Five Card Draw


Have you ever been to a poker game, learnt the basic rules, played the game and then been invited to another game only to find a completely different set of rules? Sounds like a confusing time, right? Well, as easy as it is to dismiss poker as just a card game, it simply isn’t so. Poker is a game that’s been around for a long time. And while it is easy to think of poker as this singular game, poker has, like all other things, evolved with time. Newer versions of the game have popped up along the way. There are numerous versions of poker; so many that your head will spin. But don’t worry; we won’t be doing a census of them all. Today, we’ll be looking at a variant called Five Card Draw. Read on, I’ve got you covered.


What is Five Card Draw?


Five Card Draw, or 5 Card Draw, has been played for a long time. Its origins can be traced back to the Wild West, in the 19th century. It is rumored to have been in play since even longer. However, in its nascent stages, it could’ve done away with being called 5 Card ‘Draw’, since the players didn’t draw much. They were each dealt 5 cards, and that was followed by a betting round. The game was also played with a deck that consisted of only 20 cards, instead of a modern deck of 52 cards.


It was in the year 1820 that the modern deck was introduced to the game. After which, the players had an opportunity to play one after another. It also allowed them to draw cards, which resulted in the game gaining a huge following and becoming one of the most widely played versions of poker. Unfortunately, it was overshadowed by the success of another offshoot called 7 card stud and now, in recent times, Texas Hold’em poker. It is still a fun and easy game to play, and is one of the most popular games to be played at home.


Now that the history lesson is over, we can get to the good stuff and learn the rules.


5 Card Draw Poker Rules


Before we look at the 5 Card Draw Poker rules, we need to consider our objective in the game. You don’t go to the grocery store without a list of the things to want from there, do you? Similarly, our end goal from this game helps us understand the rules better. As with any other poker game, the object of 5 Card Draw is to win the pot. The pot can consist of chips, which are then converted into real money. If you’re playing in a tournament, then you just have to collect the chips to win the prize money. With the goal of the game sorted, we can move on to the rules. Finally!


  • Number of Players: 5 Card Draw is a game which is played short-handed. This basically means that it is played with fewer players than other games. The reason is simple enough. In a game that requires drawing of 5 cards, more number of players would complicate the game.


  • Positions: the positions of the players, in 5-card draw are similar to that of Texas Hold’em poker. There is a dealer button, and the game moves clockwise from there onwards. This dealer button also helps in designating other positions.


The Button is the strongest position and is the last player to act post-flop.


The Blinds always act first post-flop, but they are the last to act pre-flop. The Blinds are players that have to place a certain amount as a minimum bet before the pre-flop stage.


  • The Deal: the deal begins, with each player being dealt five cards. The players are not supposed to show these cards to anyone. The cards are dealt by the player at the dealer button, starting from the player seated to his or her left, and then moving clockwise around the table.


At this point a betting round begins. The first person to play in each round is the Small Blind, with the Button finishing up at last.


  • Once the betting is completed, the players have an opportunity to draw. Any of the players who haven’t folded their cards, so far, get to play this round. Basically, the players can discard any of the cards from their hands that they find useless. They can then draw fresh cards from the deck. Just like the deal, this process goes along in a clockwise motion. It might also be that some players might be content with their cards, and would not want to draw. In such cases, they can refuse to draw using the option to ‘stand pat’. All in all, this process is a chance to pick and choose the cards, and it can really improve players’ chances to win.


  • Final Round: after the draw is done, the players have another chance to place bets. They can place these bets on the basis of the new cards they have just drawn. Once all the bets are placed, there is a showdown. During the showdown, all the players reveal their hands. Hands are the groups of cards that the players are holding. During the game, the players have to build and construct a hand that can win them the game. Thus, at the end of the game, the player with the strongest hand wins the pot.


Now, how can anyone determine what hand qualifies as a strong hand? It’s quite simple. All you have to do is refer to the hand rankings. The hand rankings used in 5 Card Draw are the same as those used in Texas Hold’em. Here’s a list that can help you out:


5 Card Draw Hand Rankings (from worst to best):

  • High-Card
  • Pair
  • Two-Pair
  • Three-of-a-Kind
  • Straight
  • Flush
  • Full-House
  • Four-of-a-kind
  • Straight-Flush
  • Royal-Flush


Variants of 5 Card Draw


5 Card Draw is a complete game in itself, but it has also spawned a lot of variants of its own. All of these variants are some version of 5 Card Draw. They are as follows:


  • Betting: 5 Card Draw can be played according to two betting patterns. Either the game can be played with a limit set on the amount that can be bet, making it a fixed-limit game, or it can be played in a manner similar to No Limit Texas Hold’em, wherein, there is no limit applicable to the amount that can be bet.


