Five Card Draw is the poker game you used to see being played in Westerns. Its name is derived from the fact that each player is dealt five cards and has one ‘draw’, or opportunity to discard cards from his hand and replace them with new cards from the deck. For those that want to learn how to play poker Five Card Draw is the ‘original’ game to learn, but its draw strategies are relevant to many other poker variants.
It is often considered less exciting than other forms of poker because each player can only use the five cards in his hand: there are no community cards and no up cards, which means more guessing and bluffing is involved. However, Five Card Draw has different nuances of skill making it a totally different game to master.
Draw games are played with blinds, in the same manner as flop games like Texas Holdem and the hand ranking are also the same as Texas Holdem. Five Card Draw is played either as a fixed limit or a pot limit game.
Starting with the player on the dealer’s left, each player is dealt a hand of five cards, face down. Betting now starts beginning with the player immediately to the left of the big blind. Now, just as in Texas Holdem, each player can fold, call, bet or raise.
Once the first round of betting is complete, players may now ‘draw’. Starting with the first active player to the left of the dealer, players choose between one and five cards they want to discard and replace these with an equal number of new cards from the deck, in the hopes of making a better hand. Players can also choose to ‘stand pat’ and not draw any cards.
When playing casino online, check the poker room’s website or the game lobby to see how cards are selected and discarded. Note that in draw games, it is possible for the deck to run out of the number of cards required to complete the draw. If this happens in a live game the discard pile is reshuffled and play continues using this new deck. After this round, if two or more players remain, the cards are shown down and the best hand wins. In the case of a tie, the pot is split equally.