5 Card Draw Poker

5 card draw poker info graphic showing a full house aces over jacks5 Card Draw has long been the most popular variant of poker before the boom of online poker made Texas Hold’em become the most played type of poker game. You can still find 5 Card Draw games on some poker sites and it continnues to be popular in home games.
In 5 Card Draw Poker every player is dealt 5 cards and there are no community cards. The fact that no cards are visible ( except your own five ) makes bluffing occur more frequently than in Holdem games.

History of 5 Card Draw Poker

The origins of 5 card card draw poker are not known exactly. The game became popular during the early 19th century in America. In the beginning the game was played with just 1 round of betting and a deck of 20 cards ( 10 –¬† Ace of every suit ). With the introduction of a full deck of 52 cards the game became more popular as more people could play and the deck now allowed for having the draw and a second betting round. As Five Card Draw spread across the land and grew in popularity, various home rules were added and other poker variations crept up. On August 2, 1876 Wild Bill Hickock was shot while playing 5 Card Draw. The hand he was holding ( 2 Black Aces, 2 black eights and an unknown kicker ) is refered to as the “Dead Mans Hand” for this reason.

How To Play 5 Card Draw Poker

In casinos or online poker rooms the game usually starts with the 2 players on the dealers left paying a small and a big blind. In home games it is common that every player pays an ante instead. Then every player is dealt 5 cards which are not revealed to the other players. The remaining deck is put aside and the first round of betting occurs. Betting starts with the player to the left of the big blind ( or the player to the left of the dealer button if antes are used instead of blinds ). Players can now fold their hand, call ( match the amount of the big blind ) or raise.

After the first round of betting has finished the game continues with “the draw”. Every player can now replace cards from his hand and is dealt another card from the deck for each one he wants to replace, so that every player always has 5 cards again after the draw.

The a second, the “after the draw”, betting phase begins. This second round of betting starts with the player to the left of the dealer button ( or by the player who opened the first round of betting in a games that uses antes ). When the second round of betting has finished and there is more than one player left in the hand the game ends with the showdown.

Players reveal their cards and the highest hand gets the pot. In case of both ( or several ) players holding the same hand the pot is equally split. In 5 Card Draw Poker the worst hand is a high card and the best a royal flush. See the hand ranking chart below.

table of poker hand rankings for 5 Card Draw Poker

5 Card Draw Poker Strategy

Variants of the five-card draw are often considered to be the most difficult poker games to master psychologically, due to the fact that no cards are open and that bluffs (or semibluffs) occur naturally at the draw of new cards. Players must pay attention to how many cards other players change, but should not take too much for granted in this phase. Psychology is a major factor when drawing cards. For instance it is not always advisable to draw three new cards when holding a pair, although this is statistically the best way to improve the rank of the hand. The reason is that the other players quite easily can “read” the hand. A player may choose to draw one or two cards instead in order to make other players believe that the hand is better than it really is. The opposite can also be used. If a player has three of a kind and several other players have drawn new cards, one strategy is to draw only one card. Other players may underestimate the hand, believing the player has two pairs or lacks a card for a straight or flush. In games with a full card deck and four or more players, two pairs can often be the winning hand.

It’s also imperative to vary both the way to draw the numbers of new cards in equal situations and how to bet both before and after the draw. If a player is “easy to read” he very seldom will win large pots even when holding a very good hand.

In 5 Card Draw Poker the position of the player is very important when blinds are used. Players that can act late in a betting round have a significant advantage over their opponents. Adjust your game according to the position You have in a hand to take advantage of this.

Pre-draw odds of getting each Hand in 5 Card Draw Poker

  • Royal flush <0.01%
  • Straight flush (not including royal flush) <0.01%
  • Four of a kind 0.02%
  • Full house 0.14%
  • Flush (excluding royal flush and straight flush) 0.20%
  • Straight (excluding royal flush and straight flush) 0.39%
  • Three of a kind 2.11%
  • Two pair 4.75%
  • One pair 42.30%
  • No pair / High card 50.10%

( Strategy article and pre-flop Odds from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five-card_draw )

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