How To Play Five Card Draw Poker

For some, No Limit Texas Hold’em is the best version of poker. However, those players typically enjoy deeper pockets and larger bankrolls that can handle the sizable monetary chip swings often seen during a Texas Hold’em tournament. Plus, because of these swings, where one player after the next becomes the chip leader, No Limit Texas Hold’em can take a long time to play. For beginners and those who enjoy quick games, five card draw is a great introduction to poker. Our how-to-play five card draw poker guide below reviews the basics of the game and explains just how easy it is to find an online casino that offers this very popular option.

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How to Play Five Card Draw: Rules

five card draw poker

Chances are if you’ve played poker in the past, you’ll be able to pick up five card draw in no time. Here’s an example of how a five card draw hand plays out.

Each hand starts with somebody as the dealer who is “on the button,” which is literally the case as there is typically a chip with the word “dealer” near the player with the cards.

Next, you need to decide if you want to play five card poker with antes or blinds. Antes are great for beginners because it requires each player at the table to bet the same amount before the cards are dealt. Those who have played Texas Hold’em will be familiar with blinds, which require the player to the left of the dealer to bet the small blind (ex: $5) and the player next to him to bet the big blind (ex: $10). No other player is required to bet before the cards are dealt.

After initial bets are placed, the dealer gives each player five cards face down. After players review their cards, another round of betting occurs.

Starting with the player to the left of the dealer, each player may keep all five cards OR draw up to five new cards in hopes of making a stronger five-card poker hand.

After players receive their new cards, another round of betting occurs. Some players, knowing their hand isn’t strong enough to win, may fold after receiving their new cards.

When all bets are in, remaining players flip over their five cards. The best hand wins the pot.

Five Card Draw: Hand Rankings

The best poker hands in five card draw are what you would expect from most poker games. They are ranked best to worst in the chart below.

Hand Definition
Royal Flush five cards of the same suit, ranked Ace through 10 (ex: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10 of Hearts)
Straight Flush five cards of the same suit and consecutively ranked (ex: Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight of Diamonds)
Four of a Kind four cards of the same rank (ex: four 9s)
Full House three cards of the same rank and two more cards of the same rank (ex: Three 8s, Two 5s)
Flush any five cards of the same suit (ex: Queen, Jack, Seven, Four, Two of Hearts)
Straight any five cards consecutively ranked (ex: 4 of Clubs, 5 of Diamonds, 6 of Diamonds, 7 of Hearts, 8 of Spades)
Three of a Kind three cards of the same rank (ex: three 5s)
Two Pair two cards of the same rank and two more cards of the same rank (ex: Two Queens, Two Kings)
One Pair two cards of the same rank (ex: Two Aces)
High Card five unmatched cards (ex: no pairs, high card wins)

Game Strategies

If you believe your hand is strong, don’t be afraid to raise the bet as it may nudge those with weaker hands to fold and increase your chances of winning the pot.

  • If you’re playing blinds, you’re not in the small or big blind and realize you need to draw three or more cards, consider folding. It’s a tall task to rally back.
  • If you believe your hand is strong, don’t be afraid to raise the bet as it may nudge those with weaker hands to fold and increase your chances of winning the pot.
  • If your hand is so-so and those before you “check” aka do not bet or raise, feel free to check and get a free peek at your new card draw.
  • At the end of the day, five card draw poker doesn’t require a ton of strategy as it’s a basic game enjoyed by many in at-home poker settings.

Poker Glossary

Poker Term Definition
Chips the tokens on the table that represent a certain value or dollar amount
Check when no wager is made and the action is on the next player to the left
Call when you match the highest bet currently on the table
Raise  when somebody to your right wagers a certain amount and you increase that amount by a certain amount
Bluff when you pretend to have really good cards, but don’t
Slow Play (a Hand) when you believe you have really good cards and try to lure the other poker players in to fattening up the pot
All-In when you push all your chips into the center of the table in hopes of either winning the pot or busting out
Draw when you discard up to 5 of your cards in exchange for new ones
Fold surrender your hand and any pending bets on the table
Muck as a verb, another word for fold and as a noun, the discarded cards on the table
Bankroll your stack of chips on the poker table
Antes bets by every player at the table before the cards are dealt
Blinds the small blind is a bet made by the player directly to the left of dealer, the big blind is a 2x bet of small blind to the left of the small blind
On the button the person dealing, dealer
Down to the Felt out of chips
On Tilt emotionally fueled poker betting void of reason or strategy, trying to make up for ones losses

Five Card Draw Poker FAQs