How to Play 5 Card Draw

How to Play 5 Card Draw

5-Card Draw is one of most basic forms of poker and it's the kind of poker you're used to seeing in movies and on TV. Because five card draw has been around for such a long time - there are a couple different variations. Below you'll find all of the most commonly used rules for playing 5-Card Draw along with the standard rules and game play of 5-Card Stud.

5 Card Draw Poker Rules & Gameplay

The object of 5-Card Draw is simple: make the best 5-card poker hand possible after one draw and bet accordingly. The player with the best hand after the second betting round takes the pot.

Watch our short instructional video to pick up the basic rules of five card draw in just a couple of minutes.

Blinds or Antes

There are two main ways to play 5-Card Draw:

  1. Ante
  2. Blinds

The ante method is the original way the game was played and is most commonly the system used in home games around the world. In this version each player must pay a predetermined ante before being dealt any cards. In the second system the game functions as a blinds game, similar to the rules of Texas Hold'em. Play 5 Card Draw Now!

In a blinds game only the two players to the left of the dealer must pay money before the cards are dealt. The player to the dealer's immediate left pays the small blind while the player to the left of the small blind pays the big blind. Although the blind amounts can be set to any amount you like the small blind is typically half of the big blind. The big blind being approximately 1/100th of your total buy-in.

Rules of the Deal

Once all players have anted (or the blinds have been paid), the dealer deals every player (starting on his left) five cards face down. After all players receive their five cards, the first betting round ensues. If you're playing with blinds the betting will start with the player to the left of the big blind (same as Hold'em). If you're playing with antes the betting must start with the player to the left of the dealer.

In an ante game like this the first player to act is allowed to check (meaning they are not forced to bet and can choose to stay in the hand for free). For more information on the rules and specifics of how a betting round functions, head to Texas Hold'em Rules and Game Play.

Rules of the Draw Round

5 card draw poker

When the betting round completes the draw round begins with the player closest to the dealer's left. Assuming this player hasn't already folded they have the option of changing any amount of cards they choose. A player can "stand pat", meaning they keep all five cards, or they can throw away any amount from 1-5 cards and draw an equal number of cards from the top of the deck.

Note: In some poker home games a player may only exchange up to a maximum of three cards. This rule is typically used only in home games as it only benefits the weaker players.

It's almost never correct to call in the first betting round, only to throw away four or all five of your cards.

2nd Betting Round & Showdown

Once all players have received their new cards, each player must evaluate their hand and proceed to the second (and final) betting round.Once this betting round is completed it's time for the showdown (assuming more than one player still has a hand).

Just like almost every other form of poker the player with the best 5-card poker hand at showdown wins the pot. Head here for a complete list of poker hand rankings. Once the showdown is complete the dealer collects all the cards and passes the deal on to the player to his left.

basic 5 card draw

Winning Hands in 5 Card Draw

If you've ever played Texas Holdem you're likely familiar with the standard Poker Hand Rankings. Jumping over to 5-Card Draw shouldn't be tough as the same conditions apply - the best 5-Card poker hand wins. Starting with the Royal Flush at the top and working its way down to just high card, winning 5-Card Draw hands are ranked exactly the same.

Basic 5 Card Draw Strategy

While you could literally spend thousands of hours studying optimal five card draw strategy most people just need s simple primer to jump in a game and do fairly well.

Here are a few takeaways to remember as you forge your own path in 5-Card Draw:

  • Don't play too many hands. Much like Hold'em the biggest mistake beginners make is getting in over their heads playing small pairs and drawing hands
  • Position is king. Again, much like Holdem position matters a lot in 5-Card Draw.
  • Come into pots with a raise rather than a limp
  • Avoid playing drawing hands unless you're in the blinds
  • Drawing to straights and flushes late in a hand is troublesome as you rarely have the right odds.
  • If you have a pair, draw three cards. Draw two when you have 3-of-a-kind. Draw one when you have two pair.

5 Card Draw is also one-half of the high-action, split pot game Drawmaha; learn how to play it right here:

poker bonus

5-Card Stud Rules & Gameplay

Online poker has resurrected nearly every form of poker considered near extinction but one game that's still struggling to find a following, though, is Five-Card Stud.

