About ten years ago, 5 Card Draw was the most popular variation of poker played worldwide. Then Texas Hold ‘em came on the scene, and poker has never been the same since. If you played poker as a childhood card game or hosted a house game in your home prior to the new millennium, you probably played 5 Card Draw. It is the most typical game to learn poker on, as its format is relatively simple and offers a training ground to learn the hand rankings in poker.
If you just stepped on the planet and have never played 5 Card Draw, then it will only take you about 15 minutes to learn to play. If you want to practice, you can virtually play this game anywhere, so long as you have something to represent chips. If you don’t have a set of poker chips, you can play with pennies, M&Ms, etc., any group of items made up of single units. You can also now play 5 Card Draw at many of online poker rooms for real money or play money. The rules are explained below.
Players begin the game by putting up an ante. Some people call out “ante up!” at the onset of each new hand to remind players to put in their antes, so that the game can begin. Obviously, the more players you have, the more action will take place, and the more money there will be in the pot. The starting ante amount is a value that all players should agree on. If there are 8 players and the ante is $1, each pot will have at least $8 in it; therefore, every hand will result in an $8+ win. Once all antes are in the pot, the dealer then deals each player (2 to 8 players can play) five cards each, beginning with the player seated to his left. These cards are dealt face down, and once all players have a complete hand, they may pick up their cards and view them privately.
Many Draw Poker games will also incorporate blinds, meaning that the player to the left of the dealer puts up the small blind and the player to the left of the small blind puts up the big blind. Then, the player to the left of the big blind will be first to act. However, simpler games will begin the first round of betting without blinds with the action beginning with the player at the left of the dealer. As the first to act, he can bet or fold (also called pass), or in the event of blinds, the big blind can check if no one else has raised.
Once betting is complete around the table, those players who haven’t folded can trade up to five cards in their hands for new cards from the top of the deck, one at a time, in clockwise order around the table. Some players, casinos, or poker rooms incorporate different rules, such that you may only be allowed to draw three cards with the Ace trade four rule that allows up to four cards to be traded in if the player is holding an Ace. This, however, gives away the value one of your cards to your opponents, who may actually want to see proof that you have an Ace. If you prefer not to trade in any of your cards at all, you may also choose to “stand pat” and keep your originally dealt hand. If the deck runs out of cards, it is acceptable in 5 Card Draw to re-shuffle the deck of discarded cards and re-use it to continue the game.
Once the draw is complete for every player, a second betting round ensues, again starting with the player to the left of the dealer. Once this round of bets is finished, a showdown is necessary. All players still in the pot show their cards. The best five-card poker hand wins the entire pot.
To succeed in 5 Card Draw, you should be well-versed in the order and ranking of cards for winning poker hands. Cards increase upward starting with 2, Ace being the highest. Aces also act as low cards in the case of a Straight. You should also know the definitions and terminology associated with hand ranks (e.g. a Pair, Two Pair, Three of a Kind, Straight, Flush, Full House, Four-of-a-Kind, Straight Flush, and finally, Royal Flush, in that order).
Overall, 5 Card Draw is quick to learn, fast paced and easy to master which makes it a great game for beginner's and those looking to learn the fundamentals of the game.