The Irish poker card game is trying to challange the King of the Poker Ring - Texas Hold'em, which is loved by millions of adoring fans all over the world. If you've been dealt a great starting hand in Texas Hold’em, you're in luck. Unfortunately, many players are saddled with weak pre-flop hands.

If you follow sage poker advice and only play strong starting hands, you may have to sit out more hands than you play. There's lots of variance in Texas Hold'em, and this can be a bit of a bummer to poker players.

Now, consider the game of Omaha Poker. Omaha ruled the roost for many years before Texas Hold'em dethroned it as the #1 most popular poker game in the world. Unfortunately, Omaha is not without its own problems for players.

The rules of play differ markedly from Texas Hold'em; players will have to account for wild swings in the action too. As fate would have it, the poker gods created an enticing new game – a hybrid – of Texas Hold’em Poker and Omaha Poker. Its name is Irish Poker.


In Irish Poker, all players at the table begin with 4 pocket cards. It's similar to Omaha poker, but you must discard 2 cards. The rest of the game plays out like a typical game of Texas Hold’em. Everything pre-flop is identical to a standard Omaha poker game.

The player left of the dealer begins the action posting the SB (Small Blind), and the player left of that person posts the BB (Big Blind). The action commences with 4 cards (hole cards) being dealt to the player left of the dealer button, and the action moves in a clockwise fashion around the table until all players have been dealt cards. The Big Blind (BB) has the option to check if there have been no raises during the initial round of play.

The Flop – the first 3 community cards dealt into the center of the table – mirrors the action of standard Texas Hold’em or Omaha Poker. Anyone at the table can use the community cards to form the strongest-possible poker hand. Next, an additional round of betting takes place.

The player closest to the dealer is first to act. The betting action continues around the table and all remaining players in the hand must discard (dispose of) 2 cards. From here on out, Irish Poker mirrors the action of a standard game of Texas Hold’em. The fourth community card (The Turn) and the fifth community card (The River), and betting rounds, will conclude the action at the table.

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The rules of play for Irish Poker are essentially an eclectic combination of the rules of Texas Hold’em and Omaha Poker. The first player left of the dealer button is known as the Small Blind, or SB.

The next player left of the Small Blind is the Big Blind, or BB. These players are required to place mandatory bets (compulsory bets) in Irish Poker. This is similar to the rules of play for Texas Hold’em and Omaha Poker. 

Next up, each active player in the game is dealt 4 cards. These cards are dealt facedown to each player, so only the recipient of the cards can see the cards. Unlike Omaha Poker though, players are required to discard 2 cards. It's worth reiterating one important difference between the rules of Texas Hold’em Poker and the rules of Omaha Poker:

In Texas Hold'em Poker, players are not required to use any of their hole cards when forming a 5-card hand. In other words, players can play the board. In Omaha Poker, players must use 2, and only 2, of their hole cards and 3 of the community cards to form the best 5-card hand.

In Irish Poker, you will be looking for specific types of poker hands such as:

9, 10, Queen, Queen, or 9, Jack, King, King, or 10, Jack, Queen, Queen, or 10, Jack, King, King – these hands are known as high pairs or high connectors.

You may also be looking to play hands like 7, 8, 9, 10, or 10, Jack, Queen, King, or 8, 9, 10, Jack, et cetera.

Other options include double suited starting hands such as Queen of spades, 7 of spades, Jack of diamonds, 6 of diamonds, or even double big pairs such as: Ace, Ace, King, King, or Queen, Queen, Jack, Jack, or Ace, Ace, Jack, Jack.

Note that it's not always possible to get a great starting hand in any poker game. Your goal is always to try and play the best possible starting hand.

Read more about poker hands >> 


Well, here's a twist in proceedings! All things Irish are lots of fun, and stereotypes abound. Thanks to Saint Patrick's Day, the Luck of the Irish, and the Irish love of Guinness beer, Irish Poker is not lost on poker aficionados. It's only natural that we draw attention to a popular poker variant known as the Irish Poker Drinking game.

Here's what you need to get this game underway:

• At least 2 poker players, the more players the better!
• Pick your favorite beer, or hard liquor, and drink responsibly (lightweights need not apply)
• Pick a deck of cards to get started

The designated dealer drives the action in Irish Poker. He or she will shuffle up and deal 4 cards facedown to every player in the game. A row of 5 cards is dealt, followed by a row of 4 cards face down in the middle of the table. Round one begins with the player left of the dealer button.


This drinking game has 4 rounds of play. In round #1, the player must choose between black or red. If the player is correct, 2 drinks will be given out. If the player is incorrect, the player will take 2 drinks.

In round #2, the player must determine whether the second card will be higher or lower than the first card. The card is turned over and if the player is correct, 4 drinks will be given out. If the player is wrong, the player will take 4 drinks.

In round #3, the poker player will reveal whether his/her third card will be inside or outside of the first 2 cards. Next, the third card is turned over. If the player is correct with inside or outside, you must give out 6 drinks, but if the player is incorrect, he/she will have to take 6 drinks. 

*It is worth mentioning, that nobody is advocating that everyone plays Irish Poker. You can use a really weak alcoholic beverage such as beer shandy with minimal alcohol content if you’re concerned about getting too plastered.

In round #4, the designated player will announce what he/she thinks the fourth card’s suit is. There are 4 options – clubs, hearts, spades, diamonds. If the player is correct about the suit, 8 drinks will be given out. If the player is incorrect – you guessed it! He or she will have to drink 8 drinks.

It is worth mentioning that the value of cards differs in Irish Poker: Aces are counted as 1, and Jacks are counted as 11, Queens are valued at 12, and Kings are valued at 13. 


Various online poker rooms have recognised Irish Poker as an official variant of the game. Many online poker rooms offer this game to players, and thanks to Ireland officially recognizing this game in a major poker tournament in 2013, it gained worldwide appeal.

Irish Poker rooms can refer to land-based poker rooms catering to Irish players, or online poker rooms catering to Irish players. It can also refer to the game of Irish Poker which is typically played among friends in a casual gaming format.

There are many reputable Irish Poker rooms – make sure they're licensed and regulated to offer real-money poker games to legal-age players.

Now pick a 4-leaf clover, and grab a pint of Guinness – it's time to enjoy Irish Poker!

About the Author

With digital marketing strategies in his blood, Louis Wheeler has traveled around the world, exploring gambling cultures and gaining experience in casino games from 2003. If you are in a casino anywhere around the planet, you may find him right next to you, playing blackjack, roulette or texas hold'em. 

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