There are numerous versions of poker, all of which follow a similar pattern of play and use the same hand ranking system. There are four primary families of variants, which are mostly divided by the card-dealing and betting protocol:
– Each player is handed a full hand, and they must wager in a single round, with raising and re-raising allowed. This is the oldest poker family; the game’s origins may be traced back to a game called Primero, which evolved into three-card brag, a popular gentleman’s game during the American Revolutionary War that is still played in the United Kingdom today. Although five-card straight hands are occasionally used as a final showdown, poker is usually always played in a more complex format to allow for more strategy.
• Stud Poker
– Cards are dealt in a predetermined sequence of face-down and face-up rounds, or streets, with a betting round after each. This is the second-oldest family; as poker evolved from three to five-card hands, they were frequently dealt one card at a time, face-up or face-down, with a betting round in between. Seven-card stud, the most popular stud version today, gives each player two extra cards (three face-down, four face-up) from which to create the finest possible 5-card hand.
• Draw Poker
– Five-card draw: Each player is dealt a complete hand, face-down. After that, each player must contribute an ante to the pot. They can then look at their cards and place bets based on what they see. Players can discard up to three cards after betting and replace them with new ones from the top of the deck. Then there’s another round of betting. Finally, each player must reveal their cards, and the one with the best hand is declared the winner.
• Community Card Poker
– Community card poker, sometimes known as “flop poker,” is a stud poker variant. After each player is dealt an incomplete hand of face-down cards, a number of face-up community cards are dealt to the center of the table, each of which can be used by one or more players to form a 5-card hand. The community card family includes two well-known variants: Texas hold’em and Omaha.