Draw Poker: The Trading Games

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What is Draw Poker?

Poker is often viewed, by laymen, as this monolith, this giant, complicated game that takes years of study and practice to understand. And while some of this is true, what most people don’t know that poker has a very rich history and has many variants. Variants are basically mutated version of poker, played by tweaking some of the rules of the classic game. One such variant is Draw Poker.

While the word ‘poker’ appeared in the early 1800s, the game Draw Poker has been played, using a deck of 52 cards, in the United States of America, since the 1900s. Most people associate the words ‘draw’ and ‘poker’ negatively, but this is not the case. It is true, that in regular poker a draw signifies an incomplete hand but, in this variant, the word ‘draw’ means to draw new cards or to exchange cards.

Just like a tree branch further divides into twigs, this variant of poker also consists of many different games. Essentially, all of these games have one thing in common that make them a part of this variant family; they all allow for the drawing of new cards. If you’re feeling confused, don’t worry. We’ll be going through all these different draw poker games and you’ll be introduced to a whole new world.

Types of Draw Poker Games

As mentioned before, draw poker is like a box of games, which when opened allows a player to play several other games. You can think of it like one of those video games that has mini games you can play.

Some of these games are as follows:

  • Five Card Draw

Five Card Draw is often the draw poker game most beginners learn to play. It is one of the oldest and dates back to the American Civil War.

The game begins with the players placing an ante, which is an amount that all the players must bet before the round begins. Then players are then dealt five cards, each and the betting begins with the player on the left of the dealer.

However, the special aspect of this game is that the players are then allowed to trade their cards to build their hand, because this is a kind of draw poker. The cards that do not fit in their hands, the players can place face down on the table and they are dealt other cards. The limit on how many cards can be traded depends on the game, but it is usually around four.

This trade is followed by another round of betting. A game of Five Card Draw only has two betting rounds, so the game is quite quick.

Following the second betting round, the players enter the stage called showdown, wherein all the players already in the game must reveal their cards and the player with the winning hand walks away with the pot. This draw poker game is usually played by people in their homes as a way to grasp the basics.

  • Lowball

Lowball is a kind of draw poker game which is played for the lowest hand. All that means is that the hand that is valued most is the one arranged in an order that proceeds from the lowest rank.

Lowball games can have a betting structure that relies on blinds, like in Texas Hold’em, or on the ante system similar to a Five Card Draw game. While blinds are certain amounts to be raised by two players on the table, ante is a fixed amount to be raised by all the players at the table.

After this, the players are dealt five cards each, placed face down, and the betting round begins, again, with the player seated to the left of the dealer. At this juncture, the players can also trade undesired cards, for new ones in order to improve their hand, which is an element of draw poker.

The betting rounds are followed by a showdown, similar to the one mentioned above. However, there are certain hands which are considered winning hands in different kinds of Lowball.

- Ace to Five Lowball: Hands which includes the cards Ace, Two, Three, Four and Five are considered a winning hand in this version of lowball. In some cases a Jack is used as the lowest card, as well.

- Deuce to Seven Lowball: Hands consisting of cards that include Two, Three, Four, Five and Seven are called winning hands. Ace is counted as a high card in this game.

These kind of games can also be called Straight Draw Poker.

Lowball, can be a fun variant of the conventional Texas Hold’em poker and is a whole set of draw poker games, on its own.

  •  Badugi

Badugi is a draw poker game which is similar to that of Lowball. The game is played towards the lowest hands, meaning that the usual rankings are inverted.

The betting in Badugi is based on the blinds system similar to most poker games but the major difference between this draw poker game and others, is that each player is dealt only four cards.

This draw poker game also has three rounds of betting, during which players are allowed to trade the cards that hinder their hand and draw cards that help build a winning hand.

Badugi also consists of a showdown, during which the player with the best hand wins the game and the pot.

However, what counts as a winning hand in Badugi is what makes this draw poker game so special. A winning hand must be of low ranking cards, but all the cards must be diverse. They must be of different ranks and also of different suits. Pairs of rank and suits are discarded.

Badugi is a popular game in Draw Poker and is played in card rooms, as well as online poker games.

Why You Should Play Draw Poker

Draw Poker has been one of the oldest variants of poker and has been played for many decades. Any player who wants to hone their skills or practice certain aspects of poker can benefit from playing these games. Also, these games are often quite short and high stakes, which make a lot of fun to play. The trading element makes building a winning hand more exciting and action packed. If you’ve stuck with us till the end, you are more than ready to play draw poker. Come join us at Spartan Poker and see if you’ve picked up some skills.


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