Cash Game Introducing a new variant

MathijsVS

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Tomorrow is my second home game, and the group is open to play NLHE for most of the night, with about an hour scheduled in the middle for a new variant.

The big question is: what variant would we best introduce?

A couple people are worried about losing stacks in a variant they don't understand, so I suggested to make it a Limit game. There's only 4 of us, so I'm not worried about running out of cards in things like Stud, and we usually play microstakes (0.05/0.10, although this somehow ends up becoming 0.25/0.25 most of the time)

  • PLO
    • the most accessible, as it leans quite close to NLHE
    • tracking the pot size will be new to most players
    • playing hi/lo might just make it confusing
    • switching between games will be a bit confusing, because of the similarities to NLHE
  • 7 Card Stud
    • seems like a fun option
    • completely different from NLHE and thus prevents any confusion when switching games
    • No idea how the pot evolves here.
  • 5 Card Stud
    • doesn't seem as appetizing as 7 card
    • will be a bit faster paced than 7 card, which is a plus
  • Razz
    • will just screw people over as none of us have played lowball so far
  • 5 Card Draw
    • Seems easy to learn
    • Relatively boring, compared to the variants with open cards
 

mattross1313

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Commenting to follow the updates here.
I'm in a similar boat when my games start back up I'm keen to start introducing some mixed games. Some of my players are older and very stuck on NLHE. From your list, and my recent pondering, I am leaning towards starting with PLO. As you say, it's similar rules and hand rankings to what they are used to. They just need to remember to use 2 cards from the hand, and follow pot limits.
Over time I plan to extend this to other games.

I'm enjoying Razz & Badugi since discovering them on PokerStars recently. But just know it will be a real effort with some of my players - the bring in, who's first to act, why didnt i win, etc etc
 

MathijsVS

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Commenting to follow the updates here.
I'm in a similar boat when my games start back up I'm keen to start introducing some mixed games. Some of my players are older and very stuck on NLHE. From your list, and my recent pondering, I am leaning towards starting with PLO. As you say, it's similar rules and hand rankings to what they are used to. They just need to remember to use 2 cards from the hand, and follow pot limits.
Over time I plan to extend this to other games.

I'm enjoying Razz & Badugi since discovering them on PokerStars recently. But just know it will be a real effort with some of my players - the bring in, who's first to act, why didnt i win, etc etc

I immediately gravitated towards Omaha for all the good reasons, and then I started worrying about the point where you switch from one to the other...
 

mattross1313

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Switching the games (especially when only run 2 or 3 variations) I guess could be done per orbit or every hour? So folks get into the groove of playing PLO for a good while before switching back to NLHE? I like the dice and dealers choice approach too, but guess more variations need to be in the mix for that to work.
 

MathijsVS

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Switching the games (especially when only run 2 or 3 variations) I guess could be done per orbit or every hour? So folks get into the groove of playing PLO for a good while before switching back to NLHE? I like the dice and dealers choice approach too, but guess more variations need to be in the mix for that to work.

It's my long term goal to gradually introduce new variants and get to the point of Dealer's Choice ;)
 

Eriks

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If the players are very stuck on hold em I would start with introducing some sort on Pineapple variant.
 

MathijsVS

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If the players are very stuck on hold em I would start with introducing some sort on Pineapple variant.

It's not so much that they're stuck on Hold Em, it's more that they've never encountered a table that wasn't running NLHE, so I'm looking more away from HE
 

Eriks

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My game is dealer's choice of PLO, crazy Pineapple and NL Hold em. I'd say hold em gets called at least 60%. We also do the occasional double board bomp pot to spice things up a bit. Sometimes the 72-game.

I am looking to expand the repertoire to include some limit games such as stud, razz, hollywood, and some hi/lo variants. Just waiting on some really cool custom game plaques from @PokerChipsDesign
 

Eriks

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It's not so much that they're stuck on Hold Em, it's more that they've never encountered a table that wasn't running NLHE, so I'm looking more away from HE

I see. Not sure what it's called but one game that I really like and that's very action packed (and nothing like hold em) is a NL or PL version of 5-card stud lowball.
 

Legend5555

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If your goal is dealer's choice down the line, then you need to get people used to 7 Stud and Draw. Omaha hi is perfectly ready to understand mechanically if they know Hold Em. Strategy and hand selection is another story obviously.

So my vote is get them to play 7 Stud asap. The sooner they get used to the core 3 forms of poker (Flop, Stud, Draw) the easier it will be to introduce new games.
 

MathijsVS

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If your goal is dealer's choice down the line, then you need to get people used to 7 Stud and Draw. Omaha hi is perfectly ready to understand mechanically if they know Hold Em. Strategy and hand selection is another story obviously.

