Five Card Draw Overview and Introduction

Five Card Draw is the classic poker game in which the players get five cards, discard once, draw new cards and then have a showdown. It’s a simple game to learn but incredibly difficult to master. Very little information is available in 5 Card Draw other than how many cards your opponents draw and how much they bet. Unlike other poker games, you don’t get to see any of your opponents’ cards in Five Card Draw.

The game is popular at casual home games and for use in interesting little variants like strip poker. You won’t find 5 Card Draw very often at casinos but if you visit PokerStars, you’ll find people playing it online for real money.

How to Play 5 Card Draw

1. Every player antes up. The ante is a small, mandatory bet that is equal to about 10% the size of the minimum betting limit. In a $5/$10 limit game, the antes would be $0.50.

2. The dealer gives each player 5 cards face down, one at a time, beginning with the player to the left of the dealer.

3. After everyone has had a chance to look at their cards, there is a round of betting. The player to the left of the dealer begins the betting by either checking (passing) or making a bet. The betting then continues to the left around the table. If any player makes a bet or raise, the other players at the table must at least match that bet, raise it or fold.

4. Once the previous round of betting has been completed, the players may now discard any number of cards from their hands and receive an equal number of cards from the top of the deck.

5. There is another round of betting, beginning with the first remaining player to the left of the dealer.

6. Any players remaining after the last round of betting now show their hands. The player with the best 5 card poker hand wins the pot.

Note About the Dealer

If a game uses a full time dealer, the players will want to use a small token, called the “dealer’s button” to represent the position of the dealer each hand. The dealer’s position should move one seat to the left at the beginning of each hand. This is done so that the same players don’t have to act first every single hand.

Common House Rules

1. A commonly used house rule stipulates that the players may only discard a maximum of 3 cards at a time unless they have an Ace. In that case, the players may discard 4 cards if they show the Ace to the table.

2. Many establishments also enact a rule that bars the bottom card of the deck from being handed out if the entire deck is depleted during the drawing phase. This rule is used in case players at the table have seen the bottom card of the deck. Instead, the previously discarded cards are reshuffled and used again.

3. Some people prefer to play Five Card Draw with Texas Holdem-style blinds instead of with antes. If you’d like to use blinds, the setup uses the two players to the left of the dealer each hand. As the dealer’s position moves each hand, every player at the table will take turns posting the blinds.

The player to the immediate left of the dealer posts the small blind at the beginning of the hand. This bet is equal to half the minimum bet. The player to the left of the small blind must pay the big blind, which is equal to one minimum bet. In a $10/$20 game, the blinds would be $5 and $10.

When blinds are used, the first betting round begins with the player to the left of the big blind. Each player will have to at least call the minimum bet amount to stay in the hand and take part in the draw phase.

The second betting round begins with the first remaining player to the left of the dealer. In the second betting round, players will have the option to check until someone makes a bet.