5 Card Draw Poker is the first poker game most of us learn to play, often as a child around the kitchen table with parents or grandparents. It is the most basic of all draw poker games, from which most other poker variants were derived.

As old as the game of 5 Card Draw Poker is, it is still very popular, especially among home poker games. 5 Card Draw Poker can be found in many of today’s larger online poker sites, as well as many live poker rooms. Unfortunately, it has not retained enough popularity to be featured in major live poker events like the World Series of Poker.

The rules of 5 Card Draw Poker are very straight forward. All players start with five cards, all dealt face down for only that player to see. The first of two betting rounds takes place as each player looks at his own cards.

Discarding Cards

Players must then discard any cards they do not wish to keep in their hand, often up to a maximum of three cards. A player may only discard four cards if the only card kept is an Ace, in which case they are required to show the Ace. Every card that is thrown away is then replaced with new cards so that all players once again have 5 cards in their hand.


Another round of betting takes place at this point, followed by the “Showdown”. Each player will display his 5 card hand. The player with the strongest ranking poker hand wins the pot. The only time a Showdown will not occur is when all other players fold before or during the second round of betting, leaving only a single player to claim the pot. When this happens, the winner is not required to show his hand unless he chooses to do so.

5 Card Draw Poker does not use the more modern Blind Bets – the Small Blind and the Big Blind – as found in Texas Holdem or Omaha poker games. Being a more traditional game, 5 Card Draw Poker utilizes more traditional forced betting methods, known as the Ante. Ante bets are miniscule wagers placed by all participants before any cards are dealt. The idea behind Ante bets is to encourage all players to carry on in the hand, protecting their investment rather than folding without risk.

More often than not, 5 Card Draw Poker is played in a Fixed Limit betting structure. This means that all wagers are preset in size, with a low bet and a small bet. For example, $2/$4 5 Card Draw would require all bets and raises in the first round of betting to equal the small bet of $2, increasing to the high bet of $4 for the final round of betting.

It is not uncommon for a 5 Card Draw Poker tournament to apply both Ante bets and Blind bets in the latter stages of the tournament. Many live and online poker rooms will initiate the use of both betting styles per hand to increase the average pot size, as well as encouraging a more expedient end to the event.

For most poker players, 5 Card Draw Poker is a natural progression in the learning stage. If, however, you are unfamiliar with the game, it is highly recommended to learn how to play 5 Card Draw Poker. It is one of the easiest and most entertaining, not to mention fast-paced, poker games you’ll ever experience.

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