followed by six rounds where players pass cards from their hand to the player on their left. The first round, the player passes six cards, and this is followed by five cards, four cards, etc. After the last round (when the player passes one card to the player on his left), each player discards two cards. Each player should now have five cards.

Players organize their cards in whatever order they desire, then place them face down on the table. Once the cards have been organized, their order may not be altered.

Each player reveals their top card at the same time, followed by a round of betting. The player with the best hand currently showing always leads the betting. This continues until each remaining player has one card left to be revealed. At this point, all remaining players call out “high” or “low.” Hands are calculated based on the declaration of each player, and the two participants with the highest and lowest value hands split the pot.

Three Card Texas Hold’em – The game begins with each player getting one down card. After everyone has examined their cards, the player to the left of the dealer opens a round of betting. Next, two common cards are dealt face up in the center of the table, and this is followed by another round of betting (with the player to the left of the dealer going first). Then the showdown takes place, with the best three-card hand winning the pot.

No Draw Poker – This is a simple variant of Five Card Stud that’s perfect for those on a budget. Each player puts in an ante, and then everyone receives five cards face down. The game then moves straight to the showdown, with each player revealing his hand. The player with the best hand captures the pot.

Manslaughter – This version of Seven Card Stud adds a joker into the deck. To begin the game, each player gets two cards face down, and then another card face up. A round of betting follows and the player with the highest visible hand bets first. The next several rounds alternate between the players receiving one face up card and another round of betting. Players receive their seventh card face down, followed by another round of wagers. Afterwards, players reveal their hands and determine the winner.

The joker adds the following twist to the game: If the joker is ever dealt as a face-up card, the player sitting to the right of the joker must immediately fold.

You won’t find these unusual poker variants in any casino, but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy playing them with your friends. Their rules are simple to learn, and the unique gameplay is sure to offer a welcome change of pace from more traditional options.