  • Triple Draw: this game is similar to 5 Card Draw, the only difference being the number of times the cards can be drawn. Instead of drawing them once, in Triple Draw, they are drawn thrice. In addition, the number of betting rounds also increases from two, to four. It can then be played like a game of No Limit Texas Hold’em, with a pre-flop round followed by the other rounds of betting.


  • Stripped Deck: in this version of the game, the deck is reduced. Instead of the ordinary 52 card deck, a stripped deck containing only the high cards from Seven/Six to Ace are played with. This reduces the number of cards belonging to the same suit, which, in turn, affects the rankings. The chances of creating a Flush reduce. Therefore, it can trump a Full House.


  • 2-7 single/triple draw: these games are similar to lowball. The game proceeds according to the regular rules of the high-hand version, but the lower cards are considered stronger. For example, the best hand is Ace, Two, Three, Four, and Five.



Strategic Tips for 5 Card Draw


Now that we’ve gone over the poker rules and looked over some of the variants of the game, we have enough of a stronghold to understand some strategy. These tips will ensure that you play a game of 5 Card Draw well.


  • Don’t be a player who tends to limp. Limping is placing bets that only match up to the minimum amount necessary to remain in the game. Unless you are one of the blinds, you should opt for a raise when you want to play a hand.


  • If you are drawing to hands like Straights or Flushes, you should be cautious. You might not get the correct price.


  • The easiest hand to attempt is a Three of a Kind. All you need to do is to hold on to a pair of cards, and discard the others. Then, when you draw, you can aim to get the additional three cards required to build a Three of a Kind. This is a standard hand, and it’s not a difficult construction to attempt as a beginner.


  • The pair of cards that you hold is very important. These cards can aid the construction of a good hand. The one thing you should try to avoid, is building hands that are commonly called ‘shorts’. These hands consist of a pair of Tens and three other cards, which are lower than the Tens. The chances of you winning reduce with such hands.


  • Observe the game your opponent is playing. Like all other poker games, your opponents’ moves can tell you a lot about their cards and their game. Keep an eye on the number of cards they draw. This will tell you more about the strength of their hand and also help you place yourself in the larger scheme of things.


  • Just like Texas Hold’em, you must keep your position, at the poker table, in mind. Where you are seated can affect your game. Not only will that impact the bets you place, but also the kinds of hands you will have to play. For instance, a player seated at the position Under the Gun, has to play a much tighter range of hands than a player seated at the Button.


These tips can get you through plenty of games of 5 Card Draw. They’re also great fundamentals, and you can build up your knowledge of the game, as you go along, using these strategic tips.


Why Should You Play 5 Card Draw?


5 Card Draw is a really entertaining and fun card game. It’s a delight for beginners because the rules seem pretty straight forward. While other games like Texas Hold’em can intimidate a newbie, 5 Card Draw is extremely approachable.


Apart from being an enjoyable card game, it is also a great way to learn the basics of poker. The games are shorter, but consist of the same procedure and are based on the rules of general poker. It also teaches amateurs how to read hands. They can develop the skill of hand reading and also analyzing their opponents, without the tension of the high stakes, and slightly more intimidating atmosphere, of Texas Hold’em poker.


Another advantage is the scope of making profits. A lot of 5 Card Draw games available online, are played casually. Thus, the players playing these games can be weaker, or not playing at their best. The games tend to be lower limits, and are huge draws for passive players. These kinds of players often limp, and a decent player can definitely exploit that. So, if you’re skilled and alert enough, you can make a lot of money and earn huge profits.


As we come to the conclusion of this article, you’re well equipped with knowledge about 5 Card Draw. You have learned about its rich history, gone over the rules, and even learnt some valuable strategic pointers. You’ve read about the game enough. Now all that is left to do is, play. Sadly, 5 Card Draw is not a popular game in land based casinos or card rooms. However, do not be disappointed. I’ve got a nifty solution for you. You can easily play this game on all the avenues available online. So, come join us at Spartan, download poker app and let the games begin!