- Although Texas Hold’Em is the most popular, it pays to learn other poker games
- Knowledge is power, and an understanding of other poker games will be essential if you want to increase your overall advantage
- Hold’Em is a psychological game, whereas Stud and Omaha are more about the cards and maths
Texas Hold’em is by far the most popular form of poker played today, and it’s not hard to see why. Aside from being virtually the only game played in all those televised tournaments, it is also deceptively simple and easy to learn. It’s fast-paced, full of action, and basically a lot of fun. But there are many other forms of poker currently being played in today’s casinos, and there are a great many advantages to knowing how to play them well.
For a beginning poker player, just sticking with Hold’em and trying to master that game is probably the best way to go. Since Hold’em is the most popular game, it is also the game that is easiest to find and the most profitable for building up a bankroll. But once a player has achieved a good level of expertise in Hold’em, he or she should give some serious consideration to branching out into other games.
To begin with, knowing how to play a variety of poker games offers you much greater flexibility in game selection, which is one of the most vital elements to long-term successful play. There might not always be a good Hold’em game available at your limit. The games may be too full, or the opposition may be too tough. If you know how to play several different types of poker well, this allows you the opportunity to always find the best, softest, more profitable games around.
And once you begin to get serious about your poker education, learning different games will help to give you a more solid grounding in poker theory. When you see basic poker concepts at work in different ways in various games, you gain a new understanding of those concepts. Knowledge is power, and learning new games will give you more overall poker knowledge. Understanding such things as why bluffing is very effective in this game but not that, or how a slow-play works in that game as opposed to this, can enhance your ability to play all forms of poker.
It’s not all just Texas Hold’Em!
Each form of poker has its own unique “flavour.” Hold’em is a very psychological game. Stud and Omaha are more about the cards and the math. Bluffing and aggression are vital elements in Hold’em, but they are much less important in split-pot games. Hold’em is usually volatile; Stud and split-pot games are generally more stable. When you know how to play all of these games, you can choose the game that best fits your current frame of mind. One day you may find that you’re not really in the mood for a wild, aggressive, no-fold’em-hold’em game, and on that day you could opt for a more “quiet” game of Stud Hi-Lo. Or perhaps you’re very much in the mood for some exciting action, and on that day you could play some pot-limit Omaha. And the happier you are, the more likely you will be to play your best.
You may also find to your surprise that you have a talent and an affinity for another game other than Hold’em. Your personality may be better-suited for Omaha or Stud or split-pot games. But you’ll never know if you don’t try. In the same vein, you may find someday that, for whatever reason, you’re running badly in one form of poker, but doing very well in another. If this is ever the case, being able to play that other game allows you to keep playing poker and winning money, while you work out the kinks in your problem game.
In any form of investing, there are two Golden Rules that should always be obeyed, and one of them is to “Diversify.” (“Buy low, sell high” is the other rule, btw.) So think of learning new games as a way of diversifying your investment in your poker career. It’s good business sense. Hitching your poker wagon to only one star might take you a very long way, but it also exposes you to more risk in the long run. If you are fairly new to the game, by all means stick with one game only until you are confident that you can play it well. But once you’ve achieved that level of competence, learning other games will offer you a wealth of new poker opportunities.