Poker Variants

Our ‘Cards On The Table’ Guide To The Best Poker Games

Poker has come a long way from the 19th-century gambling salons of New Orleans. From Vegas to Venice, it’s a global phenomenon played by millions in one form or another. Explore the most popular variations of poker being played today.

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We’ve all seen it in movies – Poker by far is definitely the most popular card game. If you’re not familiar with the basics of the game, we feature an easy guide on Poker Strategy.

It still comes as a surprise to many that it features tens of variations. In this guide, we at CanadaCasino have studied the 10 most preferred Poker Variants for players in Canada.

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You can visit our Poker Strategy page to learn all about Poker how-tos and basics

10 Most Popular Poker Variants in Canada

Poker offers a veritable buffet of game variants to choose from, but mostly all fall into one of three categories; Draw Poker, Stud Poker and Community Card Poker. Community Card poker is by far the most popular group of poker variations and includes Texas Hold ‘em. Let’s have a look at the types of poker games you’ll find in Canada.

1. Texas Hold’em

The most popular poker game variant in the world, Texas Hold ‘em is synonymous with poker. Players receive two cards face down before an additional five cards are dealt face-up in three stages; the Flop, the Turn and the River.

2. Three-Card Poker

3 Card Poker is one of the fastest types of poker to learn and play. Developed as a casino table game, 3 Card Poker is played against the dealer. The highest-ranking three-card hand wins based on five-card poker hand rankings. A Mini-Flush typically pays out at 50:1, a Straight Flush at 40:1 and Three of a Kind at 30:1.

3. Omaha

3rd in popularity to Texas Hold ‘em, the Omaha poker variant is also a community card poker game that deals the players four cards face down rather than two. Apart from that difference, it is played virtually the same way as Texas Hold ‘em.

4. 7-Card Stud 

7-Card Stud used to be the most popular variation of poker in North America before Texas Hold ‘em took over. Players receive three cards face down and an additional four cards face-up. The highest-ranking five-card hand wins.

5. Five-Card Draw

A kitchen table favourite, Five-Card Draw is among the easiest poker variants to learn. Players are dealt five cards face down. After a betting round, players can choose to discard cards from their hands and draw replacement cards from the deck. The highest-ranking hand wins the pot.

6. Caribbean Stud Poker

This poker variation is a mainstream casino favourite, also known as Casino Stud Poker. Based on 5-Card Stud, this type of poker is played against the Casino House. Bluffing is not allowed. Five cards are dealt to the players face down. After the dealer reveals one of his cards, bets are placed. This poker variant has a high House Edge

7. 5-Card Omaha

This is one of the more popular variations of poker with Texas Hold ‘em players namely because they are dealt five cards face down (hole cards) with a better chance of getting a good hand out of the gate. This interest can increase pot values dramatically. The highest-ranking five-card hand wins. 

8. Double Draw

A poker variant played with the Jokers that can be used to complete straights or flushes, or as Aces. Double Draw poker gives players two chances to discard cards and make the best five-card hands. Because of the Jokers, Five of a Kind is the highest-ranked hand and typically pays out at 500:1 in the casinos.

9. Short Deck

Instead of adding cards (Jokers) to the deck like Double Draw, Short Deck removes every card from two through five, leaving thirty-six cards in play.  Players are dealt two cards face down before a sequence of five community cards are dealt face-up; the Flop, Turn and River. The highest-ranking hand wins but remember that with Short Deck poker, just about every player has a great hand.

10. Razz

Razz is one of the types of poker that fit into the Stud category. Players are dealt seven cards with which to make the lowest value five-card hand. Played exactly the same as 7-card Stud, Razz rewards the lowest-ranked hand with the pot. Aces count as one.

Which Poker Variation suits you the best?

With a veritable buffet of poker variations to choose from, it can be difficult to settle on the type of poker game that best suits your preferred tastes, skills and enjoyment levels.

