Beginners Guide to Playing 5 Card Draw Poker

Overview of 5 Card Draw Game Structure and Betting Strategies

5 Card Draw is a very simple game to learn and an excellent form to master. The game uses the dealers button, small blind and big blind and is limited to only six players during a single session.  Once each player has posted their blinds, the dealer will begin dealing five cards face down. The player to the immediate left of the big blind will begin action at the table with each player following suit in a clockwise motion.

How to Draw Cards in 5 Card Draw Poker Games

Once each player has had an opportunity to play their hand, the player to the left of the dealer will receive the choice of standing pat or discarding. If he chooses to discard he can do so by removing one to five cards from his hand. The discarded cards will then be replaced with new cards from the top of the deck. The dealer will give each player who is still involved in the hand the same option. Once the second drawing round is complete, players will begin a new round of betting, again starting with the player to the left of the dealer. After the betting round has completed, players will open up their hands and the player with the best five card poker hand wins the pot.

In fixed limit draw poker games, the betting structure is unique from Holdem or Omaha. The betting amount will double before and after the draw betting rounds. Since it’s a fixed limit game, caps will be placed on all bets after four bets have been placed. By four bets we’re referring to opening bet, raise, re-raise and cap bet.

Best Betting Strategies for 5 Card Draw Poker

Your best strategy is to ensure you’re aware of your surroundings. Unlike other poker games, your only clues to what your opponents may represent include their betting actions combined with their discarding or lack thereof. A player who discards only one card is more often than not drawing to an open ended straight or a flush. A gut-shot straight is unlikely since the odds and payoff will never justify drawing to a gut shot. Should a player discard two to three cards, it’s safe to assume they’re holding a set or a pair at best. One of the more common mistakes players will make is holding a pair with a high card when discarding. If your hand consists of only a pair, that high card is of no use to you and you’d be better off to toss it and draw to something better.

There are multiple variations of draw poker although five card draw is considered to be the staple of the bunch. That said there seems to be an increase in popularity for games like 2-7 Triple Lowdraw and A-5 Lowball since these games have recently made their way into the World Series of Poker. Of course there are a few other strategies to be had when playing these games online, including bluffing in five card draw, which can also be used as a lowball draw strategies. If you can’t find either of the variations in your local card room, be sure to check our main poker games page which lists the best poker sites online offering these games.