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How to Play Irish Poker

How to Play Irish Poker

Texas Hold'em is a great game but can be frustrating when you don't get decent cards to play pre-flop. Omaha Poker is a great action game, but it's very swingy. What if we told you there's a game that has all the options and action of Omaha but with fewer swings? Allow us to introduce you to Irish Poker!

What is Irish Poker?

Irish poker is truly a mix of the rules of Texas Hold'em and Omaha Poker. Players start with four hole cards, as if playing Omaha, but must discard two cards after the flop. The remainder of the hand plays like a standard Texas Hold'em hand. Irish poker is popular live card game and online also, which is why there are Irish Poker tournaments almost every day.

Irish Poker Rules

Irish poker drinking game

All action pre-flop is the same as in a standard hand of Omaha Poker. The first player to the left of the dealer button posts the small blind and the second player to the left posts the big blind. Starting with the small blind four cards are dealt to each player. Action begins to the left of the big blind and continues around the table. If action has not been raised by the time the big blind is reached, he has the option to check.

The flop is dealt the same as in Omaha or Hold'em with three community cards face up. Another round of betting ensues starting with the active player closest to the left of the button. Once betting action is concluded the remaining players must then discard two cards. From this point the game is played exactly like Texas Hold'em through the turn and river.

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Irish Poker Strategy

In Irish Poker you want to enter the game with an Omaha mindset pre-flop. This means you're looking for starting hands with numerous possibilities. These are the types of hands you're looking for:

  • Double big pairs (AAKK, KKQQ, KKJJ, QQJJ, etc)
  • Double Suited (AH8H,KD10D, AS10S,QH9H, etc)
  • Wraps (KQJT, QJT9, J1098, 109,87, etc)
  • High Pairs with high or middling connectors (KKJT, QQJ10, KKJ9, QQ109, etc)

If all four cards do not work well together in your hand pre-flop, look for a better hand. For more on the best starting hands in Omaha, check our dedicated page here:

Irish Poker Rules
Note: Top pair is a weaker hand in Irish Poker.

What Should I Discard in Irish Poker?

Board texture and flop action will go a long way in determining what moves you should make when discarding. If you flop top pair and face significant resistance on the flop, odds are you're facing an opponent with a flopped set or a nut draw.

Is there a draw on the flop? If so, are you drawing to the nuts or are you the one with top pair? Top pair tends to be a weaker hand in Irish Poker so shy away from the hand with draws on board.

When a draw fails to produce on the flop, work with your pairs and hold your best kicker. If a draw hits the board, stay away from low draws or sucker straight draws unless you're in there for free or cheap. Odds are that someone started with a better pre-flop drawing hand. There is not too many Irish Poker strategy articles, but since it is very similar to other poker games, reading a Complete Beginnier's Guide to Omaha Hi-Lo Poker or PLO Top Strategy and Commandments will help you to become a better player.

Irish Poker: A Fun Variant

Irish Poker is a great way to stir up some action in your poker game without the extreme swings of Omaha Poker. Your swings will be larger than with straight Texas Hold'em but not enough to where it will regularly bust your bankroll. PokerStars is the best place to play Irish Poker online right now as it spreads cash games and tournaments in both Pot-Limit and No-Limit formats. Irish Poker online is as one of the most fun poker variants out there. Due to it's popularity, Irish Poker is available on the best poker sites with multiple betting options. Playing online is good way to learn the game and you do not have to travel to Ireland in order to play it.

Irish Poker Drinking Game

Our reservations about cultural stereotypes aside there is also a popular drinking game called Irish Poker which plays nothing like what you read above. The Irish Poker drinking game has a lot of similarities to Ride the Bus, another popular drinking game, but Irish Poker has its own clear rules and variations.

Here's what you need to play Irish Poker:

  • A deck of cards
  • Beers (or other)
  • 3-6 players

Irish Poker Drinking Game Setup

Irish Poker is a fairly easy game to deal and play. The amount you drink can also be easily altered if you want to up the stakes.

How to Deal:

  • Deal two rows of 4 cards each face down in the center of the table (The "bus")
  • Then deal four more cards to each player, also face down

How to Play Irish Poker Drinking Game

Players then proceed to guess on the characteristics of each card in front of them with drinks either given or taken depending on whether they're right or not. So starting to the left of the dealer each player must guess about their unexposed cards, one at a time, according to:

  • 1. Color of card (red/black)
  • 2. Card is higher or lower than first card
  • 3. Card is in-between or outside of first and second cards
  • 4. Suit of card

 When a player is either right or wrong they will either "give" or "take" drinks. According to the rounds drinks are valued:

  • 2 gives/takes
  • 4 gives/takes
  • 6 gives/takes
  • 8 gives/takes

So the first player to the left of the dealer guesses the color of the card; if he/she gets it right, they "give" 2 drinks. They can be given in any amount to any other player at the table (either all to one player or spread around). Then the next player guesses color, gives/ takes etc. Once the first round has gone past every player they start the second round where the drinks are escalated as shown above.

Irish Poker Drinking Game - Final Round

Once everyone has made their four guess for their own cards, play moves to the board with two rows of cards. The top row is the "give" row and the bottom row is the "take" row. The first card in the top row is turned over and if one of your card matches the card turned over you give 2 drinks. If you match the next card you can give out 4, if you match the third card you give out 6, and if you match the last you give out 8. The second row is exposed the same way with the same value except you take the drinks if your card matches.

Extreme Irish Poker version: If you want to up the value of drinks given in the first round you can allocate them based on the value of the card turned over, ie a 2 is 2 drinks, etc. Aces can be one or 14.

Want to Know More About Poker Rules?

Irish poker is fun variant of the two most played poker games and there are many other poker variations out there. By learning all the poker rules of different poker forms you become better player, but can also start playing in the multi-game poker tournaments like H.O.R.S.E and 8-game. Winning the multi-game pokers is a true sign of a real poker master and that is why these are also present at the most entertaining live poker extravaganza. So, are you ready to play different poker styles? Check out our complete list of different poker rules.

Irish Poker FAQs

  • What is Irish Poker?

    Irish Poker is a poker variant, somewhat combination of Texas Hold'em and Omaha. It is played with 52 card deck and follows the regular poker hand ranking. Round starts by dealing 4 hole cards for every player and from these player has to discard two cards after the flop. From remaining cards player must make the best Irish Poker hand as possible.
  • What are the best starting hands in Irish Poker?

    Best starting hands in Irish Poker are high card pairs like AA KK, KK QQ, but suited hands are good aswell. Flop changes everything in Irish Poker so usually best hand is the one with most possibilities. Since you want to keep as many doors open as possible high cards with suit connectors are strong always.
  • What is Irish Poker drinking game?

    Irish poker drinking game does not have much to do with real Irish Poker. They are two different games entirely. If you feel like drinking or playing poker, with Irish poker you got two options. Irish poker drinking game is same style as Ride the Bus where you need to guess the card characteristics and take and give drinks.
  • Where can I play Irish Poker online?

    Irish poker online version is available on world famous PokerStars poker site. Here you can play countless different versions of poker, including Irish Poker and more. If you want to play Irish poker online with real money or for free, you only need active poker account.

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