Guide to Poker Types, Formats & Stakes Part 1 (Types)
A Wide Selection
You don’t have to step out of your door to find poker action these days, and there’s a wider variety of games running out there today than there have ever been before.
It can take a while to find your spot in the poker ecosystem, and it can also be tempting to try out too many formats at once, in which case you’ll wind up learning a little about a lot and being unable to excel in anything. This is a good recipe for standing still and failing to progress in your game. It’s fine to get a taste of a few formats, and check stuff out, but don’t get stuck trying to study and progress seriously in several poker forms at once. It just won’t end well.
We recommend reading the following guide to poker formats and stakes, and also potentially reading over our guide to bankroll management, as well as our guides to individual poker sites. It’s also a good idea to check out and sit some orbits of play for a variety of poker formats at the beginning. Once you’ve got a feel and a sense of which format you’d like to study and try to excel in, pick one and go deep with it.
We’ll consider some of the pros and cons of grinding the main available game types and formats below, and there sure are a lot to choose from! We’ll divide this discussion into a series of articles; Game Types (for example No Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha), Poker Formats (for example MTT Freezeouts, MTT Progressive Knockouts, Spin & Gos, regular cash games, zoom cash games), and Poker Stakes (looking briefly at the toughness across a range of sites for different stakes in different formats).
No Limit Hold’em
Far and away still the most popular game type of all time and of the modern game, stands No Limit Texas Hold’em, the behemoth of poker forms. With no limit to the raise size permitted on any street, stacks can get all-in at any moment.
Ironically largely banned in its home state of Texas, US, NL Hold’em has dominated poker across much of the world for effectively all of the time poker has been a major pastime in the States.
Each player is dealt two private hole cards before the board is dealt, and there is a round of betting. Your best five card hand is constructed using the board cards which come down amidst three rounds of betting on the flop (3 cards), turn (1 card) and river (1 final card).
You can play so many formats of NL Hold’em it’s bewildering, and there’s far more volume of play of this format both live and online than any other. We’ll look into all the most common forms below.
There are many other variants of Hold’em, such as Fixed Limit, which used to have greater popularity especially live, and newer emergent variants, such as NL 6+, a game in which some of the usual cards in the deck are removed such that odd effects occur, such as full houses becoming more common than flushes.
Pot Limit Omaha
Far and away the most popular game type other than NL Hold’em, funnily enough Pot Limit Omaha is also banned across Omaha in the majority of cases.
PLO is an even more frenetic game of betting than NLHE, even though in practice pots are capped due to the pot limit restriction on betting. This is because there are so many outs and hands to hit in Omaha, as we are dealt not two hole cards but four. Still we are restricted to using a maximum of two of our four hole cards to build our five card hand, which must therefore utilise three of the board cards. Other than these key differences, play proceeds just as in NLHE.
The upshot of all of this is that equities run very close and therefore variance is higher in PLO than in NLHE, but bad players tend to make bigger and more aggressive mistakes.
There are many other forms of Omaha including Hi-Lo, a format where half the pot is awarded to the best hand and half the pot to the worst hand, and you can use any two of your four hole cards to make either hand type, thus sometimes holding the best high and low, and scooping the pot. There is also a format with five hole cards dealt, PLO5.
8-Game & Others
If you ever decide you really want to peek under the hood of poker, there are a lot of fascinating game formats within 8-game, which spreads regularly on Pokerstars. Here you’ll find No Limit and Fixed Limit Hold’em, PLO and Omaha Hi-Lo, as well as Razz (a low card wins format), Triple Draw 2-7 (a super-fun lowball draw game) and 7 Card Stud and Stud Hi-Lo. That’s a load of poker rules to dive into! There are sometimes 8-game tournaments as well.
Another popular format on some of the apps is Open-Face Chinese, which is too diverged from the above formats to do justice here, but is essentially a very complex, but solvable game of rearranging made hands into different sets in a game where you hold a huge number of cards each.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour of the most common poker types!
