Unique and Rarer Variations of Poker

Unique and Rarer Variations of Poker February 15, 2018 July 19, 2018 David Edwards
Posted on  Feb 15, 2018 | Updated on  Jul 19, 2018 by David Edwards

When someone says the word, ‘Poker’ to you, what do you think of? Probably a group of men sat around a table smoking cigars, drinking whisky and looking for a Royal Flush, right? Well, that does make up a somewhat Hollywood depiction of the game. However, there are actually multiple different variations of the poker game. Naturally, there are some that are well-known to the online poker community. It’s very rare that a poker site hosts anything less than at least one Texas Hold’em, Omaha and Stud game. What about the others though? There are several more variations and some of them are quite unique to these standards.

Here, we’re going to be taking a look at the more unique and rarer forms of poker. Some of them aren’t available via online poker rooms, while others can only be found in the most niche situations. You’ll find that most of them are only played in home games though. That being said, they are all forms of poker, and you’ll be able to find out about their different game play rules and regulations right here.

Stud Horse Poker

This game was actually prohibited back in 1885 in California due to Section 330 of the law there. However, it was decreed in 1947 by the attorney general that this game was simply stud poker and the constraint on it was lifted. Though it is often simply called ‘Stud’, it does hold some differences to the 5-card and 7-card stud poker games.

In it, players can be given their own downcards, upcards and individual community cards. However, it differs when it comes to the order of betting. In the standard game, the player who has the best upward facing cards is the one who shows his bet first in every round. The only exception to this is when a player has a very nasty card showing, he plays his bet first through the Bring-in method.

Oxford Stud Poker

Again, this game will often go by the simple name of ‘Stud’. It’s a combination stud/community card game which had a big upsurge of popularity in the 1960s.

For this game, players receive individual downcards, individual upcards and community cards. It also has many variations within itself, depending upon the rules behind what kinds of cards and how many of them are dealt in different rounds. The betting system in community card games begins with the same player in each round, because it usually doesn’t feature any upcards. However, Oxford Stud’s starting players depends upon each of their individual upcards, as in Stud Horse.

High Chicago/Low Chicago

Both of these versions of poker can be played in any stud high game. If you are playing High Chicago (often known simply as Chicago), the player who has the highest spade card facing down (which is often known as “in the hole”) will be the recipient of half of the pot. Should you be playing Low Chicago, the player who possesses the lowest spade receives it instead. The Ace of Spades is the lowest in this instance. However, should one player hold both the highest hand and the highest/lowest spade, that person receives the whole pot.

Follow the Queen

This works as a variation of the 7-card stud game, but it utilises a wild card. This is designated by whichever card is immediately dealt in a face-up way after any queen previously dealt. Should the final card that is dealt be a queen, then all queen cards become wild. Furthermore, if there aren’t any queens dealt, then that hand does not have any wild cards at all. Betting in this variation works exactly the same as in standard 7-card stud.

Countdown Poker

 This version of poker begins with the dealer providing each player with five face-down cards. After the first round of betting, each of the players has the option of replacing up to three of their cards. A second round of betting takes place and then players have the option of exchanging up to two cards. Finally, on the completion of the third round of betting, a single card is replaceable. A fourth and final round of betting takes place and then all players show their hands. The highest 5-card hand wins the game. Furthermore, the cost of cards doubles with each consecutive betting round. The only issue with Countdown is that it will only work with four players of less, owing to the fact that you will run out of cards swiftly if not.


This game works as a mixed version of Manila poker, where each gamer is dealt two face-down cards and one upwards-facing card. The low upcard starts the betting with a Bring-in if you’re playing with such rules. Otherwise, the high card begins with the betting. Then, two community cards are dealt, with a second betting round taking place right after. This begins with the player who has the best exposed partial poker hand. A third community card is dealt out and a third betting round occurs. The same happens for a fourth time before the Showdown. Each player plays the best five-card hand that he can, taking the three in his had and any two from the four community cards. There’s also a version of this known as Shanghai Poker. This works in the same way, but with an extra hole card play.


While not specifically being a poker variant, Guts is still classified alongside it. Sort of like a cousin of the main game. Guts usually involves hands of three or fewer cards which are ranked similarly to poker hand-wise. Multiple successive rounds of betting take place, with decisions to be “in” or “out” in each round. A Showdown also takes place at the end of betting. Losers from the rounds of Guts will either match or double the pot, which obviously grows quite rapidly.

Five-O Poker

This works as what is known as a “heads-up” poker variant. Both players of this game have to play five hands of five cards at the same time. Four of the five cards in each hand are on display face-up. Once all five hands are down, a single round of betting takes place. The winner of Five-O is determined by matching each of the hands to the corresponding hand of the opponent. The player possessing the stronger hand from three of the five hands is the winner. Should someone beat their opponent with all five hands, this is known as a “Five-O” win.

Real Estate

This game is so unique that it tends to only be commonplace in the State of Kentucky. In it, each player is dealt a single down card while the next three cards are laid face-up in the centre of the table. As they are laid, the dealer states a price for each of them using US dollar currency terms – Nickel, Dime, Quarter. The stack is then placed face-down next to the quarter card, while a price is established for the ‘Mystery’ card from the face-down deck. This is always higher in value than any of the face-up cards. A nominal ante then takes place before players begin building up their hands one card at a time, up to a maximum of five cards. After hands have been built, betting takes place and the winner takes the pot.

David spends his downtime playing poker with mates and enjoys visiting the poker scene when he can. He writes for us on the latest promotions and gives us some personal insights in his blog