When online poker started to peak at the turn of the millennium, Texas Hold’em was the dominant game.
Thanks to Chris Moneymaker’s unlikely victory in the 2003 WSOP Main Event, the world went Hold’em crazy. However, as the industry has evolved and operators have started to offer different variants, it’s no longer the case that Hold’em is the only game in town.
Yes, it might still be the game of choice for live tournaments, but elsewhere in the industry you’ll find plenty of alternative ways to test your poker face. In fact, if you want to become a better all-round player, it’s worth learning these variants. Only by understanding the different skills you need to succeed in each game can you then apply them to your regular game (i.e. Hold’em) and become a stronger player.
Hold’em is Popular Because You Can Bluff
Now, the reason Texas Hold’em, especially the no-limit variety, is so popular is because it combines mystery, action and skill. Because your two hole cards are concealed and there’s no rule that says you have to use either of them to make the best five-card hand, bluffing is rife in Hold’em. Indeed, because the community cards in the middle of the table can create a myriad of possibilities, there is much more scope for duping your opponent into believing you have a certain hand.
Contrast this with a variant like Seven Card Stud where there aren’t any community cards. In this game you’ll only be able to play the seven cards you’re dealt (three will be face down). Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t bluff because you can. However, with your opponent basing their decision more on their own hand vs. your exposed cards, the opportunities are less abundant.
Taking this a step further, casino poker games also have their own quirks. For example, if your plan was to have an evening of poker on your own, you can pull out your mobile, visit mFortune and have the site send a download link for Hi-Lo Poker to your device. One of the more skillful online casino games in its collection, Hi-Lo Poker follows the traditional format of the game, except in this instance you have to beat the dealer, not another person.
Use Multiple Variants to Improve Your Skills
In this setting, bluffing isn’t an option which means you have to rely on your powers of logic and mathematics a lot more. Because the dealer isn’t interested in folding, you need to know which cards are worth holding and which ones you should discard. For example, if you needed one card to make a flush from a single deck of 52 cards, your chances of hitting it would be 9/47 or 19.1% when you convert the fraction to a percentage. This is true because from a deck of 52 cards, 47 have been dealt. You’re exchanging one card and from that 47 in play, nine will complete your flush which gives you a 9 in 47 chance.
As you can see, in this game, an understanding of the math involved in poker is more important than knowing how to bluff. Similarly, if you were playing Stud then you’d have to base a lot more of your decisions on the potential holding of your opponent. Using the exposed cards to analyze the situation, you should then be betting when you think your hand trumps theirs.
Becoming a better Hold’em player isn’t simply a case of playing this variant over and over. To really take your game to the next level, you should always be looking beyond the world of Hold’em. Indeed, if you can take the logical deduction tactics from Stud Poker and the mathematical analysis required to play Casino Hi-Lo Poker, you should find that your Hold’em skills improve dramatically. And, even if they don’t, you’ve given yourself some new ways to play and earn within the poker community.