Simoes has done it, closing out an immense run to top a field of 1,073 runners and taking down the prestigious €5,300 European Poker Tour Monte Carlo Main Event ! In doing so he also becomes the first Brazilian to ever ship an EPT Main , winning the trophy along with a sick €939,840 in prize money. Marcelo Simoes is a big player in Brazil, where his previous best score was $109k for first in a $900 BSOP Main Event back in 2017. With this result being almost 10x bigger, he must be walking on air after his trip to Monaco. The Brazilian player was the only representative of South America featured on the final table, busting out players from across Europe and the United States to secure the win, including Spanish PokerStars Pro Ramon Colillas . How did the action go down? During six-handed play Simoes really shone, building a huge chip lead thanks to consistently aggressive play. Across a hectic half-hour's play, German Erkan Soenmez , French Hugo Pingray , US player Jaime Cervantes and Dragos Trofimov from Moldova were all eliminated, leaving just Simoes and Danish player Morten Hvam to fight it out heads-up. The heads-up itself was also a short one, lasting under an hour. In the final hand, Hvam opened to 500k at 125k/250k (250k bb ante) blinds and faced a 3bet from Simoes to 1.3 million which he called. The flop came down 9 ♦ 7 ♦ 6♠ and Simoes continuation bet a further 1 million . Hvam considered briefly before shoving all-in, a total of 3.4 million chips, with Simoes snap-calling him. Simoes tabled K ♥ K ♦ for the overpair, and all Hvam had to show was the K♣T ♦ for a gutshot with overs. When the board ran out 5♠, J ♦ the Dane was eliminated, and Simoes was crowned EPT Monte Carlo Main Event Champion for 2022. EPT Monte Carlo Main Event 2022 Winners and Payouts Place Player Earnings (USD) 1 Marcelo Simoes Mesqueu $986,832 2 Morten Hvam $592,872 3 Dragos Trofimov $417,469 4 Jaime Cervantes $313,645 5 Hugo Pingray $239,883 6 Erkan Soenmez $175,402 It was a long, hard battle for the Brazilian over five days of intense poker action, and a well-deserved win for this passionate poker player. We are sure that his family and friends back home will be celebrating his win for Brazil for a long time to come. Well played sir. Image courtesy of Pokerstars
He's had a wild ride to get here, and besting a field of 1,014 entrants Daniel Lakerveld has done it, he has gone on to take it down in first place after eliminating Simon Gyorgy heads-up and taking the win in the spring Malta Poker Festival Grand Event. The end game was surprisingly fast and brutal in this one, with players busting out almost ceaselessly late on Sunday evening as they played down to 18 . Our PokerDeals Last Longer winner was finally crowned, as Robert Lim was eliminated in 17th place when his K ♦ T ♦ couldn't hold up against James Clarke's Q♠J♠ . This made Federico Petruzzelli the winner of a free entry to the very next Malta Poker Festival Grand Event (as well as a PokerDeals hoodie of course!). Petruzzelli himself was also sadly eliminated in 13th place when his A♠6♠ could not catch up with Chris da Silva's 9♣9 ♥ . Federico Petruzzelli - PokerDeals Last Longer Winner! Final Day Action at Malta Poker Fest Across those first hours of play, o ne by one the field fell away until it teetered on the very brink of the final table - just one player left to go out for the final table of nine to be formed. It was James Clarke's fate to be the bubble man, although you might argue he made that fate himself. In a limped pot good for 480k , Clarke checked back the 5♣2 ♦ with composure but then on the T ♥ T♠5 ♦ flop the Brit opted to rip almost 4x the pot with his remaining stack, giving Silva, who held T♣7 ♦ , a very easy chip-up with his hand. The 8 ♦ , 4 ♦ runout did absolutely nothing for him, and Clarke walked out as the Final Table bubble, 10th for €5,500 . James Clarke When Polish player Piotr Tuczynski got dealt QcJc in the Big Blind early on in the final table of nine he had two options, facing a 400k min-bet from Chris da Silva . He could flat or he could jam, with his 17bbs . Both fine options. He chose the latter, and he might have regretted it shortly thereafter as he ran straight into da Silva's A ♥ Q ♥ . The Q♠8♣6 ♦ 4 ♥ 6♣ runout could not help him, and he went home in ninth with €6,500 for his troubles. Piotr Tuczynski Nicolay Langfeldt from Norway had just got short. Like really short. With no time to waste, he put his last 425k , less than 2bbs at time time, into the pot with K ♦ J ♦ , met Georgios Ninis' A♠9♠ in the middle, and could not win the standoff, losing as he did on an A ♥ 8 ♦ T ♦ T ♥ 5 ♥ board and exiting in eighth with a €7,500 payday. Nicolay Langfeldt In a similar story, UK player Stephen Kane got his last 4 bigs in facing a min-open from da Silva on the Button and sitting in the Big Blind. He was met with an ace under ace situation - his A♣6 ♦ against da Silva's much prettier A♠T♠ , and the T♣6♣7 ♦ J♠ Q♠ runout was nothing more than a tease. Kane busted in seventh with €9,000 to mop up his tears. Stephen Kane Polish Pawel Zawadowicz was powering through at the end of Day 2, as Chip Leader coming into today, but he had to put his last chips in the middle sometime, and this was the moment, as he looked down at A ♥ K ♥ . A shove, he decided, with just south of 12bbs in his 3.5 million chip stack . He was in the Cutoff , it might certainly look weaker than an open to some players. Lakerveld had too good a hand to think twice, with 8 ♥ 8♠ on the Button. The two players flipped it out, and Lakerveld landed on his feet, with a T ♦ 6♠2♠ flop making him a firm favourite. The