So my vote is get them to play 7 Stud asap. The sooner they get used to the core 3 forms of poker (Flop, Stud, Draw) the easier it will be to introduce new games.

Thanks, great advice! :)
 

ChaosRock

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I think you might run into one issue with the games you're considering offering. Other than NLHE and PLO, the other games are played LIMIT. With more streets than HE and PLO, those games can get very expensive if played no-limit or pot limit. We sometimes mixed those games in but we change the starting stacks to unlimited (like for limit games), use just one chip (like limit games again) but cap the total betting on the no-limit and pot limit games. It works beautifully and it is one of my favorite rotations.

Now, there's a way to transform some of those game from Limit to Pot limit, which is to deal the 4th and 5th streets at the same time and making the 7th street up and not down. It works great for stud variants played pot limit. Not sure about that change for Razz as I never played it pot limit.

For the draw games, you can make it two draws instead of three.
 

Legend5555

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I think you might run into one issue with the games you're considering offering. Other than NLHE and PLO, the other games are played LIMIT. With more streets than HE and PLO, those games can get very expensive if played no-limit or pot limit. We sometimes mixed those games in but we change the starting stacks to unlimited (like for limit games), use just one chip (like limit games again) but cap the total betting on the no-limit and pot limit games. It works beautifully and it is one of my favorite rotations.

Now, there's a way to transform some of those game from Limit to Pot limit, which is to deal the 4th and 5th streets at the same time and making the 7th street up and not down. It works great for stud variants played pot limit. Not sure about that change for Razz as I never played it pot limit.

For the draw games, you can make it two draws instead of three.
Pot limit razz sounds terrible. How do ever get past 3rd or 4th street in almost any hand? The instant someone catches a banana the hand is just over.
 

ChaosRock

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Pot limit razz sounds terrible. How do ever get past 3rd or 4th street in almost any hand? The instant someone catches a banana the hand is just over.

Yep, that's what I was think, thus the question mark for Razz. Mississippi Stud however plays really well.
 

MathijsVS

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I think you might run into one issue with the games you're considering offering. Other than NLHE and PLO, the other games are played LIMIT. With more streets than HE and PLO, those games can get very expensive if played no-limit or pot limit. We sometimes mixed those games in but we change the starting stacks to unlimited (like for limit games), use just one chip (like limit games again) but cap the total betting on the no-limit and pot limit games. It works beautifully and it is one of my favorite rotations.

Now, there's a way to transform some of those game from Limit to Pot limit, which is to deal the 4th and 5th streets at the same time and making the 7th street up and not down. It works great for stud variants played pot limit. Not sure about that change for Razz as I never played it pot limit.

For the draw games, you can make it two draws instead of three.

Not sure that I catch your drift, but my players specifically asked for a limit game, as they feel more comfortable playing like that with a new game.
It's not that they're hellbent on playing NLHE, but as I've said before, they just don't know anything else (to a lot of people I know, "poker" and "Texas Hold'Em" are synonyms) and while they're open to a new gametype, they're also a bit worried about building a stack playing NLHE, and then losing it all on some new game type.

The fact that pots don't build as fast or as big in a PL or NL game is a plus to most of them, for now.

Also keep in mind that my group consists of people who've played poker on an amateur level at best, with 90% of the guys & gals on my list not having read a single book or even googled strategy at any point :)
 

ChaosRock

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Not sure that I catch your drift, but my players specifically asked for a limit game, as they feel more comfortable playing like that with a new game.
It's not that they're hellbent on playing NLHE, but as I've said before, they just don't know anything else (to a lot of people I know, "poker" and "Texas Hold'Em" are synonyms) and while they're open to a new gametype, they're also a bit worried about building a stack playing NLHE, and then losing it all on some new game type.

The fact that pots don't build as fast or as big in a PL or NL game is a plus to most of them, for now.

Also keep in mind that my group consists of people who've played poker on an amateur level at best, with 90% of the guys & gals on my list not having read a single book or even googled strategy at any point :)

I'm gonna try and be succinct and explain what I mean:

Let's take 25¢/50¢ no-llimit or pot limit as an example. And let's say players usually buy-in for $100. A few fracs, and the workhorses $1s and $5s. A similar size LIMIT game would be around $3/$6. Maybe a little less, maybe a little more. The chips used of those games are the $1 chips. And people buy for as much as they want, since it is limit. The minimum buy-in for that game should be 25 big bets, or $150. That is the minimum to cap all streets. People buy in for much more so they don't have to be reloading.

Now you see the problem.

All of a sudden, players are a LOT deeper for the no-limit and pot-limit games. That can hurt, LOL!!!

