Poker vs. Texas Holdem – The Best Way to Master Different Formats
Sometimes players talk about poker and Texas Holdem as separate things, but in reality, “poker” is a broad name of all different formats.
There are many variations that we can add to the name poker, which include well-known games such as:
- Texas Holdem
- Pot-Limit Omaha
- 7 Card Stud
- Casino poker variations
- And various less popular formats
All of these games are very different from each other, and even if you know how to play Texas Holdem poker quite well, you could have a lot of problems if you decide to sit down in PLO or Stud games.
Everything is different, from betting structure to different cards using an entirely different game flow. Some of the formats even have different hand rankings, so it surely makes sense to learn a thing or two before sitting down to play.
So you might ask why you often hear a comparison of poker vs. Texas Holdem?
Well, simply because it is the most popular poker game played all over the world, and some people associate Texas Holdem to poker, and as we see, it can stick.
Therefore, you should remember that there is no difference between poker and Texas Holdem since one name simply overlaps another.
While you can find many casino variations of poker that are even similar to slots, for most of these games, there is some strategy involved, and you can actually make educated decisions.
I want to clear all of the doubts you might have about different formats and share how all of these games defer from each other, and why poker is not only Texas Holdem but all of the other formats as well.
Texas Holdem Poker
As I already mentioned, from all poker formats, Texas Holdem is the most popular one in the world, and that’s why you will see it on almost all televised events, broadcasts, and even movies.
If you haven’t seen “Rounders” yet, I highly recommend you taking a look at this fantastic movie, which features Texas Holdem poker at its best and shows how everything depends only on you. Which is a good idea to have while going into the game.
How to play Texas Holdem poker
Learning advanced Texas Hold’em poker strategy might take you a lot of time, but it is not that hard to understand the basic rules.
One of the first thing you need to consider is hand rankings, which determines who will win the hand at the end. Luckily there Texas Holdem and poker formats rankings are identical in all of the games that we will cover today, so you only need to go over it once.
By the end of the hand, your goal is to make the best five-card combination or force all of your opponents to fold so that you could take down the pot.
Here is poker game flow in Texas Holdem:
- Players in immediate left to the dealer places the blinds
- Everyone gets two cards faced down (hole cards)
- The first betting round begins, and players choose either they fold or play their hand
- Then the first three community cards, called the “FLOP” are dealt (every player can use these cards to make the best combination with their hole cards)
- Then the second betting round happens
- After it, the 4th community card is dealt – the “TURN”
- Yet another betting round takes place
- The last 5th card is dealt in the middle on the table – the “RIVER”
- The last betting round before revealing the hands or folding
As you see, the game is not that hard to understand, but Texas Holdem poker requires a lot of practice to master all the nuances and become competent at a higher level of this game.
Pot-Limit Omaha Poker
The second game I want to cover, which has quite a few differences in regards to Texas Holdem, is Pot-Limit Omaha. It is easily the second most popular poker game in the world and can give you a lot of fun if you learn to enjoy it.
The biggest differences between PLO poker and Texas Holdem
Image from Pokernews
There are quite a few similarities in this game, but without understanding the main differences between this poker format vs. Texas Holdem, you will not have much success in these games. So let’s cover the most important ones here:
- Instead of getting two hole cards, every player receives four cards
- Even though you have four cards, you can and must use two cards from your hand when making the final combination (if you have only one spade in your hand, an A of spades, and there are four spades on the board, you do not have a flush since you MUST use two out of your four hole cards to make the hand)
- Omaha is often played as “Pot Limit,” meaning you can only bet the amount that is already in the pot, and Texas Holdem is played as “no-limit” format, meaning you can bet as much as you want and whenever you want
- PLO often creates bigger pots because when players receive four cards instead of two, they will have more draws and made hands, so likely will be betting and calling more often.
- There are way more draws in PLO when comparing this poker variant vs. Texas Holdem
There are not that many differences in poker rules, but there is a lot of differences in poker strategy itself.
How to play PLO poker
The game is played just like Texas Holdem poker, and you only need to account for differences that we already covered in the previous paragraph.
You can also adopt a small ball poker strategy since you will have plenty of draws and want to see other cards as cheaply as you possibly can. So try this game, and you will see for yourself how fun it could be.
7-Card Stud Poker
7 Card Stud is an entirely different poker, and Texas Holdem players can struggle when trying it out. That being said, the seven-card stud is an exciting old game, which also has fans all over the world.
More and more players join WSOP events that feature this game, and its popularity only continues to grow. On top of that, other STUD variations often hit the table, but let’s concentrate on the most common one.
The biggest differences between STUD poker and Texas Holdem
Where do I even begin?
It would be easier to say that the only thing that is similar in these games is their hand rankings.
Image from Pokernews
- Unlike Texas Holdem poker, stud does not have community cards that every player could use
- Each player is dealt 7 cards throughout the game (assuming they don’t fold)
- All those cards are dealt in five different rounds, which betting happening between every of those. Cards are dealt as follows:
- Player gets three cards, from which two are faced down, and only the player can see it, and one card is faced-up so is visible to everyone at the table
- 4th card is dealt face-up
- 5th card is dealt face-up
- 6th card is dealt face-up
- 7th card are dealt face-down
- So every player see 4 cards of their opponent and three cards is unknown to them
- As I mentioned, there is a betting round after each card is dealt
- You can use only five cards to make your best hand combination according to standard Texas Holdem poker hand rankings.
- A player with the best hand or one who makes everyone fold wins at the end.
- 7 card stud is almost always played as a limit game, meaning you can only bet fixed amount based on the limit you play and can’t decide just to go all-in on the flop like in Texas Hold’em.
How to play 7 card stud
As you see, there are a lot of differences comparing Texas Holdem vs. poker variant of STUD, and the whole gameplay also has significant distinctions.
While players in Texas Holdem poker place blinds based on dealer position, in STUD, every player posts an ante, which is basically a small fee for paying, and only then the cards are dealt.
The players who have the lowest visible card (remember, out of three first cards that are dealt, only one is visible to everyone) start the action, and he has to “bring-in” half the amount of small bet. So if you are playing a game of $20/$40, the bring-in is going to be $10.
However, the player also has an option to bet $20 rather than just bring-in $10 if he has a good hand. From here, all betting occurs clockwise, and the game continues like in the simple poker format of Texas Holdem.
As you see, there are many differences between Texas Holdem and poker formats that require a different approach, but learning all of these games can only add fun to your overall experience, so you might give it a try!
Texas Holdem vs. Poker Games In Casinos
On top of previously mentioned formats where you are playing against other players, you can also find plenty of casino poker games where you are playing against the house.
Of course, these games are entirely different, and luck plays a much bigger part since the house always has an edge, but the sound strategy can help you win much more often, even in these games.
Casino poker offers a much more relaxed setup since you do not need to face pressure from other players or uncomfortable staredowns when you play.
So how are these games played?
Well, every variation has its own rules, but for the most part, you are making a bet before the hand is dealt and then try to beat the hand of the dealer.
The most popular casino poker variations are:
- Ultimate Texas Holdem
- Pai Gow Poker
- Caribbean Stud
- Russian Poker
- 3-Card Poker
So if you want to try your luck in the casino while still playing poker, these games can offer you exactly that. With added benefits of decision making and strategic play like in Blackjack, you can put your skills to the test.
Summary: Poker vs. Texas Holdem Once And For All
As you already know, we can’t separate poker and Texas Holdem, since these are just overlapping names in the industry.
Texas Holdem is a specific format, while poker refers to all variation of this game that exists.
The next time someone throws you this term, be ready to understand what this actually means and even explain it to others if needed.