How to Play Poker: 5 Card Draw Rules

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Tips on How to Play

Poker is a card game that’s been around for centuries, with some historians saying it goes as far back as the 10th century. With such a longstanding history, it didn’t come to me as a shock that different variations of the game also date back quite a bit. One of these is the 5 Card Draw option.

As I was learning how to play poker: 5 Card Draw, I realized that it’s the oldest poker version out there. It’s also more straightforward than other poker versions, which meant that learning a 5 Card Draw strategy or two wasn’t as complicated as with other variations. If poker 5 Card Draw is a variation you’re interested in, then read on.

Although these days, it’s not easy to find poker 5 Card Draw at brick and mortar casinos, you can confidently join other players participating in a 5 Card Draw online game but first have a look at my tips.

5 Card Draw Basic Rules to Master

As with all poker games, rules define how the game will proceed, and 5 Card Draw poker rules are no different. Keep in mind that this game variation’s aim is for you to have the best 5-card hand at the table. The number of players can range between two and seven, with six players being the ideal number at any table.

The Cards and Their Values

A 52-card deck is used for the duration of each round. Since the aim is to come up with the best hand, it’s essential to know which cards rank better than others. As far as ranking goes, none of the four card suits contributes to the result of the hand you have.

The Ace is unique and can either count as the highest or lowest card, depending on all the other cards you’re holding. As for the remaining cards, from high to low, you have the King, Queen, and Jack, followed by the numbered cards which go by their respective values.

The Betting Structure

This refers to how the hands are dealt. It gets decided before the game begins. That’s because although you still follow the same poker rules, the structure plays a crucial role in the 5 Card Draw strategy you can use. You can choose whether to play as a Pot-Limit, a Fixed-Limit, or No-Limit structure.

The Deal

From the name of the game, you can already tell that 5 Card Draw online players receive five cards to play with. To start the game, either all players place their ante first, or you can have a small blind and a big blind. The format I’ve noted to be the most common with online games is the latter. The big blind amounts to a game’s full bet while the small blind amounts to half of what’s already in the pot.

The Betting Rounds

During each round, a series of events can occur as the game plays out. The game starts with the player on the left of the dealer and moves in a clockwise direction. When it’s my turn during each round, I can choose whether to:

  • Raise – Based on the cards I have on hand, I can decide to increase the amount I bet from the amount I had previously staked.
  • Call – If I feel that another player that’s raised their bet is bluffing, I can choose to call, which will increase my bet to match the other player’s bet.
  • Fold – In case I haven’t managed to get the hand I wanted, I can bow out of the round so that I don’t have to bet any more money to keep up with the rest of the players.
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Poker Hands

During every round, each player has the chance to discard and draw up to five of their cards to help them create the ideal hand. There are several 5 Card Draw Poker Hands in play during a single game round. These are a set of predefined cards that I must have in a single round. Their value together is what determines whether I’m in a position to win or not.

While you are learning how to play 5 Card Draw, you need to keep in mind that the best hand is always dependent on what all other players have in that round. With that in mind, I always try to create 5 Card Draw Hands with as little effort as possible. That’s because sometimes you’ll find that based on what you were dealt, you don’t have the cards to create the game’s best hand.

Best Hands

While learning how to play poker: 5 Card Draw, these are the hands you should aim to create from the strongest to the weakest:

royal flush poker hand image
Royal Flush – This requires you to have the top five highest cards with matching suits
straight flush poker hand image
Straight Flush – This requires you to have five cards that have the same suit and come with values that follow each other
four of a kind poker hand image
Quads/Four of a Kind – This requires you to have four of the same card values
full house poker hand image
Boat/Full House – This requires you to have three similar card values, as well as two other similar card values
flush poker hand image
Flush – This requires you to have five cards of any value but with the same suit
straight poker hand image
Straight – This requires you to have five cards with values that follow each other. The suit doesn’t count
three of a kind poker hand image
Set/Trips/Three of a Kind – This requires you to have three of the same card values
two pairs poker hand image
Two Pair – This requires you to have two sets of the same card values
one pair poker hand image
Pair – This requires you to have two of the same card values


With each hand you play, you have to keep in mind that there’s a mathematical formula in play. This helps you to determine how often you’re likely to get dealt winning hands during your poker 5 Card Draw session. A general rule to help you remember their frequency is that the better the hand, the fewer the odds of you getting it.

Poker HandsOdds to Get
Royal FlushLess than a 0.001% chance
Straight FlushLess than a 0.002% chance
Four of a KindHas a 0.02% chance
Full HouseHas a 0.14% chance
FlushHas a 0.20% chance
StraightHas a 0.39% chance
Three of a KindHas a 2.11% chance
Two PairHas a 4.75% chance
One PairHas a 42.30% chance
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Video Poker Strategy

Most Video Poker options are based on the 5 Card Draw variation, with the only difference being you don’t play against a dealer and other players. That’s because it doesn’t have as many rounds as other poker variants, something that works in its favor as far as being a Video Poker option. As such, you’ll have a computer RNG dealing the cards, since this is a digitized version of the game. The fact that players don’t work to build the pot means that rounds also end faster, making room for more rounds within a given timeframe, kind of like the case with online slots.

To successfully play Video Poker, you need a 5 Card Draw video poker strategy that works for you. The most effective strategy when learning how to play 5 Card Draw is to know which cards to discard and draw, and when to do it. With Video Poker, this increases my chances of winning the pot. Meanwhile, with a home game of 5 Card Draw, using this strategy will keep other players from knowing my hand, which would work to my disadvantage.