Five-Card Draw Poker

Although Five-Card Draw poker isn’t often played in casinos, it remains hugely popular as a home poker game. The rules are fairly straightforward, making it a good game for beginners to learn.

Five-Card Draw Rules

In Five-Card Draw poker, it’s common for the two players to the left of the dealer to place big and small blind bets. In home games, it’s also common for players to place ante bets – small bets posted before any cards are dealt.

Each player is dealt five face-down (or “hole”) cards, one at a time. Remaining cards in the deck are placed aside, often with a chip on it to protect it.

Once players have checked their cards, a round of betting takes place. Typically, the player to the dealer’s immediate left acts first. Players can bet, raise, call or fold.

The Draw

If more than one player remains after the first full betting round, the “draw” stage of the game starts. Each player can choose how many of their five hole cards to discard and replace with new, dealt cards from the deck.

Players must discard all cards they want to replace before being dealt replacements, to prevent them from requesting further replacements only once they’ve actually seen their new cards. Especially in low-stakes Five-Card Draw games, players may be limited to replacing a maximum of three hole cards, unless they draw four cards while keeping an ace (or wild card). If the deck is depleted before all players have received their replacements, the last players may receive cards chosen randomly from those discarded by previous players.

A second betting round takes place, starting either with the player to the dealer’s left or with the player who opened the first round.

If more than one player remains, a showdown occurs – the players show their hands and the best hand wins the pot.