5 Card Draw Poker Rules – The Basics for New Poker Players

5 Card Draw Rules

Antes and Blinds in 5 Card Draw Poker

Pre-Flop betting options in 5-Card Draw poker games

Before any cards have been dealt, there must be a pre-flop bet to initiate play.  In 5-Card Draw poker, there are two opposing approaches that players can take to pre-flop betting.

Before any cards are dealt, 5-Card Draw poker players are required to either put an ‘ante’ into the pot or play using a ‘blind’ system like the one used in Texas Hold ‘Em and some other common poker variations.

5-Card Draw poker games have three different limit formats: fixed-limit, pot-limit, and no-limit.


An ante is a game entry fee which goes into the winning pot. The ante system is the most commonly used pre-flop betting option when it comes to 5-Card Draw.

According to the 5-Card Draw ante rules, each poker player must pay a fixed amount of money, or ‘ante,’ before the dealer issues any cards.


The blinds system is commonly used in poker games such as Texas Hold’em. However, you will still find plenty of 5-Card Draw tables which use blinds as a pre-flop bet.

In poker games using the blinds system, the two players sitting to the dealer’s left (referred to as the ‘blind’ and the ‘big blind’) are obliged to put forward pre-flop bets.

The big blind and the blind are the only two players required to bet at this point in the game.

Blind Values

The value of blind and big blind bets depend on the limits of the game, the rules of a poker platform or the players themselves. A Big blind bet is typically double the amount of the first blind bet.

Betting Options in 5 Card Draw

In 5-Card Draw poker, players are allowed the same betting options as other games such as Texas Hold ‘Em and Omaha. The only real difference lies in the structure of betting rounds, hole card layout and game progression.

Based on the strength of their hand and the actions of their opponents, 5-Card Draw players can choose to either:

  • Call – Match previous bet
  • Raise – Increase previous bet
  • Fold – Quit the game
  • Bet – Initiate betting round

If no players have made a wager, players at the table are permitted to ‘check’ their hand. This means they decline to bet.

5 Card Draw Betting Rounds & Game Structure

The structure of 5-Card Draw is simpler than that of Omaha poker and Texas Hold ‘Em, and the quick format of 5-Card Draw allows for an engaging playing experience.

Let’s take a closer look at the betting rounds and game structure of 5-Card Draw poker.

The Blind / Big Blind / Ante

5-Card Draw requires pre-flop betting in order for the betting action to commence.

Depending on the specific game rules, game setting, house rules and player preference, either ante or blind bets must be made to kick off a game of 5-Card Draw.

If you are playing with antes, each player at the table must pay a specified amount before the first deal. In the case of blind play, two players must make proportionate bets before the first deal.

After the pre-flop betting, it is time for the first deal.

The First Deal / First Betting Round

Each player is issued five cards, which are dealt face-down as hole cards. Based on the strength of this initial hand, players place their first bets.

The Card Draw

Following the first round of betting, players who remain at the table will be entitled to their one and only card draw.

This gives players the chance to discard unwanted cards in the place of random new cards from the deck.

Players can choose to either swap and replace cards or stick with their original hand.

Second Betting Round

Once the card draw is over and players have constructed their final hands, it is time for the second and final round of betting.

The Showdown

Players who have survived the second betting round and remain at the table are now obliged to show their cards. The player with the strongest hand takes the entire pot.

A Guide to 5 Card Draw Poker Hand Values

If you have played popular poker games such as Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha and Stud, you shouldn’t have any problems evaluating card hands in 5-Card Draw. This is because the hand values are identical.

If you are new to poker or you would like to brush up on your basic knowledge of poker hand values, here is a quick guide to refresh your memory.

The following list of poker hands is ranked in descending order:

5 Card Draw Poker Hands

  • Royal Flush10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace which all belong to the same suit. (Most Valuable)
  • Straight FlushAny five cards in order which belong to the same suit.
  • Four of a KindAny four numerically matching cards.
  • Full HouseOne pair plus three of a kind.
  • FlushAny five cards which belong to the same suit.
  • StraightAny five cards of any suit in numerical order.
  • Three of a KindAny three cards of any suit with the same value.
  • Two PairTwo pairs in a hand.
  • One PairAny two cards of any suit with the same value.
  • High Card – The single highest card. (Least Valuable)

House 5 Card Draw Rules

As with every casino game, the house may impose certain rules, playing regulations or limit restrictions on 5-Card Draw poker. As an online poker player, you will start to see many common rules that the house tends to apply.

One such common rule is that 5-Card Draw players are only permitted to replace three cards during the draw. This rule is usually applied to low stakes poker play.

No more than three hole cards may be discarded in many 5-Card Draw games, the only common exception is if a player is holding a specified wild card, in which case they may draw four cards from the deck.

In more flexible 5 Card Draw games (which tend to be played for higher limits), players may discard or replace all five of their hole cards, though they may not receive their five cards all at once. So, if a player was to choose to replace their whole hand, they would be issued the cards in a broken deal punctuated by other players’ draws.

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