How to Play Draw Poker
Draw Poker is one of the simplest card betting games to play. Using a basic deck of cards, it can be played at home or at the casino. The goal of the game is to make the best possible five-card hand you can, but unlike Texas Hold’em, there are no shared cards.
The game begins with a round of betting. In order to even be dealt cards, everyone must pay the ante. There is also an option to use blinds instead of antes. In the situation of blinds, there is the big blind and little blind. These are two predetermined amounts that the two players to the dealer’s left must bet in order to play. In this case, no one else is required to ante up.
Deal Me In
Once the antes or blinds are put into the pot, the first round of dealing goes out. Each person at the table receives five cards, dealt face down. Pick up your cards and examine them. Do not show your cards to anyone else. Look for cards that could be a potential winning hand.
High Card – A single card that outweighs all over cards (Ex: Ace of Hearts)
One Pair – Two of the same card, regardless of suit (Ex: two 3s)
Two Pair – Two of one card, two of another card (Ex: two 3s, two 4s)
Three of a Kind – Three of the same card (Ex: three 3s)
Straight – A run of cards, not taking suit into account (Ex: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, any suits)
Flush – Five cards all of the same suit (Ex: 4, 7, Q, A, 2 all hearts)
Full House -Three of a kind over two pair (Ex: three 4s, two 3s)
Four of a Kind – Four of any one card (Ex: All four Qs)
Straight Flush – A run of five non-royal cards all in the same suit (Ex: 7, 8, 9, 10, J all hearts)
Royal Flush – A run of the royal cards all in the same suit (Ex: 10, J, Q, K, A all hearts)
First Round of Betting
During the first round of betting, you will need to use your current hand to determine if you want to stay in the game. Above is the list of possible winning hands. Unless you are extremely good at bluffing or all the bets are very small, it is not recommended to bet big on a High Card hand. For example, if your hand consists of 2 of Hearts, Q of Spades, 9 of Clubs, Ace of Diamonds, and 7 of Clubs, don’t follow the betting to large amounts.
If you remain in, you can now trade in some of your cards. In the example above, you will want to trade in at least four cards (2, Q, 9, 7) or even all five. Some games do not let you draw four or five, so be sure to check the House rules before beginning a game. It is rare that you will have such a good hand right off the bat that you won’t want to draw any cards, but it does happen on occasion.
Some suggestions for how to handle different hands:
Hand 1: Q of Hearts, Q of Spades, 7 of Spades, 2 of Diamonds, 3 of Clubs
Hand 2: 4 of Diamonds, 3 of Diamonds, 5 of Diamonds, 7 of Hearts, 4 of Spades
Hand 3: K of Diamonds, K of Hearts, 4 of Hearts, J of Hearts, A of Spades
Hand 1: In this situation, you have two pair with your Queens. Your best choice is to trade in the 7, 2, and 3 for a chance at another Q.
Hand 2: You currently have a pair with the 4s. But you also have three Diamonds and almost a straight. You can play this hand multiple ways. First, you can trade in the 3, 5, and 7 in an attempt for another 4. Or you can trade in the 7 and 4 of Spades to shoot for two more Diamonds. Or lastly, you can trade in the 4 of Spades to try for a 6 of any suit. The last is the riskiest play, but still viable.
Hand 3: You have a pair with your Ks. You can trade in the 4, J, and A in a bid for more Ks, or you can trade in the K of Diamonds and the Ace for more Hearts. You can also shoot for a straight here with the 4 and one of the Ks.
Round Two Betting
Once the Draw round is over, the second round of betting ensues. Follow your gut. Do you have a good hand, one you’re comfortable with? If not and the betting goes high, don’t risk it. Know when to fold.
The Final Reveal
Once all the bets are in, anyone remaining will need to show their hands to determine the winner. If only one person is left after the bets, that person can choose not to show their cards. This is useful, especially if they were bluffing. Not showing your cards if given the option will keep your opponents wondering and could help in future rounds.