Poker Formats

Whether table poker or video poker, poker is divided into two essential formats. Then within each poker format there are several variations. These basic formats are draw poker and stud poker. The defining difference is that in draw poker all cards are dealt upfront before the play commences whereas in stud poker the cards are dealt in stages with intermediate rounds of betting. Most video poker games are based on the draw poker format. Popular table poker games like Texas Hold 'Em and Omaha Hi Lo are stud poker games.

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The usual procedure of play in draw poker format is as follows. The players are dealt their five card hands face down at one time and the remaining deck kept aside. The players view their own poker hands and participate in one round of betting. Then they discard the cards they want to change. The dealer discards the top card from the deck, known as thre burn card in poker parlance, and deals to each player the number of cards discarded by that player. This act of “drawing” fresh cards has given the name “draw poker” to this format of the game. Then a second round of betting ensues. If more than one person is still in the game after this round then there is a showdown. The player with the highest ranking poker hand in the showdown wins the combined chips wagered. This is known as the “pot” in poker terminology. Usually the casino takes away a percent of the pot to meet its costs. This in poker is known as the rake.

The sequence of play in stud poker is different. Each player is dealt a number of cards, usually three. Then there is a round of betting. This is followed by dealing a fourth card to players still in the fray, another round of betting, dealing of the fifth card, another round of betting and the final showdown. The betting rounds in stud poker are called “streets”. The betting round after three cards have been dealt is called third street and so on. In some of the more popular variants of stud poker, like Texas Hold 'Em, the later cards are not dealt to players individually, but in a common area at the centre of the table. These are revealed one by one after each round of betting. In poker parlance these are known as community cards. That is because these cards belong to all the players. The player is required to make the highest possible ranking poker hand using the cards he holds and the balance cards from the community cards.