While the game is still trying to find its niche online it is spread by a few sites and very much worth playing.

Here are the official rules to five card stud poker and a simple strategy guide so you can get started playing the game for free online with confidence.

Ante Up and Deal

Prior to the deal in Five-Card Stud every player posts an ante. The first two cards are then dealt - one face down and one up.

The player with the lowest up-card showing must make a forced bet known as "the bring-in." This bet is typically half the size of the small bet but sometimes is a custom amount based on the betting limits.

The bring-in player also has the option to complete the bet to the size of the small bet. After the bring-in player acts, action continues clockwise around the table.

If the bring-in player does not complete the bet the next player has the option to complete the bet.

Note: a completion is not a raise. Once the bet has been completed raises occur in the small bet amount. Action continues around the table until all bets are equal.

Third Street to the River

After action is completed on second street, a second upcard is dealt. Betting on third street begins with the player showing the highest hand and continues around the table. In the event more than one player has the high hand action begins with the player closest to the stud button. Betting action continues in the small bet amount on third street. Note: an open pair does not incur a double bet like in Seven-Card Stud High.

Once third-street betting is completed, a third upcard is dealt with action beginning with the high hand. Bets from fourth street forward are in the double bet amount. After fourth-street betting is completed a final upcard is dealt and the final betting round begins with the high hand. Once betting action is completed players showdown with the best five-card hand taking the pot.

General 5 Card Stud Strategy Tips

Five-Card Stud is a game of pairs and high cards. You want to make sure your starting hand strategy reflects this. Some quick takeaways to remember:

poker folding
  • Any pair is going to be playable on second street.
  • Two cards that are higher than your opponents upcards are strong starters
  • A hole card higher than your opponents' upcards is good for seeing past second street
  • If your upcard is higher than your opponent's, you can try to take the pot down immediately.
  • Hitting an open pair with this high card will likely result in you taking the hand right away.
  • Remember opponents' hands and folded cards to track outs and put other players on hands. 
  • If a player has been checking or calling along and just started betting, odds are he's just paired his hole card. You'll see this most often after someone spikes an ace or king on a later street.
  • As in Stud High, beware the paired door card. A good percentage of the time your opponent just hit trips.

Still Looking for a New Following

Five-Card Stud is one of the last "dinosaur" games that has yet to catch a huge following online. While there are a few sites, like PokerStars, still spreading it operators have yet to find a way to popularize it like Five-Card Draw.

If you jump in a 5-Card Stud game online you'll find a strong but friendly community that will help you get the most from your playing time. You also stand a good chance of being the first in a new wave of players that love the game and bring it back to prominence!

If you like 5-Card Draw many popular casino table games draw on the basics of 5-Card Draw (see what we did there) so you might enjoy a punt or two playing games like Ultimate Hold'emPai GowCaribbean Stud or Video Poker.

More Poker Games:

Five Card Draw FAQs

  • How to play 5 card draw?

    The object of 5-Card Draw is simple: make the best 5-card poker hand possible after one draw and bet accordingly. The player with the best hand after the second betting round takes the pot.
  • What are the best hands in 5 card draw?

    The best hands in 5-Card draw poker follow the standard poker hand rankings. So Royal Flush would be best and High Card would be worst.

    Here's a full list of poker hand rankings and explanations.
  • What is 5 card draw?

    Five-card draw poker is considered the simplest poker variant - and is the basis for video poker. It's the kind of poker you're used to seeing in movies and on TV. As a result, it's often the first variant learned by new players, aside from Texas Hold'em.
  • Who wins in 5 card draw?

    The player with the best hand after the second betting round takes the pot.
  • How to deal 5 card draw?

    Once all players have anted (or the blinds have been paid), the dealer deals every player (starting on his left) five cards face down. After all players receive their five cards, the first betting round ensues.
  • What is the best 5 card draw strategy?

    Here are Five-Card Draw strategy tips to remember:

    - If you have a pair, draw three cards. Draw two when you have 3-of-a-kind. Draw one when you have two pair.
    - Don't play too many small pairs and drawing hands unless you're in the blinds.
    - Come into pots with a raise rather than a limp
    - Any pair is playable on second street
    - If your upcard is higher than your opponent's, you can try taking the pot down immediately.
  • How does betting in 5 card draw work?

