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29 2023

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7 Types of Poker Games to Try Your Beginner's Luck

Our poker games list is a great place to start

Poker is a centuries-old game with a popularity that has exploded worldwide thanks to the addition of online and video poker games, the popularity of thrilling televised poker tournaments and the enduring popularity in movies and TV. It’s a game of both strategy and skill.

The most popular poker variations


Stud Poker

The foundation of many poler variations where the best poker hand wins

Poker Chips

Stud poker - often called Five Card Stud or Seven Card Stud – is a classic game that is also the foundation for other popular poker variations. Players are dealt a mix of face-up and face-down cards over multiple rounds of bets. After each round, the player with the lowest ranking card must place a bet to “bring it in,” then the remaining players match the bet or fold. The one with the best hand at the end of the final round wins the pot.

What exactly is the best hand in stud poker? The ultimate poker hand is the Royal Flush, which are the five highest cards in the deck – 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace – all in the same suit of spades, hearts, clubs or diamonds. If you’re holding this hand, here’s hoping you bet high! A Straight Flush is any sequence of five cards in the same suit, the next strongest (read also rarest) hand you can get). Other strong hands include Four of a Kind (four cards of the same rank, meaning a Jack of every suit for instance), a Full House (three of a kind plus a pair) and a Flush (five cards of the same suit).

While getting a hand like these may sound like luck, as you learn to advance your abilities to pay attention to which cards are being revealed, you get better at speculating what kind of hands other players may be holding and better at building your own. Your own bets – or bluffs – will be based on this kind of keen observation and strategy.


High Low Chicago Style Poker

A different type of poker game to mix things up

High Low Chicago – sometimes called just High Chicago or Low Chicago – is a take on the popular poker card game of Seven Card Stud, named for the city that put it on the map in the poker world. Players are each dealt seven cards, and the goal is to have the best five-card hand.

What’s unique about this game is that you can declare whether you’re trying to have the highest or lowest hand. In High Chicago, you’re trying for the best possible hand using all seven cards. Low Chicago means you’re betting on having the best hand at the table with 8s or lower. That means straights and flushes aren’t as valuable as the wheel, the perfect hand of an Ace, 2, 3, 4 and 5. In both cases, the pot is split between the best hand and the highest – or lowest – spade in the hole (poker lingo for “face down”).


Texas Hold'em

One of America's most popular poker games (aka Community Card Poker)

Pair of Kings on Poker Table

There’s an old song by Kenny Rogers that goes, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.” He was singing the anthem of this style of poker. In fact, if you’ve been lucky enough to catch the World Series of Poker at Turning Stone Resort Casino, you were watching the best of ‘em play Texas Hold’em, the most popular style of poker in the country.

In the game of Texas Hold’em, two cards are dealt to each player face down (their “hole cards”). Here, the first of four rounds of bets are placed, on any of which players can fold. The dealer then deals three community cards one at a time on the table face up. Bets occur before each of these rounds, which are referred to as the “flop,” the “turn” and the “river.” These community cards can be picked up by players to add to their hands, with bets in between each round. The goal is to put together the best five-card hand at the table, with a royal flush (10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace) being the ultimate hand. Fun for all skill levels and a favorite among professionals, it’s a game of strategy and timing – knowing when to hold ‘em and…well, you know the song.


Online & Video Poker

A fun way to play poker without chips for casual serious players

The popularity of online and video poker has exploded, making it one of the most popular forms of online gaming in the world. Based on five-card draw poker, again you have the benefit of not having to compete against other more seasoned players. But that’s not the draw as much as its accessibility, both physically in the growing number of locations but also in terms of price of entry – though make no mistake, the payouts can be hefty.

After placing your bet, you’ll see five cards face-up on the screen. Here’s where some basic poker skills and experience will benefit the player, because next, you need to decide which cards to hold and which to let go. Hit “deal” and your old cards will be replaced, just like if you were at the table. This hand determines whether you win against the payout table. The skill level advances based on what online poker game you’re playing. The best part is many online poker games offer free play options to let you bone up on your skills.


Follow the Queen

One of those crazy poker games people love

Follow the Queen is another style of poker based off Seven Card Stud where a Queen and all cards of the same rank become “wild” whenever a Queen is dealt face-up. After each player antes up (kicks a little coin into the pot), players are dealt two cards facing down and one face-up. The player with the lowest card has to “bring it in” with another small bet, then the others can match the bet or fold. Each player is dealt another face-up card in a series of “streets,” and the process repeats. If at any time a Queen is dealt face-up, say a Queen of hearts, then all Queens and all other hearts become wild cards.

If you manage to stay in the game all the way to the end, you'll get dealt a final card face down, and then there's one final round of bets. Finally, everyone left in the game reveals their cards, and the player with the best five-card hand (using any combination of their own cards and the wild cards) wins the pot.


Poker Tournament Play

From seasonal tournaments to the World Series of Poker, here's how tournament play works

World Series of Poker Circuit Events Logo

Poker Tournaments aren’t just for the pros. Just like any sport has its share of enthusiasts – college basketball with March Tournaments, football with the Playoffs – poker aficionados often love to test their skills during Tournament Play poker. Here’s how they work.

Tournaments typically have a buy-in to get a seat at the table and a limit on the number of players. Your buy-in gives you a set of chips to start with. Tournaments are structured in rounds or levels, with each level having a set duration and increasing antes. That means as the tournament goes on, the cost to stay in the game increases – as does the pot.

While you can find tournament play throughout the year in different variations of poker (see casino promotions for example), the most prestigious and longest-running poker tournament is the World Series of Poker (WSOP), with circuit events and resort-wide celebrations held at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Central New York. This annual event draws everyone from poker game enthusiasts to professional players from all over the world, with over $1,000,000 in guaranteed events.


Let it Ride

A poker variation for all skill levels

Of all the types of poker, Let it Ride is fun for all skill levels, but especially for those who want to try their hand at poker without having to compete against more experienced players. That’s because in this game, it’s just you and the dealer, which means you don’t have to try out your “poker face” or learn how to read others at the table. (“Is that a tell? I think it’s a tell. But how can I tell?”)

The game’s based on five-card stud poker. The player places three equal bets in “betting circles” on the table. The dealer deals out three cards apiece face-down, then places two “community cards” on the table face-down. The player gets the first look at their cards, then can either “let it ride,” leaving all three bets on the table, or pull one back. The dealer turns over a community card, and if the player has the higher hand, they win. If not, they lose their bets. The steps repeat for the second bet and second community card. Hands with a pair of 10s or better can win a bonus payout whether or not they win the hand. While it’s a fun way to learn how to play poker for beginners, it can also have big payouts.


Try your hand at the most popular types of poker in the Poker Room at Turning Stone Resort Casino

With 32 poker tables, it's one of the largest poker rooms in the country


As New York's most awarded resort and the state’s fifth largest tourist attraction, the poker room at Turning Stone Resort Casino is a favorite destination for poker players, from casual players to professional poker players to world champions. Whether you’re trying your hand at poker to learn the games, practicing your skills or watching the pros at the annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit Event, this world-class resort has a poker room to match. 

Check out our casino promotions for upcoming tournaments if you’re a seasoned player, or bring some friends for some classic card game fun. And remember to keep it fun for everyone by betting responsibly.

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