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There are several different ways to play poker, and they can get confusing pretty quickly. Many places will play a single style for an entire night, this is very common in casino poker. Some people run a dealers choice game, where the dealer calls the style of poker being played. Since the game can vary, it's good to be familiar with some common variations before you jump in. How betting gets started can vary depending on whether you play with blinds or not. For simplicity, the following instructions presume the use of blinds.


Five Card Stud: Every player is dealt five face-down cards. Betting starts with the player after the big blind. Players bet until all players have folded or everyone has called. Wilds may be called in this game by the dealer.


Five Card Draw: Every player is dealt five face-down cards. Betting starts with the player after the big blind. Once all players have folded or everyone has called, players may draw additional cards. So if a player has a pair and a high card and two other cards that are not as appealing, they may hand those cards to the dealer and announce how many cards they are replacing. Everyone who is still in the pot has one opportunity to draw. After every player has drawn their cards, betting begins with the player on the dealers left. Betting continues until all players have folded or called. Wilds may be called in this game.


Texas Hold'em: Players are dealt two cards face-down. Betting begins with the player after the big blind. Betting continues until all players fold or call. After this comes the flop. The dealer burns one card and then puts three cards face-up on the table. Betting begins with the player to the dealers left. Betting continues until all players have folded or called. Next comes the turn. The dealer burns one card and places one card face up. Betting begins with the player to the dealers left and continues until all players have folded or called. Finally comes the river. The dealer burns one card and places one card face-up on the table. Betting begins with the player on the dealers left and continues until all players bet or fold. The best combination of five cards, using either the cards on the table or in the players hands, is the winner. If the cards on the table are the best cards for all players, the pot is split between the players.


Seven Card Poker: All players are dealt two cards face-down and one card face-up. Betting begins with the player that has the highest card shown (or the lowest if there are no blinds) and continues until all players have folded or called. The dealer burns a card and deals one face-up card to all remaining players. Betting begins with the best hand showing and continues until all players have folded or called. This is followed by another face-up card followed by another round of betting and then a fourth face-up card followed by another round of betting. The dealer then deals all remaining players a seventh face-down card. Betting begins with the best hand showing and continues until all players have folded or called. The player with the best five card poker hand out of their seven cards is the winner.


High Card: All players are dealt a single card face-down. Players bet on whether they think they have the highest card on the game. A silly variation of this that is great for lightening the mood has all players put their own card on their forehead without looking at it and then betting to see who has the highest card. Betting begins with the player after the big blind and continues until all players have bet or folded.


Omaha: Omaha is a fairly popular variation of Texas Hold'em with two key differences. Instead of 2 cards being dealt face-down to each player, every player is dealt four face-down cards. Every player must use two of the four cards in their hand to make the best poker hand available. Players may not use the table as the best hand and split the pot as is done in Texas Hold'em.

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