5 Card Draw Poker — The Whats and Hows

5 Cards Draw

Long before Texas Hold’em took the scene by storm, 5-Card Draw was the ruler of the gambling kingdom. This form of poker was the most popular in nearly all the States and Europe for centuries. Although it is similar to Texas Hold’em, it still has a particular set of rules that you can’t see in any other game. So buckle up, and let’s see how this poker variation works. After all, it’s high time that you impress all your gambling mates.

It’s All About the Hands

Before you even consider playing this poker variant, or any other type of poker for that matter, it is crucial that you know all about hands and their worth. See, poker games are all about the power of cards you’re holding in your palm. These hand rankings help determine the winner, and a good poker hand can earn you millions. Remember, high hand always wins the pot.

So just to ensure that you don’t make a fool of yourself while playing 5-Card Draw, here is a list of all the hands you can use in poker and their value from best to worst:

Royal Flush 10, J, K, Q, A of the same suit
Straight Flush 5 cards of the same suit in order
Four of a Kind 4 cards of the same value
Full House 3 cards with same value + 2 cards with the same value
Flush 5 same suit cards
Straight 5 cards in order (any suit)
Three of a Kind 3 same value cards
Two Pair 2 same value pairs
One Pair 2 same value cards
High Card Highest value card (the worst hand; you’re doomed)

High card is basically only your last resort when you have absolutely nothing. For example, if you have A, 2, 6, 4, 9, your highest card, in this case, is the Ace. In most cases, this hand means you’ve lost. However, some poker variations demand outstanding bluffing skills — so if you’re a good actor, you could scare other players into folding and winning even with the worst hand. There hides the beauty of card gambling. Either way, make sure you memorize these hands as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could lose a game while having a Royal Flush! You surely don’t want to be that person at the table.

The Rules of 5-Card Draw

So now you know all the important hands and their worth. These hands remain the same in nearly all the draw games, other poker variations, and online poker. So you can rest assured about making a mistake — if you memorize these hands, you’re safe. Also, in most of the poker-type games, the joker isn’t a valuable card.

The main goal in 5-Card Draw is to have the highest hand, and that’s what you should regularly go for. Here is how a typical game looks like:

  • First, the dealer deals five cards to every player
  • Players place their initial bets
  • Then, players have the right to request new cards and get rid of a portion of the old cards in order to form the perfect hand
  • Another round of betting commences
  • Players who decided to stay in the game expose their cards
  • The player that holds the highest hand wins the game and takes the money

That is probably as complicated as it can get when it comes to this poker variation. Since even the most complicated part of the game is so easy, you can imagine why gamblers like playing it so much. However, 5-Card Draw does come with specific rules and vocabulary you need to understand before taking a seat at the table. The game comes with two variations that you can choose from — but they’re both equally exciting.

Blinds and Ante

If you’re playing blinds, there is a specific set of rules all players and the dealer need to follow. The person left of the dealer represents the small blind, and the one to the right represents the big blind. The player to the left puts up a bet, and it is nearly always minimal — half the size of the big blind.

Opposed to that stands the big blind. The big blind comes from the player right of the dealer, and it is always twice as big as the small blind. If anyone wishes to enter the game, they need to match the small blind. However, if anyone wishes to remain after the cards are dealt, they need to match the big blind.

Ante, on the other hand, is much more straightforward, however, quite discouraging for many players. It has no small and big blinds. Instead, all the players need to put a predetermined bet into the pot in order to participate. Although gamblers tend to avoid this type, it doesn’t mean it’s bad — just a tad bit riskier.

Know Your Options

In 5-Card Draw, you can check, call, raise, or fold. Once the players are dealt five cards and your turn comes, you have to choose one of these options. That is what most poker strategies come down to. But before you can even have a strategy or bluff, you must know what these terms mean.

  • Check — That means you’re not betting anything. Please note that you can’t quite always check. That only comes in handy when nobody placed a bet. However, the moment someone does it, you’ll be forced to call, raise, or fold.
  • Call — That means you’re matching the bet that’s already on the table. For example, if the bet is $10, you simply follow.
  • Raise — When you raise, you’re actually raising the bet that’s on the table. So instead of following with $10, you are raising it to $20.
  • Fold — Some people may try to convince you that folding is for losers, and those people are usually broke. Folding is when you realize your hand is too weak and you want out. You won’t win anything, but you certainly won’t suffer a severe loss either.

Sometimes, 5-Card Draw may introduce a wild card. Of course, that isn’t a rule set in stone; it is merely a tool to spice the game up. The casino will always let you know if they are implementing a wild card. Additionally, if you’re playing it as a home game, make sure all the players agree to that idea first.

Because of its simplicity and the fun factor, 5-Card Draw is still one of the best card games to play. You can find it in nearly every physical or online casino. Now that you know all the rules, there’s nothing to stop you from becoming one of the best players out there. Best of luck!