What’s more, many players bounce around between variants to broaden their poker knowledge and keep their favourite game fresh. Variety is the spice of life and for those players with a big appetite for poker, HORSE is on the menu! 

Poker variants with the lowest house edge

The types of poker available to play at land-based or online casinos differ from traditional games in that the games are played against the casino, which means the casino commands a House Edge.

In simple terms, the house advantage (edge) is just that; a fractional advantage the casino has over the player in terms of winning over the long term.

The lower the House Edge, the better the player’s chances are to win a return on their bets. Knowing the House Edge of the popular casino poker variants is excellent knowledge for both beginner and experienced poker players alike.

Poker VariantHouse Edge
Caribbean Stud Poker5.22%
Pai Gow Poker 2.50%
Ultimate Texas Hold ‘em2.19%
Three Card poker1.50%
Video Poker0.46%

Poker variations that payout the most

The payout potential you can expect while playing Poker highly depends on the variant you’ve chosen. Some variants come with four or five betting rounds, building a decent enough pot. On the other side of the spectrum, certain variants are played only against the dealer and payouts depend on the winning hand.

Two games that build towards a substantial pot are Seven-Card Stud and Five-Card Stud. Of course, to win a nice tidy sum, betting needs to go well first.

Don’t dismiss Poker variants that are played against the dealer just yet. Variants like Texas Hold’em can pay handsomely for the strongest winning hands!

The best Poker variants to try when you’re new to casino

Remember that when joining a casino poker game players are playing against the House. For beginners, the best introduction to casino poker is through the most popular games currently on offer that are easy to learn and basic to understand. Suggested casino poker games for beginners include;

Playing video poker gives new players a chance to familiarize themselves with the hands, how they rank and straightforward betting options. Video poker is low cost, has the lowest House Edge of any casino poker game and is the most forgiving to new players just learning the game. 

Anyone who plays poker knows how to play Texas Hold ‘em. It’s simple to learn, a blast to play and most players know someone who can start them off with some basic advice. Texas Hold ‘em games are also easy to practice at home with friends or online through free demo games offered by many casinos.

A fan favourite at the casino, this is one of the easiest poker variants to learn for beginners. Three Card Poker is played against the dealer, is straightforward and doesn’t require any Poker strategy to speak of to win big. 

Types of Poker to play if you’re a Pro

A thrilling game to play for novices and pros alike, Texas Hold ‘em is the most popular poker variant on the planet and draws the world’s best players. High-stakes tournaments with million-dollar antes are not unheard of and Texas Hold ‘em features in the World Series of Poker (WSOP).

Typically a ‘No pot limit’ game, 5-Card Omaha draws high-rollers and poker pros to the table with pots that can make or break fortunes. Played at the highest level, 5-Card Omaha forces players to use their best skill-sets and years of poker experience to win.

Poker variations you should avoid

When considering a game at the casino, some of the poker variants on offer can be riskier than others. A couple of types of poker have a high House Edge, making them less attractive in terms of winning opportunities. 

Designed for casino play, Caribbean Stud Poker (aka Casino Stud Poker) has a House Edge of 5.22%. This is one of the highest house advantages among table games in the casino and while fun to play, offers the least potential for good player returns.

Not recommended for the novice, Pai Gow is a poker variant that uses a normal card deck plus Jokers. Players are dealt seven cards to make up two hands and both hands must beat the dealer to win. Pai Gow poker also follows strict rules which if not followed can result in players paying penalties. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Texas Hold'Em, Three-Card Poker and Omaha.
Online casinos definitely offer a larger pool of variants to play Poker.
Those that are featured in our list of online casinos are safe and properly regulated as per Canada standards.
Author
Casino Content Writer
M'Louisa spends most of her time chasing after a certain cheeky monkey that is growing up too fast. When she has a moment to spare you'll find her with a paint brush in hand or reading a good book. For the past 3 years she has enjoyed watching the industry grow and thrive, and thinks that is the most satisfying part of her job!