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Tips for Playing Dealer’s Choice in Home Games

Dealer's Choice Poker Games

You’ll often see Dealer’s Choice spread in many home games as a way to offer mixed games. Dealer’s Choice gives players a chance to play something other than Hold’em but gives Hold’em fans the option to still call their favorite game.

If you’re offered the chance to play Dealer’s Choice in home games, you should take advantage of the free money out there. Here are a few tips to help you win more in Dealer’s Choice home games.

Look for Weaknesses from Players in Games Selected

Just because a player selects a particular game doesn’t mean they know what they are doing. For example, a player that picks Stud 8 or Better and regularly plays middle pairs has an exploitable weakness in the game.

Dealer’s Choice is often used as a testing ground for players to learn games and you can take advantage of their weaknesses in games. Make sure you don’t go pointing out those weaknesses, or else they will start improving. This takes away your advantage.

Most Players Are Weak at Stud Variants

Many players that sit in a Dealer’s Choice game are doing so because they want to play alternative flop games. They want to play Omaha Hi-Lo, Big O, Short Deck Hold’em and others.

Stud River

You don’t see Stud Poker called too often in some home games.

What you don’t see them calling that often are Stud variants. Many Dealer’s Choice players are weaker in the Stud variants than they are in other games. They may know how to play Seven Card Stud, but Stud 8 or Better and Razz are games you’ll have a huge advantage over them.

Naturally, be careful when playing against older players as they probably grew up playing Stud games. This tip is more for those that came into poker after 2003.

Pay Attention to Which Games Are Avoided

In conjunction with playing Stud games, pay attention to which games are being avoided by players. If you notice that players are avoiding Omaha Hi-Lo, then consider throwing that into your mix. Games are generally avoided because players are not comfortable playing them.

Take players outside of their comfort level and play the games they are avoiding. Hold’em can even be an option. If you’re playing a group of players who like to play Stud variants and are avoiding Hold’em, shake things up with some Hold’em. Limit Hold’em is always an option as well.

Tighten Up in Draw Games

Draw games, especially triple draw games, have an extra element of luck and are a bit swingier than your average Stud, Hold’em, or Omaha game. As such, you want to be playing stronger holdings during draw games.

Five Card Draw

For example, in 2-7, you want to stick with hands that include a deuce and at least a 7 or 8. Otherwise, you will want to get out. Draw games have a lot of action, but they can be very swingy due to the extra luck factor. The exception is standard Five Card Draw, but even there you will have a bit more variance.

Stay Away from Wild Card Games

Some home games will feature games with wild cards. These games are usually selected to drive action or because players perceive that they have better odds to win. The reality of these games is that they are much more luck-driven than standard games.

Even games with a single wild card are more luck-driven than your standard poker games. When picking games, avoid wild card games. When someone selects these games, either fold, sit out, or play an uber-rock style.

In other words, you are not playing unless you have a super-strong starting hand with a wild card. Yes, you are telegraphing your play, but it often isn’t going to matter as people tend to chase in wild-card games.

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