- Position - Position is essentially exactly the same as in no-limit-hold'em. There is a dealer button which moves clockwise around the table and indicates the relative positions of the players. The BTN is the strongest position and is always the last to act postflop. The blinds are last to act preflop but always first to act postflop. The blinds make a mandatory payment before the hand starts known as “blinds”.
- The Deal - Each player at the table is dealt 5-cards which they show no-one. In a home-game the player with the dealer button is the one who deals and he deals starting with the player on his left in a clockwise motion.
- The Draw - Once all the betting has taken place, players still involved in the hand (i.e didn't fold) have the opportunity to discard any of their existing cards and replace them with fresh cards from the deck. This again occurs in a clockwise motion based on the position at the table. Assuming a player wishes to keep all of his current cards he has the option to "stand pat", which means he does not discard or draw any additional cards.
- Final Round - Once the drawing stage is complete players have an additional opportunity to bet based on the strength of their hand. Once all bets are complete players see a showdown. Each player reveals the strength of their hand and the strongest hand takes the pot.
- Betting-Structure – Five card draw is commonly played both as a fixed-limit game and a no-limit game. There is no reason it could not be played with other betting structures also.
- Triple Draw – Why draw once when you can draw three times? Triple draw is the same as single-draw apart from there are a total of 4-streets of betting as opposed to just 2. The triple draw variant is in some ways more similar to NLHE where we have a round of preflop betting followed by an additional 3 streets of betting. Players may find this variant more exciting since it's more likely that they successfully complete some of their draws.
- Stripped Deck – Five-card draw is sometimes played with a stripped deck containing only the high-cards between Seven and Ace. It is also played with the cards ranging from Six to Ace. Since there are less cards of each suit the probability of making a flush goes down while the probability of making a full-house goes up. As a result it is common for a flush to beat a full-house in this variant.
- 2-7 single/triple draw – This is the lowball version of 5-card draw. The action occurs in exactly the same way as the high-hand version of the game but hand strengths are measured using the the low-hand ranking system where the strongest hand is A,2,3,4,5.
- Acey Ducy – Same as regular 5-card draw for the most part. Players may draw 3 cards, four if they hold an Ace. At showdown Aces and Deuces are wild meaning they can be used as a substitute for any other card. So for example 56782 is actually a straight.
- Assassin – At the discard stage if players discard any 2's (discard them face up), they will receive an extra card for a total of 6 or more. At showdown if a player has a two still in his hand he will automatically lose (unless everyone folds).
- Red and Black – Same as regular 5-card-draw but with a different ranking system. Each card is assigned a number of points which is calculated into a total. Broadways are worth 10, Aces are worth 1, and every other card is worth its face value in points. However, red cards are worth a positive amount of points while black cards are worth a negative amount of points.
- Ruin Your Neighbor – Before showdown each player must pass one card to the player on their left.
- Trees – Instead of drawing as usual, players may trade cards with each other until no-one wants to trade anymore. No information may be given regarding the cards traded except for the number of cards up for trade. After trading is over the 2nd round of betting takes place, followed by the showdown.
- Slippery Elmer – A variant with 3 betting rounds as opposed to 2 or 4 which are the most common. After the draw, players bet as normal. A card from the deck is placed face-up in the middle of the table to indicate which card will be treated as wild. Another round of betting takes place before the showdown.
Some casinos allow a 5-card draw but request the player initially draws only 4-cards and then receives his final card after all other players have completed their draw. Card depletion is more of an issue in home games where players are more likely to stick around for the draw. In higher level games more preflop folding occurs and card depletion is way less of an issue.
Why You Should Play 5-card Draw?
5-card Draw Tips
- Don't Limp. If you want to play a hand come in for a raise. The only exception is the small-blind where it is OK to complete and the big-blind where it is OK to check-back.
- Be careful drawing to straights and flushes, we usually don't get the correct price
- The most standard draw is to hold on to a pair and draw an additional 3 cards to make three-of-a-kind
- The strength of our pair does matter. Be careful playing TTxxx and lower, these are referred to as “shorts”.
- We should use the amount of cards our opponent draws to help us hand-read
- Always take note of opponent's tendencies, do they like to bluff etc
- Be mindful of position. We should open a much stronger range of hands from UTG than BTN.