So mixing those games have an issue of stack depth, stakes and chips.

So our compromise is to use only one chip (we use $2 or $2.50), make the buy-in unlimited BUT, we cap the total bet on the no-limit and pot-limit games so mitigate the issue of being too deep.

In our case, we do either $4/$8 or $5/$10 Limit, depending on the chips used, and for the no-limit and pot-limit games, we use only one blind $2 or $2.50 and we cap betting at $150 or $200. One can just translate that into smaller or higher stakes.

A bit clearer?

Maybe I'm just being too anal but I'm just making the comment because we've been through the same issues a few years back and that was the fix.

Obviously, each game is different and you might find the same does not apply to your games.
 
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MathijsVS

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I'm gonna try and be succinct and explain what I mean:

Let's take 25¢/50¢ no-llimit or pot limit as an example. And let's say players usually buy-in for $100. A few fracs, and the workhorses $1s and $5s. A similar size LIMIT game would be around $3/$6. Maybe a little less, maybe a little more. The chips used of those games are the $1 chips. And people buy for as much as they want, since it is limit. The minimum buy-in for that game should be 25 big bets, or $150. That is the minimum to cap all streets. People buy in for much more so they don't have to be reloading.

Now you see the problem.

All of a sudden, players are a LOT deeper for the no-limit and pot-limit games. That can hurt, LOL!!!

So mixing those games have an issue of stack depth, stakes and chips.

So our compromise is to use only one chip (we use $2 or $2.50), make the buy-in unlimited BUT, we cap the total bet on the no-limit and pot-limit games so mitigate the issue of being too deep.

In our case, we do either $4/$8 or $5/$10 Limit, depending on the chips used, and for the no-limit and pot-limit games, we use only one blind $2 or $2.50 and we cap betting at $200. One can just translate that into smaller or higher stakes.

A bit clearer?

Maybe I'm just being too anal but I'm just making the comment because we've been through the same issues a few years back and that was the fix.

Obviously, each game is different and you might find the same does not apply to your games.

Oooh, thanks for clarifying! :)

I think it's all clear now, and yeah, I see how that might be an issue.

I'm using tomorrow night as a trial. We mostly play € .05/.10 NLHE, so I'll probably switch to € .25/.50 Seven Card Stud for about an hour and use the break in between the gametypes to make sure everyone has plenty of 25ç's (and naturally the one after to make sure they color down enough of em to go back to .05/.10 HE.

That should solve the issue, right?
 

Legend5555

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I'm gonna try and be succinct and explain what I mean:

Let's take 25¢/50¢ no-llimit or pot limit as an example. And let's say players usually buy-in for $100. A few fracs, and the workhorses $1s and $5s. A similar size LIMIT game would be around $3/$6. Maybe a little less, maybe a little more. The chips used of those games are the $1 chips. And people buy for as much as they want, since it is limit. The minimum buy-in for that game should be 25 big bets, or $150. That is the minimum to cap all streets. People buy in for much more so they don't have to be reloading.

Now you see the problem.

All of a sudden, players are a LOT deeper for the no-limit and pot-limit games. That can hurt, LOL!!!

So mixing those games have an issue of stack depth, stakes and chips.

So our compromise is to use only one chip (we use $2 or $2.50), make the buy-in unlimited BUT, we cap the total bet on the no-limit and pot-limit games so mitigate the issue of being too deep.

In our case, we do either $4/$8 or $5/$10 Limit, depending on the chips used, and for the no-limit and pot-limit games, we use only one blind $2 or $2.50 and we cap betting at $150 or $200. One can just translate that into smaller or higher stakes.

A bit clearer?

Maybe I'm just being too anal but I'm just making the comment because we've been through the same issues a few years back and that was the fix.

Obviously, each game is different and you might find the same does not apply to your games.
I play a dealer's choice game with a mix of big bet and limit. We haven't really run into any serious issues.

When we do run (rare these days), we run .25/.25 PL and NL and .50/1 or .75/1.50 limit. Buy in usually around $40. We've not found stack depth in the big bet games to be an issue.
 

ChaosRock

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Oooh, thanks for clarifying! :)

I think it's all clear now, and yeah, I see how that might be an issue.

I'm using tomorrow night as a trial. We mostly play € .05/.10 NLHE, so I'll probably switch to € .25/.50 Seven Card Stud for about an hour and use the break in between the gametypes to make sure everyone has plenty of 25ç's (and naturally the one after to make sure they color down enough of em to go back to .05/.10 HE.

That should solve the issue, right?

Is the Stud game gonna be played Limit? If yes, then I think it's good. How much are players gonna be buying-in for?

So for the Stud, absolute minimum buy-in should be at least $15. That would make the N and PL games 150 bb deep.

