5 Card Draw Poker

The history of 5 Card Draw Poker goes back to the Middle Ages, and then the Wild West in America, where 5 Card Draw Poker found widespread appeal in the early 19th Century as people moved west across the United States and took the game with them. It is possibly the version of poker that most players remember from their childhood, and although it has been usurped in popularity by Texas Hold’em, the game can still be found in many online poker rooms.

The Rules of 5 Card Draw Poker
5 Card Draw Poker can be played with each player paying an “ante” into the pot, but it is most common on the virtual felt to use the “Blinds” system as in Texas Hold’em and Omaha Poker. Both Flop Limit and Pot Limit betting structures can be found online.

The Start of the Game
5 Card Draw Poker is played with a single deck of cards, with an alternating dealer as in Hold´em. The first dealer is determined by the dealing of a single card to each player, with the highest ranked card winning, and thereafter the dealers´ duties are passed in a clockwise direction around the table.  The two players to the left of the dealer are called the “Small Blind” and the “Big Blind” and these players place “forced bets” (known as “blinds”) prior to any cards being dealt. The bets represent 50% and 100% respectively of the lower amount quoted as the stake level for a table* and the reason for the blinds is to ensure that there is money in the pot at the very start of the betting.

*On a table advertised as $1/$2, the amount of the Small blind is $0.50 and the Big Blind is $1.00. In tournament play, the blinds increase as the game progresses, and will be relative to the smaller amount for that level – ie when blinds are “10/20”, the Small Blind pays 5 chips, whereas the Big Blind pays 10 chips.

Thereafter, the dealer deals five “hidden” (face down) cards to each player, which only they can see.

The First Round of Betting
Commencing with the player after the Big Blind, betting revolves around the table in a clockwise direction, with each player having the option of “Calling” the amount of the blind, “Raising” the bet or “Folding” their cards (in which case the player takes no further part in the hand). In Flop Limit games, bets in the first round of betting are made by the lower amount of table stake – ie If a $1.00/$2.00 table, bets are made in units of $1.00. The action can revolve around the table a maximum of four times before the betting is “capped”. 

Change of Cards
Once the first round of betting is complete, each player remaining in the game has the option to change one or more of their cards. Starting from the player to the left of the dealer and revolving clockwise around the table, they select the card(s) they wish to discard and are dealt replacement cards for their hand. In the event that the pack runs out of cards before all the changes are made, the discarded cards are reshuffled and used as the new deck.

The Second Round of Betting
After each player has had their discarded cards replaced, there follows a second round of betting starting with the active player to the left of the dealer. Each active player has the option of whether to “Check”, “Raise”, “Call” or “Fold” their cards – only, during the second round of betting, the minimum amount of the bets is the higher value of the table stakes – ie If a $1.00/$2.00 table, bets are made in units of $2.00. The action can revolve around the table a maximum of four times before the betting is “capped”. 

The Showdown
The player with the best five-card hand (hand ranking details) wins the pot. In the event that two or more hands have the same value, the pot is equally split among the winners (there is no precedence of suit in 5 Card Draw Poker).

Thereafter, the pack is re-shuffled, the dealer’s button is passed one position to the left, and a new hand is dealt.