5 Card Draw Rules & Game Play

5 card draw

Five 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 the game has been around for such a long time, and has been played in countless home games and card rooms across the nation, there are a couple different variations on the traditional rules.

Below you will find all of the most commonly used rules for playing Five Card Draw.

The game 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 How to Play 5-Card Draw Video

Blinds and 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 Texas Hold'em.

In a blind 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.


Register on Pokerstars to Play 5 Card Draw Poker


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), while 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.


The Draw Round

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, getting them replaced with an equal number of cards from the top of the deck.


5 card draw2



In some home-games and rule-sets 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 is almost never correct to call in the first betting round, only to throw away four or all five of your cards.


The Second Betting Round and 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.

If you have any questions or comments, drop them in the comments box below.


Play 5 Card Draw Poker on Tiger Gaming


Please fill the required fields correctly!

Error saving comment!

You need to wait 3 minutes before posting another comment.

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


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 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,

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


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


Sorry, this room is not available in your country.

Please try the best alternative which is available for your location:

Close and visit page