How to Play 5-Card Draw

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5 Card draw is an fun game that is easy to learn. To sum it up in one sentence, you play your own hand and bet against other players while getting opportunities to exchange some of your cards for new random cards.

Like in Texas Holdem, there is a requirement to post the small blind and the big blind. Starting with the player to sitting left of the dealer, the dealer deals each player five cards, face down.

5 Card Draw Poker Rooms

Betting in 5 Card Draw

A first round of betting takes place, starting with the player to the left of the big blind. Players have the option to fold, call the current bet, or raise by at least the amount of the current bet. If no has bet anything yet, then the current bet amount is equivalent to the value of the big blind.

When the betting is done, those who are still in the hand get the opportunity to trade in any number of cards from their hands. They discard 1 to 5 cards from the hand and are immediately dealt replacement cards. A player who is happy with his current 5 cards does not have to trade any of them.

There is then a second round of betting which works exactly like the first betting round. Assuming that everyone didn’t fold, there is a showdown. At the showdown the player with the best hand takes down the pot.

Using Wild Cards

In some poker rooms, the Joker cards may be used as a wild card. Sometimes, the card only counts as a wild card for certain values or situations and this will be indicated clearly. For instance, 888 will allow jokers to be used only as an ace OR to complete a straight, a flush, or a straight flush. If the joker is used to make a flush, it will be the highest card of the flush not present in the hand. When using Jokers, five aces is the best possible hand (four aces and joker) and it beats a Royal Flush.

5 Card draw Limits

5 Card Draw can be played using the three standard limit rules (No Limit, Limit, and Pot Limit).

Betting Rules for No Limit

The minimum bet amount is the value of the current bet. When there are not bets in play, the bet amount is the value of the big blind. For example, in a 5/10 table, where the small blind is $5 and the big blind is $10, you must raise to at least $20, assuming there were no other bets. There is no maximum raise amount, and you can bet your entire stack of chips, which is called going “all in”. Here is an example: Blinds are 10/20. Player 1 calls $20. Player 2 raises to $60. If someone else wants to raise, they must raise to at least $120 as the current bet is now $60. Calling means you put in a total of $60 so the big blind that already has $20 invested would need to add an additional $40 to call and stay in the hand. Folding means that he would lose the $20 already invested. Finally, anyone can go all in at anytime, even if they can’t cover the current bet. For instance, if the current bet is $400 and I only have $300 left, I can still call and be “all in”, but I can’t win more than $300 per player involved in the hand. For more information on how to deal with this situation, see this article on poker side pots.

Betting Rules for Limit

In Limit 5 card draw, a maximum of four bets is allowed per betting round. Typically, this includes an initial bet, a raise, a re-raise, and a cap (final raise), but that could vary in certain poker rooms. Once the maximum number of raises is attained, each remaining player must call or fold, but can no longer raise. In limit, betting amounts are fixed, and are based on the big blind. So in a 10-20 limit game, the value of the big blind is actually $10 and not $20. So the small blind is $5, the big blind is $10.

Betting Rules for Pot Limit

This works exactly as no limit, except that the maximum bet is caped. The cap is based on the total value of the pot, after you would call the bet. So for example in a $10/$20 pot limit game, after the blinds are posted, the first player can fold, call the $20, or raise to $50 which represents the total pot value had they called the bet. (small blind + big blind + call = 10+20+20). The next player can now fold, call $50, or raise up to $130 (small blind + big blind + the raise + call = 10+20+50+50). Now the next player can do the same and raise up to $340! (small blind + big blind + the raise + reraise +call = 10+20+50+130+130). You can go “all in” when your total chip count does not exceed the maximum raise allowed. So in the last example where $340 was the maximum raise, someone with $300 could go “all in”. Remember that you don’t necessarily have to raise up to the maximum amount if you don’t want to, but you must raise by as much as the current bet or more. While these amounts may be tricky to track, the software in poker rooms will let you know what the maximum betting amount is so you don’t have to worry about all the calculations.

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