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Interesting Poker Variants To Play With Your Friends

Home » Interesting Poker Variants To Play With Your Friends

Interesting Poker Variants To Play With Your Friends

A view from above a poker table with friends playing a poker game together.

They say variety is the spice of life, so if you feel like shaking things up a little, why not, instead of just playing online poker with friends, get them round the table and try some fun poker game variations. This is your chance to try out new styles of play, test out new strategies and take a few risks. You can even use it as a learning and teaching opportunity. Once you’ve set the scene for a great night in, you just need to decide which game it’s going to be. Here are some to choose from.

Seven-Card No-Peek

Not to be confused with Seven-Card Stud, this game really ratchets up the fun factor as it requires very little strategy and is all about the luck of the draw, or deal. Only your stake needs some careful risk calculation as the game moves around the table. Each player is dealt seven cards. Play and betting open when the person to the left of the dealer turns over just one of theirs. After everyone has placed their bet, the next person to the left turns over one of their cards. If it’s higher than the first player’s, they stop turning and all bets are on. If it’s lower, the player keeps turning until the total face value of their cards exceeds that of the player to their right. In the event that all seven cards don’t equal the previous player’s hand, the hand is dead. Betting and playing then resume until the last player is left standing.

Double Flop Hold ‘Em

This variation of Texas Hold ‘Em is double the fun and definitely one of the best poker variants. Bets are placed between the flop (which is dealt with six cards, three for each of the upper and lower board,) and the reveal of the turn and river cards. With only one deck in play, everyone has a sporting chance of figuring out what’s being held versus what’s on the table. The best five-card hand on each of the upper and lower boards wins. If you’ve got the best hand on both — jackpot. If not, each winning hand takes a half share of the pot.

Cincinnati Poker

Move over, Omaha Poker; here comes Cincinnati Poker. With four cards per hand and four cards face-up in the middle, any combination of the player’s hand and board card can be used to make the best five-card hand. After each round of betting, just one community card is revealed. This is a great game in which to learn what a strong hand really means.

Baseball Poker

Talking of Cincinnati, here’s one for the Reds to play. Really just a variation of stud poker, this one uses baseball’s three strikes, three outs, four balls, and nine innings terminology to give those cards a special value. A 3 dealt as a hole card is wild. Players can match a 3 played in the open with the value of the pot and turn the 3 wild. The other option is to fold. A 4 dealt in the open gives that player an additional hole card and nine is a wild. If you’re all baseball fans, this makes the evening just a little bit more fun.


A poker player checks their four hole cards. They have two aces and two jacks.

This is a small variation on the classic Texas Hold ‘Em online where players are dealt four instead of two hole cards, all face down. Before and straight after the flop, each player must select a card to discard — the pressure. Then you play by the usual rules and hope you didn’t throw away the best card you were ever dealt.


You’ll definitely need some of those to see this game through. Poker takes all sorts, so be sure your friends are the kind that appreciate the concept of risk and reward, starting with a decision on the ante. Each player is dealt two or three cards face down, and the first player declares “guts” or “no guts.” Guts puts you in the game. No guts is equal to a fold. If you’re in, your bet is the amount of the ante that’s been predetermined. Once all bets have been placed, cards are revealed and the winning hand takes the pot. But it doesn’t stop there. For the next round, everyone who had “guts” and stayed in the game but lost, must place a bet equal to the size of the previous winning pot. Anyone who had “no guts” places a bet to the amount of the original ante. This game is one of the most fun poker game variations and can be pretty lucrative, too.

Blind Man’s Bluff

It’s unlikely you’ll ever make a poker tournament out of playing this one, but it’s definitely a poker game to play with friends and have some laughs, too. After you’ve been dealt your cards, you reveal them only to everyone else by holding them face forward on your forehead. How much faith do you have in your hand, knowing what everyone else has? Your bet will do the talking.

Crazy Pineapple

It’s anyone’s guess where this name of one of the many poker variants came from, but it’s one of the more challenging and will call on all the skills you’ve acquired playing online poker. The first round of betting happens after each player is dealt three cards and before the flop. Once the flop is dealt, players place a further bet, seeing how the flop now affects their hand, but at this point they must also decide on one card to discard. From this point onward, the game plays out according to classic Texas Hold ‘Em rules, with all the twists and turns you might expect.

Red River and Count Down Hold ‘Em

A poker player about to pick up poker chips from their stacks.

These are two variants of poker game Texas Hold ‘Em. In Red River, if the river card is a red suit, a further card is dealt until a black turns up — might be sooner, or later enough for it to look like a red river is running across the table. In Count Down, players may use one, both or none of their hole cards to make the best hand from their original five cards. Of the five, one must be discarded after the flop, one after the turn, and one after the river.

Follow the Queen

In this one of the many poker variations we’ve looked at, the queen features as a wild card in a Seven-Card Stud format. When a queen is dealt face up on the board or to a player, the next card dealt and all those with the same rank are considered wild. Never mind following the queen — this gets complicated as the wild card can change repeatedly within a single hand. You’ll all need your wits about you for this one.

Wild Poker

Last but not least, if it’s wild cards you’re after, in wild poker, once you’ve chosen any format, name any wild card to represent another. If you pull the one joker in the deck, use it to complete a flush, a straight or a straight flush or even use it as an ace. Anything goes in this poker variation.

Be Adventurous

Who knew there were so many variations or different formats of our old, firm favorite poker game? The next time you have a night in with friends, if you’re not playing board games, choose any one of the fun versions of poker here. Depending on how competitive or light-hearted you’re feeling, there’s a version for every mood. You can even find some of the variations online. Register here and select your version for a great online poker experience with BetMGM.

Sometimes it’s good to shake things up at the poker table. Read on to discover some variants of traditional formats you can enjoy with friends.