In poker, community cards are cards that are laid out on the table for all players to see. Sometimes the term “board” is used to refer to them, referring to the fact that they are on the table surface in the open, but it is essentially the same concept.
They are one of the most important and strategic elements of a poker game, as the hands that can be formed at the end of each round depend on them.
However, the role that these community cards play in poker depends on the game, so let’s delve a little deeper into this question to elucidate what the real strategic relevance of each community card is in different styles of poker.
Community cards in Texas Hold’em games
The rules of Texas Hold’em specify the use of as many community cards as it takes to complete a five-card draw. This opens the door to a variety of scenarios: it is possible to use two – hole cards and three community cards, to use four of the five possible community cards and one hole card, or to use all community cards – five in total – and no hole cards.
In Texas Hold’em, community cards do not appear preflop. In this round, players have two – hole cards and place their first bets. After the preflop, the first three community cards are placed on the table, known as the flop, and a second round of betting takes place.
Then the fourth community card, the turn, is placed, which leads to a third round of betting, and then the river, when the fifth and final community card is placed, and you can bet again for the last time.
The appearance of the community cards can be interrupted if no player sees the bet and the rest fold.
Community cards in Omaha style
The main difference between Omaha and Omaha is that here we are required to use two of the four – hole cards that are dealt and three of the five community cards.
Using four – hole cards is the equivalent of six pairs of two cards each. This increases the chances of hitting bigger plays. The strategy, therefore, differs completely from other styles.
The main thing to be aware of in Omaha games is that you have to be very careful after the flop, as there is a much greater chance than in other variants such as Texas Hold’em that the community cards will turn the game on its head.
Community cards in Stud Poker
In Stud Poker, each player is dealt seven cards. Of these cards, they have to make the best possible play with five of them.
The peculiarity of Stud Poker is that these seven cards are all private cards, i.e., they are private and none of them can be used as community cards.
The main difference is that some of these private cards are visible to everyone else.
In the Five Card Draw variant there are no community cards because the game is played only with the combination received by each player.
Community cards in Chinese poker
Although it has a growing following, Chinese poker does not use the concept of community cards. Each player receives 13 cards and at no time are they visible.
In the showdown, the 13 cards are turned over and each player has to group them into three groups: one group of three cards and two groups of five cards. The points that each player scores with their cards are then counted.
The premise is very similar to that of Caribbean poker, although in this case the card shown by the dealer does count towards the final result, making it visible to all players, but it is not considered a community card.
Community cards in Caribbean poker
As we said, Caribbean poker works in a very similar way to Chinese poker, except that here the dealer does show all the players a card that will play a crucial role in the outcome of the game.
In order for the dealer’s hand to count, he will need a high hand. If he shows an A or K card, it will have a much better chance of being counted, even if we are not going to use it for our play.
The rules expressly forbid us to see the cards of other players who are playing the same hand at the same time as us, but we are allowed to get as much information as possible about their possible play so that we can act accordingly. An invaluable decision-making aid that can be crucial.