Other Poker Game Variations

One of the strongest points about poker is that there are so many different ways to play the game. The main poker variants can be grouped together into little bundles due to similarities in their playing style or rules. However, there are always exceptions to rules and the following poker games are ones which are hard to define other tan through their difficulty in being defined alongside other styles of poker play.


With origins only dating back to 2000, it is easy to see Badugi as one of the modern poker games and owing a lot to the mass TV and internet coverage that has happened in the past decade and a half. If you are not overly familiar with the name Badugi, you may be more commonly acquainted with Badougi, Paduki or Padooki but the most important thing to take from the game is that it is similar to triple draw. However, the hand values in the game are probably more akin to lowball so if you have experience in either of these two games, you have a head start over other players.

The overall play and the betting structure of Badugi is the same as a standard poker game that  utilises blinds but there is a change in that a hand can only hold four cards at one time. In all of the three rounds that take place, players are able to trade none, all or any combination of their cards for new ones in the hope of forming the best Badugi hand at the showdown.

A Badugi hand holds a different ranking from the traditional poker hands. The Badugi hand consists of 1 to 4 cards in their distinct ranks and suits. If there are any duplicates of ranks or suits, these are discarded. A four card Badugi hand will beat a three card Badugi hand, a three card Badugi hand will beat a two card Badugi hand and a two card Badugi hand will beat a one card Badugi hand. If a four card Badugi hand contains all four of the suits, it is referred to as a Badugi.


As casinos strive harder to provide even more excitement and drama for players, new ways of playing poker have come to the fore. The game of H.O.R.S.E can be commonly found at a number of high stakes poker and casino tables. The overall game consists of rounds where the poker action cycles between the following games.

  • Texas Hold ‘Em represents the H,
  • Omaha Hi/Lo, Split Eight or Better is the O,
  • Razz is the R,
  • Seven Card Stud is the S, and
  • Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo Split Eight or Better is chosen as the E.

H.O.R.S.E is commonly played as a limit game and this applies to Hold ‘Em too. However, there have been occasions, notably the 2006 WSOP event when the final table is played out as a No-Limit Hold ‘Em game.

As you would expect, there are a number of variations that are available, even within the confines of the games that are played in H.O.R.S.E, all of which helps to bring an added element of variety to poker play.

H.O.S.E or S.H.O.E

Considering the most common mixed game is H.O.R.S.E, it stands to reason that dropping out one game to create another word will have been of interest to some poker players. This meant H.O.S.E. was a natural choice but of course, there are always players who want to mess around with things which means that S.H.O.E. is also an option. The games involved in both of these over-riding games are the same but as the name would suggest, the order of play is slightly different. It can be a matter of personal choice as to how the games are played but there will be some players who prefer one of the layouts.

As you would expect, the layout of the H.O.S.E. game is:

  • Texas Hold ‘Em represents the H,
  • Omaha Hi/Lo, Split Eight or Better is the O,
  • Seven Card Stud is the S, and
  • Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo Split Eight or Better is chosen as the E.

Many players consider these mixed styles of poker games to be more difficult because it forces the player into playing different styles. It can be easy for some poker players to settle into a rut with regards their poker play and only stick with one or two disciplines. These tournament style games can really test the overall mettle of a poker player, even for ensuring that players remember which of the games they are actually playing at a particular time!


Picking up a rash is nothing to be proud of but if you are playing poker, the R.A.S.H. game is another great way to have fun and prove your skills against other players. In this form of tournament play, the games are:

  • Razz,
  • Omaha Hi,
  • Seven Card Stud, and
  • Texas Hold ‘Em.

Again, the choice of games are fairly obvious and sit alongside other shorter form tournament games like H.A.R, which is Hold ‘Em, Omaha Hi and Razz or H.O. which is Hold ‘Em and Omaha Hi/Lo, with both of these games traditionally being played in a limit format.

All of these different tournament games require poker players to sharpen their skills in different disciplines and to have a strong level of concentration. If you prefer to play one style of poker, these are not the games for you but if you believe you have a consistent level of poker play across a number of disciplines, these could definitely be of interest.