While it’s true that no matter how good or how experienced poker player you are, you can’t influence the cards the dealer deals or what the guy in the number three seat gets, it’s undoubtedly the case that poker is the casino card game where an understanding of strategy and wagering enables successful players to influence the outcome of any given hand.
And while a generation of younger players brought up on the hype of the WSOP Tour and Poker Stars think that Texas Hold’Em is the only game in town, there are nevertheless many other variations of online poker that require a winning player to have the same skills and understanding of what constitutes a good hand as any player on the last table of a big tournament.
For instance, video poker is essentially a variation of draw poker that has one of the lowest House Edges of any casino game and where, if a player’s strategy is sound and they pick the right game with the right full-pay paytable, then they can actually tip the odds if their favor away from the House.
There are an enormous number of variations of video poker like you can see in this link, each of which offers different odds and requires a unique playing strategy. Whether it’s a more ‘conventional’ version of the game such as 9/6 Jacks or Better, or something a little more exotic like Double Double Bonus Super Triple Play, understanding the game so that you can get the most out of it is vital.
For instance, it’s important to have a consistent approach when you are deciding which cards to discard on any hand – if you don’t use the same formula time after time, you’re likely to make a greater number of ill-informed choices, so sticking to your strategy is essential.
Likewise, you need to be aware that whichever variety of video poker you’re playing, the biggest jackpots are only available when playing the maximum number of coins so you need to craft an appropriate approach to wagering.
Pai Gow Poker, a contemporary poker game that has its origins in ancient China, similarly requires a deep knowledge of the rank and value of poker hands combined with an understanding of the game’s idiosyncrasies.
While the basic tenets of the game are relatively straightforward, the strategy involved in playing Pai Gow poker successful require some time and thought, so take advantage of free online games to get the basics under your belt.
Pai Gow Poker uses a full 53-card deck, including a joker that is semi-wild, with players being dealt seven cards at the outset that they need to re-arrange into two hands – one of two cards (low), one of five (high).
The aim is to make two hands that beat the dealers’ hands, with the real skill being knowing how to maximize the potential of your cards in such a way that both are of the highest value possible. This sometimes requires players to act counter-intuitively – for instance, in order to make the best two possible hands, it may be necessary to split two pairs, something which for many really goes against the grain.
Next time you’re at your favorite online casino, look beyond the conventional forms of poker and try out the many interesting and challenging variations of the game that require just as much thought and strategy as any other form of poker.