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Introduction - 5 Card Draw

Obviously, this poker variant is part of the draw poker family where it is possible to exchange cards by drawing – up to five – new ones. In 5 Card Draw Poker the game is about building one’s hand out of five cards with the possibility of exchanging them once.

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5 Card Draw - the game

Ladbrokes First of all, only 10 players may participate. At the very beginning of each game, the two players who sit next to the dealer (the person marked with the dealer button) have to place blinds (we recommend to start off with William Hill). This happens before the cards are dealt. The blinds are there to make sure that there is money in the pot so every winning hand can actually win money. Since the dealer button moves on clockwise from player to player with each round of the game, every player has to pay a blind at some point during the game. The player to the left of the dealer places the ‘Small Blind’, the player to his left has to place the ‘Big Blind’ which is usually twice the amount of the small blind.

Cards and 1st betting round

As soon as all players have paid their blinds, each player is dealt five cards face down; this is followed by the first betting round where all players – starting with the first player to the left of the big blind – can decide whether they want to ‘fold’, ‘call’ or ‘raise’.

Exchange of cards, 2nd betting round

After the first betting round all players may now decide, whether they would prefer to keep all their cards, or whether they would rather try and improve them by exchanging up to five of them. The 2nd betting round starts with the first player to the left of the dealer button, this player may now decide to leave the game (i.e. this round) and fold his cards or stay in the game by either checking or betting.


In a game of Five Card Stud, the player with the strongest hand wins the pot. Should there be two players who hold hands of the same value, the pot is divided up between them, suit does not count.

Poker standards

If you do not like the cards you were dealt at your poker room, you have the opportunity to discard (fold) them and thus leave the current round of the game. Should you be big or small blind or should you have called someone’s bet already, you lose the money. Apart from that though, since you have folded, you cannot lose any more money during this round. If you want to keep your cards and stay in the game, you can, for example, check. This means that nobody before you has placed a bet yet and that you do not either. Now the player after you has the opportunity to check himself, or to bet. If any of the players in the round bets, you need to – as soon as it is your turn – decide whether you fold, call or raise. To call means that, in case a player before you has placed a bet, you bet the same amount as he does; you call his bet.

Bet and raise/re-raise – according to the limit

If you find you have been dealt decent cards, you can bet a certain amount of money on your hand being the winning hand. If a player before you has already placed a bet, you can raise his bet. Depending on the betting structure the amounts you can bet or by which you may raise, are fixed.

  • Fixed limit: On a $ 5/$ 10 table you may bet $ 5 in the first two betting rounds and up to $ 10 in the last two. In each round players may bet once and raise three times (bet, raise, re-raise and again re-raise or ‘cap’). After three rounds of betting the so-called cap is reached, this means that in this betting round, no more betting can be done. In this case the next card is dealt – or if it was the last round – the showdown begins.

  • No limit: Here the betting structure follows these rules: Each player may bet all the money he has on the table, regardless of the size of the pot. As a rule, the minimum bet has to at least equal the amount of the Big Blind and if you decide to raise, your raise does at least have to equal that of the player before you.

  • Pot limit: In a pot limit game a player may bet a sum between the minimum bet and the total size of the pot. In a $ 5/$ 10 pot limit game the small blind is $ 5 and the big blind $ 10. The first player could call the big blind (i.e. $ 10 in this case) or raise to any amount up to the total pot size. The raise has to either equal or exceed the previous bet. So in this case, the maximum possible raise would be $ 25 ($ 5 small blind, $ 10 big blind and $ 10 the call) which means that player #3 may actually bet a total of $ 35. So should player #3 raise the pot limit, the total amount in the pot would then be $ 50.
    Now if the next player (let’s say player #4) wants to go on playing, he at least has to call the $ 35, i.e. the bet player #3 has made. Should player #4 want to raise (up) to the pot limit he would have to put $ 120 into the pot. That is the total pot size ($ 50) plus the maximum raise of $ 70 ($ 35 call + $ 35 raise). The number of betting rounds per hand is not limited and in each round calling and raising continues until every player has either called, or folded his cards.

Going All-In?

Primarily, players go ‘All-In’, when they have a particularly good hand. This is because: when one or more other players call this move and the player who went all-in wins anyway, his winnings in this round increase considerably. Another possibility would be, that a player goes all-in to bluff and merely signal that he has a good hand, in order to make the other players fold and win the pot. Apart from the situation described above, players could also go all-in for the following reason: In case a player lacks the necessary amount of chips to call or finish a hand but has nice cards and wants to stay in the game anyway, he does not have to fold. The player can also go ‘all-in’; so he bets all of his chips (even if they are not sufficient to cover the sum he would actually need to call) and can stay in the game without being able to act any further though. All the money that is in the pot up until the point when he goes all-in, is what the player can win. All money put into the pot after he went all-in is put in a separate pot (‘side pot’). Should the player who is all-in, win the showdown, he wins the main pot, whereas the side pot goes to the player with the second best hand. When a player goes all-in and his fellow players decide to call his bet, they obviously have to call the sum he bet.

Even after the best of explanations, you still need to practice playing at an online table. We have created reviews of the best online poker schools to show you where you can practice your play.

Short history of Five Card Draw Poker

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Without a doubt, Five Card Draw Poker is one of the oldest poker variants; the history of this game dates back into the middle ages and was then continued in the legendary ‘Wild West’ – an era which would not have become nearly as notorious without Five Card Draw. This poker variant was the most popular of all, until Seven Card Stud and – later – Texas Hold’em became more popular at the beginning of the 20th century. Generally the roots of the game of poker lie in Asia and Europe but it was only in the US of the early 19th century, that the game became really popular. Particularly among gold seekers 5 Card Draw was very popular. At that time the game only featured one betting round and it was not possible to exchange cards at any point of the game – this was due to the fact that a deck of cards at that time only had 20 cards.

With the introduction of the 52-card deck in 1820 and hence the new possibility of exchanging cards, the game immediately became more popular. Before this, Five Card Draw had been the typical game of all sorts of Wild West outlaws. Now, Five Card Draw Poker began to flourish on Mississippi river boats which became huge floating poker rooms and entertainment locations; the invention of strip poker dates back to this colourful period as well. On the mainland the centre of gaming was the city of New Orleans – the town which was then named ‘The Big Easy’ abounded with eager gamblers.

During the American Civil War, Five Card Draw was still very popular with soldiers; after that, the introduction of the new and exciting poker variant Seven Card Stud temporarily caused Five Card Draw to nearly disappear. Due to its recent gain in popularity, many online poker rooms have started to offer Five Card Draw Poker tables. Especially the fact that Five Card Draw Poker is quite different from ‘classicslike Texas Hold’em or Omaha, makes it more and more interesting.

Who plays Five Card Draw?

Nowadays Five Card Draw is quite a popular poker variant but it is not represented at big poker events such as the WSOP. There are a number of poker-pros who name this variant as one of their favourites anyway; one of them is Annie Duke, ‘The Duchess of Poker’, she has known this poker variant since she was a little girl and still enjoys it today.


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