Texas Holdem is growing more popular every day. Tens of thousands of people are playing at the online card rooms at any given moment, traditional casinos are expanding their card rooms, and of course home game "poker nights" are easy to find.
But, once players learn the game and begin to understand some of the basic strategies that will help you come out ahead at the end of the game, it becomes obvious that texas holdem players who win consistently also play very few hands. In fact, the night for a winning holdem player usually goes like this, "Fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold . . . "
That's not very exciting. But, what can you do? Well, there is an answer. Switch from holdem to one of the High-Low games. In a high low game, the pot is split between the player with the highest hand at the table, and the player with the lowest qualifying hand. In these games, since there are often two winners, you can play twice as many hands.
From playing poker, we all know what the high hand at the table is, but what exactly is the low "qualifying" hand? It is not the same as the "lowest" hand at the table. A player must have five cards all with the rank of 8 or less. This is why you sometimes see high low games referred to as 8 or Better games. Pairs are not allowed, so a hand like 8,8,5,3,2 does not qualify. Straights and Flushes do not count against you, so a hand like 5,4,3,2,A is a wonderful low hand. In fact, it is the best low hand you can have.
How can you tell if one hand is lower than another? Simply read the cards as if they were a five-digit number. Lowest number wins. If my hand is 8,7,5,4,A and your hand is 6,5,4,3,2 my number would be 87,541. Yours would be 65,432. You have the lower number. You win.
There are several games of poker that come in both High and High-Low versions, the most popular of which is Omaha High Low. Omaha is very much like Texas Holdem, with each player receiving hold cards and sharing the cards on the board. There is a three card "flop", follwed by a "turn" card and a "river" card, exactly as in holdem.
The main difference is that in Omaha poker players are dealt four hole cards instead of two. And, players must use two, and only two cards from their hole cards to make a hand. That means being dealt four Aces is bittersweet. You must play two Aces, but you can't play all four.
You can find Omaha High Low being dealt at most of the online card rooms. We review several of the top card rooms online here at High Low Games.com. The game of Omaha high Low is dealt in both ring game style and tournament poker style. So if you enjoy tournament play, you can add Omaha High Low to your list of games.
The other popular High Low poker game is 7 Card Stud. Played like traditional 7 Card Stud, 7 Card Stud High Low adds excitement to the game by allowing more players to compete in each hand. 7 Card Stud High Low is also dealt at various poker rooms online, so you can enjoy both the popular high low games from your own home at the real, or even free money tables of an online card room.