It should definitely work as long as people don't buy-in for $50! LOL!!
 

BGinGA

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My suggestion is that you add a transition game to the mix before you add Omaha.

Pot-Limit Lazy Pineapple (Tahoe in some circles) is a great choice, as it adds two elements of Omaha (extra hole cards, with restrictions on usage) along with a slightly different betting structure (Pot-Limit vs No-Limit), while retaining the players' familiarity with NLHE mechanics.
 

MathijsVS

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Is the Stud game gonna be played Limit? If yes, then I think it's good. How much are players gonna be buying-in for?

So for the Stud, absolute minimum buy-in should be at least $15. That would make the N and PL games 150 bb deep.

It should definitely work as long as people don't buy-in for $50! LOL!!

Yup, Limit Stud so .25 with a 3-raise max. for the first 4 cards, .50 with 3-raise max for the last 3 streets.

People usually buy in for € 10, which is a little light but it's only the group's second game so they're still testing the waters I think.

Nog big spenders around who tilt the table's balance :)
 

ChaosRock

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I play a dealer's choice game with a mix of big bet and limit. We haven't really run into any serious issues.

When we do run (rare these days), we run .25/.25 PL and NL and .50/1 or .75/1.50 limit. Buy in usually around $40. We've not found stack depth in the big bet games to be an issue.

It is fair enough. IMO though, relatively speaking, the your Limit games play a little smaller comparatively to the big bet games. Again, just my opinion. If we were to keep the same proportion you use for our games, our Limit games would have no folds, LOL!! Also, if there aren't a lot of capping on your Limit games, you shouldn't have issues with reloading. In our games, if we were buying in for close to the minimum, we would be reloading all the time. Especially playing to close to the PL/NL stakes.

But as I said, every game is different.
 

Rhodeman77

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Putting a cap on the max amount bet per player for NL/PL games is pretty normal in a mixed game that has both limit and big bet games.

Otherwise the limit rounds feel less important as most of the money won/lost is in the big bet rounds.
 

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I guess it just depends on what big bet games you are playing and how much the players like to gamble. But I don't think from my experience that .25/.50 PL is equivalent to 3/6 limit. A normal heads up 3/6 limit pot in a flop game might be like $50-60 if it goes to showdown, multiway maybe $70-80. I don't see most .25/.50 NLHE pots getting that big. Maybe PLO, but not NLHE.

If pots are getting that big in .25/.50 then I would think you would just want to increase the stakes.
 

Legend5555

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Putting a cap on the max amount bet per player for NL/PL games is pretty normal in a mixed game that has both limit and big bet games.

Otherwise the limit rounds feel less important as most of the money won/lost is in the big bet rounds.
It's funny, I often find that Stud and Draw pots end up bigger than NLHE pots an average when the blinds of the limit games are 2-3x the PL/NL games.
 

ChaosRock

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Putting a cap on the max amount bet per player for NL/PL games is pretty normal in a mixed game that has both limit and big bet games.

Otherwise the limit rounds feel less important as most of the money won/lost is in the big bet rounds.

YES!!!!
 

MathijsVS

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It is fair enough. IMO though, relatively speaking, the your Limit games play a little smaller comparatively to the big bet games. Again, just my opinion. If we were to keep the same proportion you use for our games, our Limit games would have no folds, LOL!! Also, if there aren't a lot of capping on your Limit games, you shouldn't have issues with reloading. In our games, if we were buying in for close to the minimum, we would be reloading all the time. Especially playing to close to the PL/NL stakes.

But as I said, every game is different.

Honestly, this is why I made this thread :p

I was extremely worried that switching from 5ç/10ç NL to 5ç/10ç Limit would make everyone just put down money in a randomized crap shoot, but somehow it never entered my mind that I should just switch the limits :p

My suggestion is that you add a transition game to the mix before you add Omaha.

Pot-Limit Lazy Pineapple (Tahoe in some circles) is a great choice, as it adds two elements of Omaha (extra hole cards, with restrictions on usage) along with a slightly different betting structure (Pot-Limit vs No-Limit), while retaining the players' familiarity with NLHE mechanics.

I'm not sure why people keep suggesting HE-adjacent games? I mean, I get the learning curve thing, but I think a radically different poker variant will feel more like a change of pace + keep the confusion when switching games to a minimum.

Not that I don't appreciate your comment! I've never even heard of Lazy Pineapple, so I'll definitely be looking into it :D
 

Eriks

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We play NL/PLO 2/4 (swedish krona not $) and I was considering going 5/10 for limit games but maybe that's too small. Perhaps 10/20 would be better?
(Sorry for the hijack @MathijsVS )
 
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