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HomeNewsSix Variants of No-Limit Hold’em That Will Surprise You

Six Variants of No-Limit Hold’em That Will Surprise You

The organizers of The Asian Poker Tour Vietnam in 2023 approached the schedule creatively: in addition to the usual NLHE, PLO, Short Deck, and HORSE events, they added unusual events featuring different variant of NLHE.

One variety is somewhat similar to Stud. In another, the second strongest hand wins. And in the third, you can form a combination that doesn’t exist in other poker variants. We’ll tell you about the rules of these games and the results of the past events.

NLHE – Rivers

NLHE with Rivers is a variant of NLHE where the dealing from preflop to the turn proceeds as usual in regular Hold’em. However, each player receives a separate river card. There are two variations of this discipline:

  1. Rivers: Each player receives a river card face down (players only see their own river card).
  2. Lazy Rivers: Each player receives a river card face up (players can see each other’s river cards).

At the APT, three NLHE Rivers tournaments with buy-ins of $172 and $215 were scheduled.

NLH – Rivers is not a new discipline. It’s played not only in Asia but also in Latin America. A NLH – Rivers tournament was held at the Brazilian Series of Poker 2019.

NLHE – Crazy Pineapple

NLHE – Crazy Pineapple is a variant of NLHE where each player is dealt three cards. On the flop, each player must discard one card, and then the dealing continues as in regular Hold’em.

One tournament with a buy-in of $172 was scheduled for the series. When searching for “NLH – Crazy Pineapple,” Google only returns websites with rules for Pineapple (Chinese Poker).

NLHE – Deuces Wild

NLHE – Deuces Wild is a variant of NLHE where the deuce (two) can represent any card.

Due to this rule, a new combination arises, which doesn’t exist in other poker variants: 5 of a Kind (five cards of the same rank). This combination beats a straight flush but is weaker than a royal flush.

Another feature of NLH Deuces Wild: if a player is dealt a pocket pair of twos, they must reveal their cards. The player is declared the winner pre-flop and takes the blinds and antes. This rule isn’t coincidental: regardless of the board cards, a player with a pocket pair of twos always collects a nuts. Therefore, the strategic aspect of the game becomes less important.

The $172 NLH – Deuces Wild attracted 38 entries. The winner was Martijn Gerrits from the Netherlands, winning +$2K.

Martijn Gerrits

NLH – Deuces Wild is not a new game. Tournaments in this discipline were held at the EPT in 2014-2015.

NLHE – Double Board, Single Winner (the only variant of NLHE you could text online)

NLHE with Double Board is a variation where two flops, two turns, and two rivers are dealt. In the “Single Winner” variant, the player who forms the strongest combination on either board takes the entire pot.

There is another variant of Double Board where the pot is divided between players who have the strongest combinations on each board.

The $172 NLH – Double Board Single Winner attracted 77 entries. The winner was Ko Goto from Japan, winning +$3.2K.

Tournaments featuring a double board are rare, but you can encounter double boards at PLO tables in mobile applications.

Hold’em with Double Board (Split Holdem) was introduced on PokerStars in 2018. However, the discipline lasted only 6 weeks in the lobby.

PokerStars Split Holdem

Super Holdem (variant of NLHE with 3 hole cards, use 0, 1, 2, 3 cards)

Super Hold’em is a variation where players are dealt three hole cards. The dealing proceeds as in regular Hold’em. Players can use 1, 2, or all 3 hole cards, or even none, to form their hand, utilizing only the board cards.

At the APT, two Super Hold’em tournaments were held.

The $344 Super Hold’em attracted 15 entries. The winner was Yoshida Daigo from Japan, winning $2.2K.

The $172 Super Hold’em attracted 21 entries. The winner was Jia Zhang from Taiwan, winning $1.7K.

Jia Zhang

NLHE – 2nd Best Hold’em (variant of NLHE that could blown your mind)

The most challenging variation to understand is one where the second strongest hand at showdown wins the pot.

If only two players reach showdown, the player with the weaker hand wins. However, in multi-way pots, you must determine the second strongest hand. For example: three players went to the flop with pocket pairs of 77, 88, and 99. The board showed 2346Q. The player with 88 wins the pot.

The $172 NLH – 2nd Best Hold’em attracted 35 entries. The winner was Ngoc Le from Vietnam, winning +$1.9K.

Ngoc Le

Can you play this ant others variant of NLHE online?

Not yet, but theoretically, all of these games could appear on the internet. Firstly, they are all variations of Hold’em — online players prefer two cards over four. Secondly, online platforms host more volatile and complex poker formats, such as Teen Patti, which are harder to understand.