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Dealer's choice is a style of poker where each player may deal a different variant. As the deal passes clockwise around the table, each player occupying the dealer position chooses a variant which is either played just for the current hand or for an entire orbit. It is a common choice for home games, where the tone of the game is usually more recreational than competitive. It is also rarely played online, due to the complexities involved in creating the appropriate algorithms that would allow the format of poker to change during each hand, or orbit.
Dealer's choice games often break from the typical forms of poker through the use of wild cards and kill cards in addition to variations on betting structure. The majority of the dealer's choice poker games were derived from children's games.
There are two different approaches to a standard DC game:
- Per Hand: In this type of format the player on the button (known as the dealer) selects the format of poker he or she would like to play for that hand only. After the hand is over the dealer button moves to the left and the next player in that position chooses the next format of poker that will be played.
- Per Orbit: In this type of format the player on the button (known as the dealer) selects the format of poker he or she would like to play for the next orbit, which is an entire revolution of the table. So, for example, if the game was being played at a nine-handed table then an orbit would last nine hands.
The varieties of poker wholly depend on the level of knowledge and understanding on the table that you are playing. In home games, players will agree in advance the types of games that can be chosen, and then they are selected at random by each player.
In casino games, the games are normally shown on a rolodex, and players can either choose a game from the rolodex, or it is spun in order for the choice of game to be entirely random.
Here are the most common forms of poker that you will found played in DC games:
Pot Limit Omaha (PLO)
PLO is one of the most popular formats of DC and it comes in a variety of different guises. Dependent on the local rules of the game, you can choose to play 4, 5 or even 6 card PLO. The more cards you choose the more action you generate as there are more hands, and draws, that can be made.
PLO High/Low is another extremely popular choice, in DC, and once again players can choose between 4, 5 or 6 card options. In this game, both the low and high hands play, and it is a fairly common choice because it reduces variance.
Seven Card Stud
Badugi is a form of draw poker where the object of the game is to create the best ‘Badugi’ hand, which is four differing low cards, of differing suits, such as [2s] [4c] [5d] [6h] (known as a six Badugi).
2-7 Single Draw Lowball (No-Limit)
2-7 low is another format of draw poker that once again rewards players for having the best low hand. Aces are always high in 2-7, so the best hand is 7, 5, 4, 3, 2.
No Limit Hold’em
Interestingly, the most popular form of poker in the world (NLHE) is a game that is rarely played in DC. There are many reasons for this, but the most common is the fact that people play DC to get away from the regularity of playing NLHE. That being said, it is a game that many beginners will choose to play if they are unfamiliar with the other mixed games.
Playing on the Button
In poker, position is power, and there is no stronger position than the button, which is what makes DC such a well sought after game.
Giving the player on the button the opportunity to choose his or her favorite game is a huge advantage when coupled to the fact that they are also playing from the best position at the table.
- "Dealer's Choice Poker (The Deal)". www.pagat.com.