    After all players receive their five cards, the first betting round ensues. If you're playing with blinds the betting will start with the player to the left of the big blind (same as Hold'em). If you're playing with antes the betting must start with the player to the left of the dealer. In an ante game like this the first player to act is allowed to check (meaning they are not forced to bet and can choose to stay in the hand for free).
Jan Magalona
2021-04-02 14:41:21

Which hand wins straight flush of A2345 spades or 9TJQK spades?

Debbie from Pokerlistings
2021-04-12 08:29:04

Hey Jan,
This is incredibly rare but in this case the higher straight flush would win: 9TJQK spades.

PokerListings
2019-11-14 10:22:59

@Russ
The first hand wins, since both are flushes, but the second best card of player 1 (K) is better than the second best card of player 2 (J).

Russ
2019-11-14 08:11:43

What hand wins AK742 Clubs or AJ976 Spades

John Rafferty 28
2017-05-14 16:42:15

what happens if the dealer give you four cards and you’ve only asked for three?

Kayla Levine
2017-03-23 22:45:16

How does the show down work with antes?

Kayla Levine
2017-03-23 22:44:12

You use clothes as money or I win. You take off an article, and it goes on like that.

Carlo
2016-11-06 02:06:30

In five card draw poker, If we only have a small group, say 4 or 5 players we often use a shortened deck say 6 or 7 up.
Do the card rankings alter in this case eg, does a flush beat a full house?

Kelly Crown
2016-10-09 18:06:58

do you have to have an Ace to get 4 cards on a draw or can it be any card?

Sean
2016-05-10 15:18:11

That’s called the showdown.

Sean
2016-05-10 15:17:32

If they have both have straights with the same value (say 10 high), then they would split the pot. Hands can only ever be made of 5 cards, so you can’t use a 6th card to break the tie.

Sean
2016-05-10 15:15:42

You would form a side pot. Basically, the player who bet 20 (Player A) and the Player who raised to 40 (Player B) would both put their 20 in the main pot in the middle. Now if there are other players remaining, the additional 20 from Player B would go in the side pot and if a Player C wants to call (or raise) that money would go in the side pot too. If Player A wins the showdown, they only get the main pot. Then there is a second showdown between Players B and C to see who wins the side pot.

Nasty river
2016-05-05 22:51:06

If a player only had 20.00 in chips and bets it all and another player who has more raises to 40.00..what happens. .this is an ante. game

Ben
2016-03-19 08:30:28

When do you count the value of the cards and give the prize money

jake hall
2015-07-01 13:55:17

is it possible for a poker tournament to end in a draw or a NC or is there always a winner??

Davie
2015-06-10 14:28:43

If two players get a straight, does the player with the highest second card win? Making it using 6 cards? Or does the pot split?

Arnie
2015-04-07 10:32:21

The dealer offers a cut. Does he just offer it to the player on his right only. Or if the player on his right refuses, must he offer the cut to the person next to him?

Russ
2015-03-14 10:39:23

If the players ante and are dealt five cards, then choose not to open, do the players draw up to 3 cards, or does everyone fold their hand and deal a new hand?

DH
2015-02-27 00:49:05

Just want to know what beats what .

al bedross
2015-02-04 10:36:21

why must a player who opened…show his or her cards at the end of play if he or she loses the hand?

pokrface
2015-01-26 19:00:59

Tom, the pot is split evenly among the players. The chances of this happening is very small especially a straight like that but it can happen.

Tom
2015-01-25 00:04:11

If two players are playing 5 card draw and both players showdown a high straight (10,J,Q,K,A) who wins and what is the probability of such a hand?

caitlin
2015-01-15 00:06:07

A flush In five cards of the same suite

jim
2015-01-09 01:33:27

what is a flush

joe
2014-12-06 09:53:14

who is dealt the cards in the draw round ; ;the player that started the betting or the player to the left of the daealer

edward
2014-11-28 16:30:24

when I have five cards in my hand,can I change four cards and recive the first four cards at once or I get thre card and afther theater I get the one back

david
2014-10-31 20:34:09

Very clear and brief.

jack baker
2014-09-03 23:41:52

I thought that in playing five card draw, you had to have a pair of jacks or better to open.

rookie
2014-08-27 05:19:16

@todd No because A is already considered the highest -Ace. A can only be considered low when it’s with the lowest numbers. Therefore you have a high card.

