5 Card Draw Rules: How to Play 5 Card Draw Poker

Anyone looking to start playing poker would be advised to take an interest in 5 Card Draw. This is because it is thought of as the simplest poker variation. This is the game that countless people have learned and played in their homes with friends and family members.

It should be noted that you will very rarely find 5 Card Draw offered by casinos or included in tournament play but it is a tremendous way to develop an interest in poker and to hone your skills. There will be some online casinos offering 5 Card Draw games and there is still an appeal and charm about this game. There is nothing overly difficult about 5 Card Draw and it can help develop a lifelong love of poker.

How to Play 5 Card Draw

The general run of a 5 Card Draw game is as follows:

  • All of the players will ante up (this means placing a small bet into the pot).
  • The dealer proceeds to deal five cards to every player. Every card will be dealt face down and the dealing will begin with the player directly to the left of the dealer.
  • All players can pick up and examine their cards.
  • The first round of betting begins with the player sat directly to the left of the dealer betting first.
  • Once the betting round is complete, players who are still involved in the hand are able to trade up to three cards from their hand. There is no requirement to trade cards and if a player believes they have a good hand, they should “stand pat” with their original hand. If a player has an ace, they are able to trade in their other four cards but it is tradition that the player will declare the ace.
  • When everyone is satisfied with their cards, the next round of betting begins with the player directly to the left of the dealer betting first.
  • Once the betting round is complete, all of the players show their hands and the player with the best hand is the winner.

Best 5 Card Draw Starting Hands

It stands to reason that having a “pat hand”, a flush, a four-of-a-kind, a straight or a full house is a great starting hand when it comes to 5 Card Draw. There is a need to think of your drawing strategy when you have a good starting hand but it is better to be in this position than not.

A three of a kind hand is also a good starting hand for 5 Card Draw but players who hold a pair could be just one draw away from bettering your hand, depending on their number or ranking. Conversely, holding a low pair is not initially seen as a good starting hand but depending on the cards drawn, this could become a three of a kind or higher, giving the player a much improved hand.

Given the infrequency of flushes or straights, a starting hand with no pairs should be viewed as a poor starting hand. In the context of the game, a poor starting hand may still be better than what other players hold but more often than not, folding early is the sensible option.

5 Card Draw Poker Tips

  • If you hold a strong pair or higher, you should go into the pot when playing 5 Card Draw. If you hold a hand that contains only high cards or worse, it is better to fold and aim to bounce back in the next hand. There is no need to play every hand in 5 Card Draw and folding when you have a poor hand will allow you to manage your bankroll better.
  • If you are lucky enough to hold a high ranking hand, such as a full house or flush, it is vital to build the pot when you have the chance. If you decide to draw no cards, other players may deduce you have a high ranked hand and will fold. Drawing a card and bluffing can convince other players to put more money into the pot.
  • Your position at the table can be very important when playing 5 Card Draw. As the play and betting begins with the player at the left of the dealer, players on this side are at a disadvantage. These players have no real opportunity to gauge their opponents before betting and this means a cautious approach is advised. Alternatively, players situated to the right of the dealer are in a better position to appraise their opponents and a more aggressive poker style could prove more rewarding.