Texas is one of the most famous poker countries. It is home to numerous poker tournaments – the most prestigious being the World Series of Poker (WSOP). The WSOP is a series of annual tournaments that attract top gamers worldwide. In 2019, the series will feature players from all over the world. However, not all tournaments in Texas are created equal. Some are much more prestigious than others. It’s crucial to know the difference in order to succeed as a poker player in the Lone Star State.
The Best and Worst Texas Hold’ Em Tournaments
There are actually several divisions of poker in Texas. One of the most traditional forms is Texas Hold’ Em (aka Five-Card Stud). This is the game that most people think of when they think of Texas Hold’ Em. The objective of Texas Hold’ Em is to be the best five-card poker hand at completing a poker hand when all the cards are dealt. The player to the left wins with a pair of aces. The difference between the two is that in Texas Hold’ Em tournaments, players do not necessarily bet the same as the dealer. In some cases, they can check. This means the player doesn’t have to put up cash to play. In others, they may put up as much as they want to. These are called high-roller tournaments. The player on the right wins a No-Limit Hold’ Em tournament with two pairs of aces. Again, check and partner poker are available in some cases, but the game is essentially the same.
Other variants of Texas Hold’ Em include Seven-Card Stud (aka Seven-Card Stud High), Eight-Hand Poker, and Nine-Card Stud. These games are the same as the standard version, with the exception of requiring more players to partake. In addition to these standard varieties, there are also many different poker tournaments that don’t fall under any of the categories mentioned above. Some of these tournaments are:
Triple-Ace-King-High (aka Triple-A-K) Tournament
This is a high-stakes tournament game where players use any combination of the following cards: Ace, King, and High. Typically, the higher the card, the higher the stake. The object is to be the first to achieve a higher poker hand than the previous five hands dealt – without going below a pair of Jacks. This game can be a lot of fun, but it’s also extremely competitive. Triple-A-K tournaments are typically scheduled to last several hours and are held at high-stakes online casinos. They are always a part of the World Series of Poker, but not every year. This is because they only take place every few years due to the overwhelming number of players involved.
This game is similar to regular poker, with the exception of offering players a chance to win an additional reward – commonly called a ‘bonus’. Most casinos offer this game, which is available to both new and seasoned players. The main objective is to play poker against the casino’s staff and other casino guests. The player on the right managed to stay in the game for over four hours, avoiding pots of up to $100,000. After winning the initial $5,000 buy-in, the player was dealt a nine-card hand. They managed to win $1,200 in bonus money before the next dealer broke. This is made possible by playing the proper hand, knowing when to fold, and playing against multiple opponents.
This game is similar to Texas Hold’ Em, with the exception of only requiring three players. Two of the players must be human, while the third can be a computer or a smartphone app. The game is relatively easy to learn, but difficult to master. The object is for each human player to try and outwit the other two players by being the first to achieve three of a kind – using any combination of the five cards. The game is most often found in traditional casinos, but many online casinos offer versions as well.
This game is a combination of poker and darts. Players are dealt hands of cards, much like in regular poker, but in addition to this, they must also simultaneously throw darts at a moving target image projected on a screen. Each successive dart they throw adds to their score, but the total number of darts they can score is limited by the number of cards they are holding. The player on the right managed to keep their hand and score more points than any of their opponents. With the exception of one dart, which was thrown inaccurately, the player was able to rack up a massive lead and win with a perfect game.
This game is similar to Omaha High, with the exception of requiring four players and being played on a smaller scale (i.e. one at a time, as opposed to several). Red Dog is not played as often as some of the other games mentioned here, but it’s a classic that has been around since the 1940s and is always welcome at a casino. Just like in the other games mentioned thus far, the object is for each player to try and outwit the other three players by being the first to achieve a straight flush – using any combination of the seven cards. Unlike other games on this list, each human player is dealt two sets of cards, one face down and the other face up. The reason for this is to prevent players from simply looking at their opponent’s cards and thus being able to deduce the outcome. The player on the right managed to win with the help of a perfect bluff, having seen all of their opponents’ hands before making their own.
Let It Ride
This game is one of the more recent innovations to hit the market, having first made its appearance in Las Vegas casinos in the early 2010s. Essentially, players bet on whether or not the next card dealt to them will be a face card (i.e. king, queen, or jack) or a picture card (i.e. Ace, 2-10). Let It Ride is mostly found in poker venues, as it is played on a smaller scale than other games on this list. The key to winning is being able to read your opponent and know when to bet and when not to. The player on the right managed to keep a steady lead throughout their two-hour-long game, gradually increasing their chip stack until they were eventually able to cover their entire buy-in and win.
Ace-King-Queen (aka A-K-Q) Poker
This game is similar to the standard game of poker, with the exception of only requiring two cards to make a hand. One player is dealt an Ace, King, and Queen of Hearts (i.e. A-K-Q), while the other player is dealt a pair of Jacks (i.e. J-J). The first player to achieve three of a kind wins the hand. This game can be a lot of fun, but it’s also extremely competitive. The object is for each player to try and outwit the other two players by being the first to achieve three of a kind. The game can also be played with a single deck, much like traditional poker. However, unlike most traditional poker games, A-K-Q tournaments are played with two decks – one face down and the other face up. This is so that nobody can cheat by simply looking at their opponent’s cards. As mentioned, this game can be a lot of fun, but it’s also extremely competitive.
Seven-Card Stud With Joker
This game is essentially the same as regular seven-card stud, with the addition of a joker. In some casinos, this option is available for players who enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes with playing against the house. Like other games on this list, the object is for each player to try and outwit the other three players by being the first to achieve a higher poker hand than the previous five hands dealt. However, unlike most other games on this list, Seven-Card Stud With Joker allows players to keep track of all their cards by using a joker – either face down or face up, as desired – to signify whether or not they have a five-card hand. The player on the right used a joker face down and achieved the highest hand – a full house. This is made possible by being the first to achieve a pair of A-K-Qs, as well as a 10 and 10.