Nino
2014-07-27 08:15:46

If the dealer specifies that you need a pair of jacks or better to open what is the order of betting after you have had your discards replaced.

carlene palmer
2014-04-01 11:31:46

What is the highest hand through the lowest hand

Hmedina
2014-03-29 01:11:15

Can you swap all five cards and get new ones in poker?

TButler
2014-02-20 19:47:05

Great basic instructions!

Peter
2014-02-02 19:46:50

if player #1 has Q

todd
2014-01-29 19:15:23

If you have J Q K A 2- is this a straight? or is it only 10 J Q K A or A 2 3 4 5

stella
2014-01-26 15:38:39

Hi my son had A K 7 8

Ray
2013-12-17 07:28:54

No Amanda Jordan, that is not a hand. All you have is high card king.

amanda jordan
2013-12-15 23:22:52

If you have a king queen jack a ten and seven is that any kind of hand king and queen black spade jack red heart ten and seven red diamionds is that something.

New poker player
2013-11-29 10:51:35

Are you required to show your hand at the showdown or can you fold

mike
2013-11-14 02:49:42

A pair of kings if

lashawn
2013-11-09 13:10:52

If you had one ace two kings one queen a jack and a 3 what kind of hand is this

Tyler
2013-11-01 00:18:12

What are the hands highest to lowest

Smata
2013-10-09 11:56:54

If two people finish with flush and one has an ace bot the other has a pair of 5’s, who wins?

jazzy Q
2013-08-13 13:36:45

i love poker

jared alexander
2013-06-12 21:09:00

I love poker.

jared alexander
2013-06-12 21:08:58

I love poker.

jeff
2013-06-11 16:04:36

in 5 card draw if you can t open and someone else does can you raise

bob
2013-05-05 21:13:09

If when dealing five card draw, a card is accidentally exposed what is the proper procedure?

rocky
2013-04-08 10:23:43

I have a question about five card draw. If you are dealing do you have to announce that you are standing pat ??

dave
2013-02-15 13:16:52

5 card , guts to open,no one opens . Do you redeal , or draw to the best hand ?

marcus
2013-02-06 12:41:58

Whats the ruling on splitting a pot say 2 people have pair of kings dose the 1 with the highest kicker win or still split

Tharee
2013-02-05 04:28:45

Before any new cards are dealt, should we burn a card?

Paul
2013-01-25 09:02:45

We were playing 5 card draw 2 players were left one player bets and the other player folded after he folded the player who bet put his cards down and he had six cards Who wins ?

Uncle chop chop
2013-01-10 19:59:00

At what point in the game do you take your clothes off?

raul
2012-12-29 23:49:10

do you have to have an ace to throw down 4cards

John
2012-10-12 00:41:30

Can a player open with 6,7,8,10 clubs as a possible straight flush?

antonio belpulzo
2012-10-06 17:04:36

5 cards 5 players final bet the first player chek the second chek the 3 one chek the 4 one chek and the one who give the cards bet the lowess amount . the first player can he bet ( raise) and the second one to and the 3 one to and the 4 one to .or thay just have the choice to bet wat the giving cards player bet ?and the hand is over all the players show there cards . thank

Ann Albright
2012-09-18 10:30:42

I have a question? We play 5 card draw for fun on a trail ride. We have aces and jokers wild. Here are the two hands can you tell me who wins. Q spades Q diamonds Q hearts Joker and J hearts so 4 queens with a J hearts second hand is Ace spades Ace diamonds Q spades Joker and 4 clubs so 4 queens with a 4 clubs.

Joe
2012-08-14 18:41:53

Hi there,
A question for you.
In 5 card draw a player wants to split his openers, does he have to announce that he is splitting his cards at the beginning, or ask for the card to be left at the side so that he can prove he could open at the end of the hand ?

