Russian Poker is a modern casino poker game variant in which players compete against the Dealer instead of each other.
In this article, we will explain how to play Russian Poker, where to play the game and what alternatives you might want to consider if your favorite casino doesn't offer it.
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Russian Poker Online - An Introduction
Russian Poker is one of the least well-known poker variants that can be played at online casinos. That is partly due to the fact that not all casinos make it possible to play Russian Poker online.
However, another reason for its relatively low profile is that it wasn't invented until the 1990s, and so it hasn't been around for anywhere near as long as more popular variants such as Texas Hold'em or Five-card Stud.
Fortunately, the game is finally beginning to get the attention it deserves, and an increasing number of online casinos are making it available to their players. It's a game that combines luck and skill, and it's a relatively easy game to learn, especially if you are at all familiar with Hold'em poker hands.
The game of Russian Poker can initially look quite complicated, but it's quite straightforward once you get used to the overall format and procedure. It uses a regular deck of 52 playing cards and the aim is to make a better five-card poker hand than the Dealer. Standard Texas Hold'em hand rankings apply.
To start, you make an Ante bet of whatever size you like, subject to the table limits. You will then be dealt five cards, face down. The Dealer will also deal himself five cards, but the last of those will be dealt face-up so that all players at the table can see it.
On the basis of the five cards that you have been dealt, you can now decide to Fold, Bet, Buy, or Draw. Here's what each option involves:
Should you Buy or Draw, you will then have to decide whether to Fold or Bet the new hand that you have before you.
If you have a Three of a Kind or better, you will be given the option of making an Insurance bet.
When you have finished playing your hand, the Dealer will reveal his cards and his best hand will be declared. The game then proceeds as follows:
|Four of a Kind||20:1|
|Three of a Kind||3:1|
Should you have two winning hands (each with at least one unique card, which is possible even in five-card hands because kickers aren't counted) you will be paid for each of them. A six-card hand of K-K-4-4-2-2 would therefore give you a combination of Two Pair and Two Pair, which would pay 4:1 (2:1 + 2:1).
If you have taken Insurance and the Dealer doesn't have Ace-King or better, the Insurance bet will be settled at odds of 1:1. Should the Dealer have Ace-King or better, but your hand is stronger, your Insurance bet will be lost.
It is also possible to place a Bonus bet in many Russian Poker games. If you want to do this, you will need to do so when making your Ante bet. The Bonus bet is that your initial five cards will give you a Three of a Kind or better. If that happens to be the case, your bonus bet would pay the following or similar:
|Winning Hand||Bonus Pays|
|Four of a Kind||250:1|
|Three of a Kind||5:1|
Russian Poker Tips & Strategies
This is a game of both luck and skill. It is luck that determines what cards you are dealt in any given hand, but it is up to you to decide how you will play them. That being the case, the more you study the game and practice playing it, the better you will get at being able to play in a strategic and thoughtful manner. And that, in turn, will improve your chances of winning.
Perhaps the most important strategy in Russian Poker is folding when you know that your initial hand is weak. That might sound obvious, but many players habitually buy an extra card even when the best they can do is make One Pair. Our approach would be to fold with anything less than Ace-King and save your betting funds for the hands that have some natural strength.
You will find Russian Poker in the Live Casino area of a growing number of online casinos. However, there are also several software-driven versions of the game that have been released. Some of our favourites include Russian Poker from OneTouch, Russian Poker from Novomatic, and Russian Poker from Betsoft. Unfortunately, none of those titles are currently available in Canada.
While Russian Poker is growing in popularity, it isn't available at all online casinos in Canada. For those of you who would like to play a similar variant instead, our best recommendations would be as follows:
Like Russian Poker, all of the above games are based on traditional poker hand rankings and involve playing against the Dealer rather than other players.
Russian Poker is an entertaining game of both luck and skill that lets you compete against the Dealer instead of other players. Your ability to make decisions that have a genuine influence on your chances of winning makes it more engaging than luck-only casino poker variants.
Yet the game of Russian Poker is still easy enough to learn to have a broad appeal. Give it a try the next time you notice it being offered and see how you like it.