turn and river brought nothing but a Jack and a five of ♠ s for the Pole, and the pain of elimination, and he walked out in sixth, taking home €11,000 with him. Pawel Zawadowicz Greek Georgios Ninis had been playing a solid game. He got it in on this final table in an excellent spot, A ♦ 5 ♦ on a 9 ♥ 2♣5♣ 5♠ board against a worse five, exactly what you want. Gyorgi Simon was the other involved, stuck in there with just T ♥ 5 ♥ . Then a miracle - the T♠ ! With very even stacks Ninis was struck out in fifth in a huge near 9 million chip pot. Ninis took away €14,000 in winnings from this one. Georgios Ninis Dutch player Jasper van Moorsel got it in in very fine shape with his J♣J♠ blind vs. blind against Simon Gyorgy's Q♣7 ♥ , but it was his turn to run bad as a Q ♥ in the window followed by a 5♣2 ♥ K♠ K♣ spelled the end for van Moorsel and had him out in fourth, cashing for €18,000 . Jasper van Moorsel When Simon Gyorgy put his 10 million stack in the middle from the Button and it folded to British player Chris da Silva's Big Blind , da Silva decided this was the spot to take a stand, and called it off with A ♥ 3♠ . Gyorgy showed down 4♣4♠ for the best hand preflop, and just to make the point, boated up on a Q♣8♣4 ♦ 8 ♦ 6 ♦ board runout. Da Silva, a live Pokerstars Pro, has to settle for third place this time, and €25,000 . Chris da Silva There had been some talk of a deal at three, and at two players remaining, but in the end no deal was struck, and Hungarian Simon Gyorgy would square up against Dutch player Daniel Lakerveld heads-up, playing for the trophy and a final pay-jump of €28,000 . The heads-up was, like the final table itself, to be relatively short-lived and dramatic, with the two players entering level 34 with roughly even stacks at 25-26 million apiece. With blinds at 300k/600k Lakerveld min-opened and Gyorgy called to see a T♠5 ♦ 3 ♥ flop, on which Lakerveld continuation bet 600k and Gyorgy called. The 8♣ turn was checked by both players, but on the 5♠ river something overtook both players. First of all Gyorgy checked, and Lakerveld overbet, 3.5 million. Then Gyorgy after the tiniest of hesitations jammed it in, to be immediately called. Gyorgy revealed K♠5 ♥ for trips, but Lakerveld had the best trips of all, holding A ♥ 5♣ . Simon Gyorgy - runner up Thus this incredible Grand Event was brought to its conclusion in fitting style with an epic cooler, Gyorgy departed €43,000 richer as runner up, and Daniel Lakerveld shipped the trophy, the €71,000 and the glory! Daniel Lakerveld - Malta Poker Festival Grand Event Champion 2022! Malta Poker Festival 2022 Final Table Results Place Name Country Prize 1 Daniel Lakerveld Netherlands €71,000 2 Simon Gyorgy Hungary €43,000 3 Chris da Silva United Kingdom €25,000 4 Jasper van Moorsel Netherlands €18,000 5 Georgios Ninis Greece €14,000 6 Pawel Zawadowicz Poland €11,000 7 Stephen Kane United Kingdom €9,000 8 Nicolay Langfeldt Norway €7,500 9 Piotr Tuczynski Poland €6,500 We have thoroughly enjoyed our time here in the lovely land of Malta covering this series for you, and the vibe has been excellent throughout. Good weather, good people, and oh-such-good games! We'll be back to do it all again soon, and we hope you will too. Remember to catch our live updates for the next big tournament. In the meantime, if you'd like to touch base or hang out, please connect with us over on the PokerDeals Discord channel. May the poker gods shine on you, and best of luck. by Lucky Luke
You have to hand it to PokerGO , the big events and ultimate entertainment just keep on flowing! It was a stroke of genius to come up with the format for this latest event, offering spots to the top of the PokerGO Tour leaderboard in a $25k buy-in Heads-up event and then filling out the remaining spots with big names from the game and entertaining "poker celebs”. Players were divided into four sections of eight identified by suits of the deck, and here's a quick breakdown of who made it through. Image courtesy of PokerGo This game was played for keeps, one match only, no re-matches, and $25k on the line. Amongst the heroic contenders eliminated in this first brutal round were the legendary Shaun Deeb , Jared Bleznick , arch-wizard Phil Galfond and staunch battleaxe Scott Seiver , amongst many other worthy contenders. Hellmuth and Persson Face Off We also lost, amidst a lot of bad language, on the feature table, the entertainer himself, Phil Hellmuth . Mr Positivity did lose his cool at the very end as his stack got fully mangled by opponent Eric Persson , and it was quite the psychological battle. Persson pulled no punches in talking foul to Phil , eventually earning himself a warning, but at one point both players were warned about their behaviour and language. Not quite what you might want to see on the feature table of a headline event, but entertaining in its own way, and not entirely unexpected in a clash between these two fiery and strong-minded characters. This leaves Daniel Negreanu as clearly the most legendary player remaining in the running, although some incredibly strong opponents also progressed to the next round such as Eric Seidel, Sean Winter and Alex Foxen . Check out this and more in the coverage from the day on YouTube. The reporting does a great job of roaming across the tables, and you can see all your favourite characters sweat it out in what were truly engrossing heads-up matches. Tune in to the PokerDeals Discord to tell us about what you thought of these epic confrontations! Well done PokerGO , and do please keep serving up these huge events!
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