Five card draw is still very popular in private home games even though it is far less popular in brick & mortar and online card rooms. There are a few variations of the game that we will talk about later but the common rules of all variations are that:
- After the shuffle and cut of the cards the dealer gives out one card at a time, beginning with the player on his left in a clockwise direction, until every player has 5 cards.
- After all players have 5 cards a round of betting occurs.
- The players that remain in the hand after the first round of betting are allowed to discard cards from their hand and have them replaced from the deck, known as the ‘Draw’. This is done in a clockwise order beginning with the remaining player to the left of the dealer. In variations of the game where players are allowed to discard and replace all 5 of their cards, they cannot receive 5 consecutive cards from the deck. This is handled by giving the player 4 cards and either giving the player the 5th card after all other players in the hand have drawn or, in the event that this player is the last to act, by burning a card after the 4th card is given and before the final card is replaced. Each player is also permitted to keep the 5 cards that he was originally dealt and this is considered staying ‘Pat’. In live games players usually represent standing pat by knocking on the table. When players do not draw any cards online a knocking sound, similar to the sound heard when checking, is heard.
- After the draw there is a 2nd and final round of betting.
- After the final betting round there is a ‘Showdown’ to determine the winner of the pot from the best hand unless a player bets and no other players calls.
- In variants where the deck contains a joker, the joker can be used in one of 3 ways. It can be used to complete a straight or a flush or as an ace; aces, straights, and flushes.
Antes and Blinds – In some variations of five card draw the 2 players to the left of the dealer post a small and big blind, similar to Texas hold-em. In other variants all players in the hand are required to post an Ante and, starting with the player to the left of the dealer, must open or fold and call all action in order to draw cards.
Betting Limits – Five card draw can be played in fixed limit, pot limit, and no limit.
Five card draw most often refers to a game where the highest ranking hand wins with a royal flush being the best hand and a non-flush 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 is the worst possible hand.
Other variations of five card draw are:
A-5 lowball does not count straights or flushes and ace is the lowest ranking card. This means that the best possible hand would be A, 2, 3, 4, 5. This hand is also known as a ‘Bicycle’, ‘Bike’, and ‘Wheel’.
2-7 lowball is played in a single and triple draw variation. In either form of 2-7 lowball straights and flushes are counted making them a poorly ranked hand.