Chief
2012-07-14 16:29:25

I have played a variation where there were two draw rounds. Is this a real variation or just a house rule??

PokerListings
2012-05-21 09:04:03

Sorry Monica, your twin’s right on this one. No rule says it needs to be an ace.

Monica
2012-05-21 08:45:02

You are dealt five cards…if you have to hold on to one card I say it MUST only be an ace…My twin ,Lo, states you can hold onto anything ..such as an 8 or just a ten…who is correct??

Kody
2012-04-23 11:16:23

Oops. I wanted to say, I now know better.

Kody
2012-04-23 11:07:07

I knew how to play, but I was confused. So know I know better and what to do.

Michael grant
2012-03-16 12:51:02

What are the rules/limits on betting or raises? Sonaee

dexter
2012-02-25 22:01:05

which hand wins 3kings 2tens vs 2aces 3fours

Billie
2011-08-18 20:42:21

in 5 card draw , if a player miscalls his hand , what is the ruling? Thank you

Billie
2011-06-30 02:29:14

6 people are playing 5 card draw poker. the dealer happens to deal 1 person 6 cards by mistake. what is the ruling on this?

Lhabe
2010-12-30 06:26:44

hi sean,

im very new to this game i only play with a couple of guys who taught me the basics but im really not sure how it really works with the betting, the hand ranking, and the ante/blind could u help me to at least learn the basics?

Darren
2010-10-13 20:42:46

“just saying “Ace-high straight” isn’t enough”

Paying attention isn’t for me today. I was thinking “Ace-high flush” when I read that instead of a straight. Sorry! (doesn’t change the answer, just my aside).

Darren
2010-10-13 20:37:24

“I have a king of spade, a king of club , a queen of heart , a ten of diamond and ace of heart while my opponent had a king of diamond, a king of heart, a queen of spade, a ten of club and ace of spade. Who should win the pool money?”

You both have a pair of kings with identical remaining cards. The hands are a tie. In most poker games you will split the pot.

“The suits of the cards are used to determine whether a hand forms a flush or straight flush. In most variants, suits do not have an associated value, and play no part in determining the ranking of a hand.”

Darren
2010-10-13 20:34:03

“Ace high straight and player two also has a Ace high straight. When you have both players with identical hands, don’t you then go to the suite to break any tie?”

No. If both straights had exactly the same rank cards (just saying “Ace-high straight” isn’t enough), then it would be a tie. Suits are not used for ranking poker hands.

king kassim
2010-10-04 04:54:39

we played 5-card poker, I have a king of spade, a king of club , a queen of heart , a ten of diamond and ace of heart while my opponent had a king of diamond, a king of heart, a queen of spade, a ten of club and ace of spade. Who should win the pool money?

carlos
2010-09-15 23:01:09

were playing OCEAN. Ihave Q,j,10, of clubs and a 2,…there is a 9 of spade as verdict. Do i call Q-high or can i use wild as k, and a, of clubs?

Gary
2010-08-14 16:39:13

In 5 card draw, player one has an Ace high straight and player two also has a Ace high straight. When you have both players with identical hands, don’t you then go to the suite to break any tie? Example, player one with Ace high straight but has an Ace of spades and player two has an Ace of diamonds. What happens when player one has a Ace high flush in spades and player two has an Ace high flush in diamonds. Doesn’t player one win, since the spade is the higher ranking card?

Roy
2010-07-14 03:04:27

If dealing 5 card draw in a home game, and the cards are getting short, how many can be dealt before using the discards?I dont think the bottom card can be used but how about the second and third from the bottom? Thank you

Peter
2010-05-25 05:17:17

Hi Sean,

Please help me out here. Example,there’s K,Q,8,6,5 in the table. Now,I have the pair of K and an ace,and the other person has a pair of K and a jack. Should we split the money?

Stephen
2010-05-17 13:05:13

A question, if 2 or more players are betting against each other, and one player doesn’t have any more money to continue, what happens……who is the winner ?

