Drawmaha Poker is a game guaranteed to spice up on otherwise dull poker home game. In some circles you might know it as Sviten Special, but whatever you call it it's a game with constant degenerate action on every hand.
A split pot game that's a combination of 5-Card Draw and Pot-Limit Omaha, if you're an action player it might not get any better than a few hours playing some Drawmaha among friends.
Drawmaha is a split pot game, as mentioned above, but perhaps not in the exact way you're thinking of split pot games.
Drawmaha is basically a mix of Pot-Limit Omaha and 5-Card Draw; half the pot goes to best draw hand, half the pot to the best Omaha hand.
The blinds and button all function the same as Omaha (or Hold'em). If you don't know what that means you should head to our poker rules section before you read on. For a full rundown on each poker variant, check our game pages here:
How to Play Drawmaha Poker
Each player is dealt five cards (all face down) and the first betting round ensues.
Just like Omaha, this game is typically played as a Pot-Limit game since the action is already degenerate enough without allowing over-pot ships.
After the completion of the first betting round a standard 3-card flop is dealt, (so far we're just playing 5-Card Omaha - aka Courchevel).
Once that betting round is complete each player must "lock in" the total number of cards they wish to exchange.
Players are allowed to keep all cards (stand pat) or exchange up to all five (assuming you're playing with five or less players. With six or seven players you must limit the draw round to three cards per player).
There is only one draw, so choose wisely. Players announce the number of cards they would like to exchange (separating them from their hand so that they can't be changed after announcing) in the standard betting order.
This means the button will always be the last player to lock in. Once all players have locked in the dealer deals new cards to all players just like in standard 5-card draw.
The Twist of Drawmaha Poker
Just to make things more fun with Drawmaha there's a little twist to the draw portion of the hand:
- If you choose to exchange only one card the dealer will turn over the top card of the deck and all players see that one card. You have the choice to take that card or receive the next card in the deck face down
Once all players have received their new cards the flop betting round begins. Once the betting round is over the turn is dealt.
The game functions the same as Omaha from this point on until the showdown.
At the showdown the player with the best Omaha hand (2 cards from their hand, 3 from the board) wins half the pot, and the player with the best draw hand (all five cards from their hand) wins the second half.
Drawmaha Poker Notes:
- Take care in building side-pots. Splitting the pot with side pots is not difficult if you know what you're doing, but if you're new to split pots and side pots make sure to build the side pots before you go to the showdown, and deal with each pot in turn (starting with the smallest side pots). This will keep confusion to a minimum
- Because of the discards there is a maximum number of players for this game. If you're allowing a full 5-card discard you can only play with 5 players max, for 6 or 7 you need to limit the discard to 3 cards
- If you run out of cards in the stub, all mucked cards (excluding the board burn cards) are re-shuffled back into the deck. The deck is cut, and play continues as normal
Best Starting Hands for Drawmaha
As with any split pot game your starting hand selection is extremely important. You always want to look for hands that have the potential to scoop the whole pot, but a hand that's a lock to get at least a share of the pot is also a good start.
The best hands for scooping in Drawamaha are:
- Two big pair and a coordinating card
The best Omaha hands rarely have a chance at taking the Draw hand so a high Omaha starting hand is typically just a one-way hand. Check our list of the best starting hands for Omaha here:
Basic Drawmaha Poker Strategy
Just like any split-pot game, you're playing to dominate for half of the pot with as decent a chance as possible to scoop the whole thing.
Because you get to see the flop first before you commit to a draw, you want to evaluate your hand at that point.
If you have the nuts, or a good chance at making the nuts in Omaha:
- Keep all cards needed for that and drop the rest to try and improve on your draw hand
If you miss the board entirely:
- Chances are you want to fold unless you have a very strong draw hand
Most players are playing for the Omaha pot first, the Draw hand second. If you have two-pair or better in the draw hand you should often feel very confident about your hand.
Drawmaha - What to Pay Attention To
Pay attention to how many cards each player exchanges. Although a player who drops 4 cards can pick up a monster, chances are they'll have nothing better than a pair.
If a player draws just one card they will be on a strong made hand (trips or two pair) or are drawing 1 to a flush or straight. Since they get two chances at hitting by drawing one, a player dropping just one card is a very dangerous player to pit your draw hand against.
Drawmaha Games Online
If you're looking to play Drawmaha games online there's only one place to look: PokerStars. You can play the individual games of Drawmaha - 5 Card Draw and PLO - many places online but only at PokerStars can you play the combined masterpiece of a poker game that is Drawmaha.
If you've played on the PokerStars software before you know it's considered the best poker software online for many reasons - and being able to offer mixed and split pot games like Drawmaha is just one of them.
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