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Bluffing in 5 Card Draw Poker

Five Card Draw Bluffing Strategies

Like any game it’s essential to learn how to bluff and more importantly when to bluff. Five Card Draw Poker is no different although it’s expected that the number of bluffs you'll be able to pull off successfully will be significantly lower than bluffing in Omaha or Holdem. If you expect to gain an edge over your opponents and win their money, you’re going to need to know how to bluff in 5 Card Draw.

Five Card Draw is very different from the other games of poker. In this game a pair of deuces can take down the pot which is highly rare in the other variations. This is why bluffing can be both optimal and difficult and very much dependant on the right circumstances.

How to Bluff in Five Card Draw Poker

The game Five Card Draw consists of three draws and four betting rounds. It's these draws and bets that give you the information you need to make an educated decision as to whether you should bluff the other players or not. Just like bluffing in Holdem, you want to make sure your able to narrow down the competition as much as possible. Ideally you shouldn’t attempt to bluff more than two of the other players at your table and attention to detail is necessary. Draw poker gives you three critical pieces of information to help you put your opponents on a range of hands. Their initial bet, the number of cards they discard and pick up, and the final bet. By the second round you should have a pretty clear indication or where you are in relation to the other players if they are still discarding 2 - 3 cards. In a scenario such as this, you can be fairly certain their hands are weak at best.

Two Types of Bluffs in 5 Card Draw – A Made Hand and A Weak Hand

There are essentially two ways to bluff in five card draw. You can choose to represent a made hand by which you would simply stand pat during each of the draws, or choose to represent a weak or fairly marginal hand by checking and calling your way through the game. Be wary of both plays. A made hand should only be represented when you’re absolutely sure your opponents have nothing. More often than not, players will go to showdown with a pair, even if it is a pair of three’s. Your best course of action if you plan on bluffing the made hand is to do so only when you’ve been dealt a pair yourself. This will at least ensure that you have a safety net in case the player does call you down.

Representing a weak hand can also be quite tricky. Suppose you’ve been dealt four of a kind and want to extract the most value from your hand. Your options would be to bet or check-call, however you don’t want to nail a monster and not get paid off at all. The best choice here would be to make one bet equal to the big blind. The bet would be just enough to allow the other players to see another card cheaply, and not too much that they would be tempted to fold. When they do take their draw you would also take a draw using your 5th card. This would show your opponents that your probably betting for value assuming you were drawing to a straight or flush. If the opposite were true, and your opponents bet for you, simply check the hand till you’re absolutely positive they’ve made second best at which point raising should pay off nicely.

Last but not least, remember the golden rule to bluffing. If you think it’s going to fail and your fairly certain your opponents have you beat, do not toss more chips into the pot. Just fold! Five Card Draw is a very easy game to play. Either you have it or you don’t and if your opponents think they stand a chance they will call you regardless.  If your new to the draw games you may want to read our 5 Card Draw poker strategy article which will give you a few basic tips and pointers to beating draw poker games.