Most Popular Poker Games Over Time
The game of poker is not limited to a single form of the game, but there are many different variations that can be played. Most variations of the game loosely follow the same group of rules that govern play and differ in the specifics of how many cards are given to a player as well as betting limits, use of community cards, and other factors. Over the course of poker history, the most popular game has changed several times, starting from Five Card Stud in the beginning and reaching to Texas Hold ‘Em, today’s most popular version.
As poker became more prominent in the United States during the American Civil War, the version that was most commonly played was Five Card Stud. In this form of the game, a player pays an ante and then receives two down cards and one up card. Two additional up cards are added, with a round of betting in between each.
Because each player’s hand is limited to only five cards without replacement or drawing, the best hand is often low in relative terms to the list of hand rankings. These lesser value hands eventually led to another game becoming the most popular.
Shortly after the American Civil War ended, poker players came up with a new game, called Five Card Draw. This introduced more hand possibilities to poker. In this version, a player is dealt five cards after paying an ante and then can choose to have any number of cards in their hand replaced with new cards from the deck. This stage of replacement gives players the chance to improve their hands considerably and made standard poker games more dynamic than the previous Five Card Stud version.
Although the exact date and location are not known, it is thought that Seven Card Stud was introduced around the turn of the century and quickly became the game of choice across the country. Similar to Five Card Stud, there is no drawing stage, but players are eventually given a total of seven cards from which the best five card hand must be constructed.
Play is very close to Five Card Stud, with players receiving two down cards and one up card after the ante. After each successive betting round, each player still with a hand receives another up card. The seventh and final card is dealt face down and after the final round of betting is complete, players that still have cards must show their hands to see who is declared the winner of the pot.
In the modern poker age, the most popular game has transitioned from Seven Card Stud to Texas Hold ‘Em. The primary reason for this change has been the increased pace of the game. The time needed to play a hand of Hold ‘Em is much lower than Seven Card Stud, meaning players are able to play more hands in a shorter amount of time. In addition, relative ease of play involved in Texas Hold ‘Em has translated to more players learning to play poker with this variation.