Sean Lind
2010-04-30 19:00:36

Absolutely

-s

Tashi
2010-04-30 15:45:30

Sure.. but just a question ….
Once you read can you get it removed 🙂

Sean Lind
2010-04-29 20:41:02

Tashi,

as a rule I don’t post my email in comments, but if you want to post yours I’d be happy to email you.

Tashi
2010-04-29 15:49:37

Hi Sean,

Can I have youe mail Id?

Sean Lind
2010-04-28 23:45:25

Tashi,

If all players are all in, there is no more betting, but there will be the second round of draws. The players must keep their hands dark, and draw in order, regardless of all betting being finished. After the last player completes the draw, skip straight to the showdown.

Tashi
2010-04-28 15:34:09

Juts one clarification:

If all Players are all-in in the first round of betting then also do we have the draw and Second round of betting???

Thanks

Tashi
2010-04-13 18:26:48

Thanks a ton Sean.
Its been a great help to understand the game 🙂

Sean Lind
2010-04-12 20:54:34

Tashi,

As for who acts first, you got it all correct. First betting round, the small blind always acts first (that’s the dealer Heads up), the rest of the hand it’s always the player to the left of the dealer.

Yes, one player will discard and receive all their new cards before moving on to the next player.

All in’s and side pots function identical to Hold’em.

And if a player “times out” on the draw stage, they will be forced to rap pat. Although I’ve never heard of this happening outside of online poker.

Tashi
2010-04-12 11:37:37

Hi Sean,
I have another one question. This discard of cards happens one at a time right, I.e first player left to the dealer gets the chance and then the turn moves in clockwise direction?

Are the other rules for creation of side pots, all-in etc are same as in Texas?

If player does not take anction within the specifed time period durtring the Draw then is teh deafult action ‘PAT’ and then game continues for the next round of betting?

Thanks in advance.

Tashi

Tashi
2010-04-09 18:42:51

Hi Sean,

Thanks for the iupdates. Another question from me:
Who starts the round in this :

Is it as follows:

For game where more than 2 players are seated:
1. First Round of Betting – Player left to the Big Blind

2. Draw round – Player left to Dealer

3. Second round of Betting – Player left to Dealer

NOW, for Heads up table

1. First Round of betting: Player who is the Dealer is the Small Blind therefore he starts the game here
2. Draw Round: Player left to the Dealer
3. Second round of betting: Player left to the Dealer

I am a little confused for these two scenarios.

Thanks in advance,
Tashi

Sean Lind
2010-04-08 19:44:14

Tashi,

1. Depends on if you’re playing limit or No-Limit. In a No-Limit (or Pot-Limit game) the min bet is always equal to the big blind.

In a Limit game the first betting round will be the “small” limit, like in hold’em, and the second betting round will use the “big” limit.

These games are often played as a spread-limit game, meaning you can always bet anything between a predetermined min and max bet (from $1-$20 for example).

2. This is why many people will only allow a player to exchange up to 3 cards at a time, that way you won’t run into this problem.

At a real game, you won’t run into the problem either, since if half the table throws away 5 cards, the logical thing to do would be hold on to all five of yours and bluff the table, since no one has a hand.

Either way, if you run out of cards you need to shuffle up the discard muck pile, cut and continue dealing.

Tashi
2010-04-08 18:02:59

Hi Sean,
How is it going. Hope all well at your end. Thanks for posting the rules here. have been trying to understand this game. have few clarifications :

1. Whats the min bet in the rounds. i..e In Holdem the betting structure for first two rounds is lower stake value and then its the Higher stake value if I am not mistaken.What is the minimum bet in these rounds for Fixed Limit, Pot Limit and No Limit what is the strutcure for the same. Is it similar to Hold’em

2. As stated it says Players can discard all the cards. Now we playing a 6 Player table. So ecah player gets 5 cards. In Total 30 cards have been used. Now if all players want to discard the cards then the deck needs 30 cards however, now it has only 22 cards left(52-30). what haoens in such situation. Its like an exception that we have in seven card.. less cards more players. what is the solution for the same

What happens in the Draw round if I do not take any action. What would be the default.

I will be really grateful to you if you could clear my doubts about the same

Thanks in advance

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