Draw Poker

Understanding how to play Draw Poker, the values of the various poker hands you can make, and the poker rules that relate to the betting and requirements for winning pots is a must if you want to play profitable Draw Poker without burning your money.

Five Card Draw is the most popular version of draw poker that is played but it’s not as popular as other variants such as Texas Hold’em and Omaha.

Draw poker rules are easy to learn and the game is played with between two and eight players. If you know how to play Video Poker, then you can play Draw Poker.

Draw Poker is not a community card poker game so there are no face up cards shared by all players. Each player receives five cards, and has the option of folding their hand or betting.

The player to the left of the dealer or button is the first to act. The player(s) that bets put a predetermined wager into the pot.

This player to act can then discard any number of cards that he wants, and receive an equal number of cards back to try and form the best five-card poker hand.

There are two betting rounds in Draw poker. The first round before the draw and the second round after the draw.

The betting limit is determined by the betting structure of the game. Draw poker can be played in Fixed Limit, Pot Limit, and No Limit versions.

After the final round of betting, the best hand as per traditional poker hand rankings takes the pot (more about this below.)

A great draw poker player will understand and apply certain strategies to each hand he chooses to play.

He will know his chances of winning both before and after the draw, by knowing the value of his own hand and the odds of improving to the winner if they don’t currently have the best hand.

Studying other players betting patterns and knowing how many cards they discharge is also a very important factor if you want to be successful at this game.

Always pay attention to the number of cards drawn by the other players. The more cards a player discards, the less likely they are to have a strong hand, since they had to throw away a lot of cards in their hand.

If, for example, you see an opponent drawing four cards, then you can probably assume they have a high card in their hand.

For instance, a player drawing no cards (referred to as staying pat) will most likely have a made straight, flush or a full house. He will with four of a kind draw one card for deception purposes.

A player drawing one card will normally have two pairs, four to a flush, four to a straight or four of a kind.

A player drawing two cards will normally have three of a kind or a pair with a high kicker.

A player drawing three cards will normally have a pair of eights or better.

The hands in Draw Poker are exactly the same as other poker games where you play to make the highest ranked poker hand.

  • Royal Flush: A-K-Q-J-10 of one suit.
  • Straight Flush: J-10-9-8-7 of one suit.
  • Four-of-a-Kind: 6-6-6-6-9.
  • Full House: 5-5-5-4-4.
  • Three-of-a-Kind: 9-9-9-6-3.
  • Flush: 2-4-6-8-J of one suit.
  • Straight: 3-4-5-6-7.
  • Three-of-a-Kind: 6-6-6-8-2.
  • Two Pair: 4-4-8-8-9.
  • Pair: 8-8-6-4-2.
  • No Pair: A-K-J-10-8.

The odds of completing certain hands in Draw Poker, when drawing only one card are:

  • Four cards to a Flush is 1 in 4.5.
  • Open ended straight is 1 in 5.
  • Straight open at one end is 1 in 11.
  • Inside straight is 1 in 11.
  • Straight Flush open at both ends is 1 in 23.
  • Straight Flush open at one end is 1 in 46.
  • Inside Straight Flush is 1 in 46.

Never break up a pair to draw to a three card flush or a straight. Your odds of improving to trips or two pair by drawing three to your pair is way higher.

A basic rule in Draw poker is to never play a three flush or a three straight hand, unless it is “free.” A “free draw” is when you are in the big blind and the pot has not been raised.

Drawing two cards to a royal flush, has a lower expectation than drawing five cards, but can still win the hand if one or two of your cards pairs up, which is something to also consider.

The best Draw Poker strategy is to draw five cards if you do not have an ace or a king and four cards if you do hold an ace or a king.

Draw Poker Variations

In addition to Five-Card Draw there are a few other draw poker variants such as Triple Draw 2-7 and Badugi, which are primarily only played online.