For centuries, poker has been played in various forms, but its popularity has soared in the 21st century, leading to the creation of some truly innovative and off-the-wall tournaments and variations. These games offer a welcome change of pace for players who crave something different, from the wacky and wild to the downright quirky. In this article, we'll take a closer look at some of the most creative and unique poker tournaments and variations that have surfaced in recent years.
Bounty Hunter Tournaments
In a bounty tournament, each player starts with a bounty on their head, which means that any player who eliminates them from the tournament wins the bounty. This adds an extra layer of strategy to the game, as players need to balance the risk of trying to eliminate other players with the risk of being eliminated themselves.
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Chinese poker is a variation of poker that’s becoming increasingly popular. In this game, players receive 13 cards and must arrange them into three hands: a three-card hand, and two five-card hands. The hands are then compared against the hands of other players, and points are awarded based on who has the highest-ranking hands. This game is challenging and requires players to use different strategies than they would in a standard game of poker.
Dealer’s Choice Tournaments
In a dealer's choice tournament, the dealer gets to choose which variation of poker is played in each hand. This means that players need to be skilled in a variety of different games, as they won't always know what they'll be playing the next hand. This format adds an element of surprise and unpredictability to the game and keeps players on their toes.
Strip Poker Tournaments
The concept of strip poker is nothing new, but organising an actual tournament around it is a relatively new development. Players in a strip poker tournament play a standard game of poker, but with the added rule that losing a hand means removing an article of clothing. As you can imagine, these tournaments can get quite wild, and they’re not for everyone, but they’re definitely a unique twist on the classic game.
Win The Button Tournaments
In a Win The Button tournament, the player who wins the hand becomes the dealer for the next hand. This format adds an extra incentive to win hands, as the player who wins the hand also gets to act last in the following hand. This format is particularly popular in European tournaments.
Spin and Go Tournaments
Spin and Go tournaments are a type of sit-and-go tournament where the prize pool is determined by a random spinning wheel before the tournament begins. These tournaments are fast-paced and can be a lot of fun, as players never know what the prize pool will be until the spinning wheel reveals it. Spin and Go tournaments are popular on many online poker sites and have become a fan favourite among players.
Related: Learn more about Spin & Go Tournaments
Tag Team Tournaments
Image Source: Upswing Poker
One popular poker tournament variation is the tag team event, where players team up in groups of two or more and take turns playing individual hands. After each hand, team members switch places, and the team with the highest combined chip count at the end of the tournament wins. This format not only allows players to strategize with their teammates but also relies on each other's skills for success.
Tag team events have become increasingly popular in recent years, and in 2016, Ryan Fee and Doug Polk even won the inaugural WSOP Tag Team bracelet for their performance in the tag team tournament.
Double Board Hold'em
Double Board Hold'em is a variation of Texas Hold'em that's played with two boards. Each player receives two separate sets of community cards and must make the best possible hand on both boards. This game is challenging and requires a lot of skill, as players need to be able to effectively manage their two hands simultaneously.
PLO-5 / Courchevel
Courchevel, also known as PLO-5, is a variation of Omaha Hold’em, but with one key difference: players are dealt five hole cards instead of four. Players must use two of their hole cards in combination with three of the five community cards to make their best hand. This variation is popular in many European casinos and is a fun and challenging variation of traditional Omaha.
Related: Learn more about PLO-5
In conclusion, the world of poker is constantly evolving, and there are always new and creative variations and tournaments being developed. These games offer a fun and exciting change of pace for players who are looking for something different from the traditional games of Texas Hold’em and Omaha. From strip poker tournaments to double board hold’em, there is no shortage of quirky and creative poker variations to explore. So next time you're looking for a new challenge, give one of these creative poker games a try and see what new strategies and skills you can develop.