The most obvious reason why Texas Holdem is the most popular poker variant is that it is the main form of poker you will see. Success breeds success!
When comparing Texas Holdem vs poker variants, the choice is obvious for numerous players. Most people start out playing Five Card Draw as kids, but if you get back into poker as an adult, chances are it’s going to be Holdem.
All the major poker tournaments and poker TV shows feature Holdem. It’s the main game in casinos and online card rooms.
And if poker is featured in a non-poker movie or TV show then it’s nearly always Texas Holdem.
Simply put, Texas Holdem has great brand recognition – it’s the Coca-Cola of poker!
Texas Holdem is a game of skill, but there is also an element of chance, and this means bad players can beat good players. This is especially true for tournament poker, and combined with the possibility of massive paydays for the winner, this gives Holdem a real “anyone can strike it rich” appeal.
Nothing encapsulates this more than “the Moneymaker Effect” – named after the amateur who won the 2003 World Series of Poker, turning a $39 satellite ticket into over 2 million dollars.
And Chris Moneymaker is the only average joe that became a rockstar poker celebrity overnight – there are dozens of examples. Texas Holdem makes people millionaires, and that’s a pretty big reason why Texas Holdem is the most popular poker variant.
Texas Holdem’s popularity has a lot to do with how easy it is to learn. Sure, it’s not quite as simple as Five Card Draw, but it’s still really easy to understand – especially compared to games like Omaha or Razz, which are two of the hardest poker variants to understand for certain players.
The basic Texas Holdem rules are simple:
The Big Blind and Small Blind post their blinds and everyone receives two hole cards that only they can see.
After a round of betting, three community cards are dealt (the flop).
There’s another round of betting and another card is dealt (the turn), followed by another round of betting.
The final card is dealt (the river) – and there is one final round of betting.
Whoever is left shows their cards – and whoever has the best five-card hand from the seven available wins. For those with the same hands, the kicker decides who wins the showdown.
Betting in Holdem is very straightforward – it always goes clockwise, starting with the Small Blind. Preflop, the Small Blind and Big Blind are forced to bet without seeing their cards, so the player to the right of the Big Blind appears to act first. This is much simpler than games like Stud Poker, where the betting order changes based on who has the highest poker hand.
Because of the number of betting rounds, there are numerous kinds of poker bets in Texas Holdem. These bets can be used to extract information from your opponents or force them to fold.
Omaha looks similar to Holdem but is much harder to get the hang of. With Holdem, you just make the best five-card hand you can out of your two hole cards and five community cards – whereas with Omaha you have to use exactly two of your four hole cards and three of the five community cards. This is a whole lot trickier than it sounds!