Ultimate Guide to 5-Card Draw Poker - How to Play? Rules, Tips and Strategies

Find out all the necessary details about the oldest variation of poker, including some extra tips and tricks to help you become a poker pro in no time!

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Avatar Author Adrian Sterne
Fact checked by Dusan Jovanovic

5 Card Draw PokerWelcome to the ultimate guide to the poker variant called 5-Card Draw — the earliest form of the world’s most-played card game. This variant is easy to learn, which makes it suitable for rookies.

This classic form of poker often can be found in home games, more than in land-based casinos. Yet, if you want to set a good poker base, you are on the right page.

In this text, I will tell you more about 5-Card Draw poker rules and strategy, and list it in the following order:

I hope you will get all the information you need from this extensive guide. Without further ado, let’s cut to the chase.

My list of the best poker sites which I consider to be the best rooms to play in 2024:
  • 100% Legal & Licensed
  • Verified Bonus
  • Mobile Friendly
  • Advertiser Disclosure

    Kindly be aware that some links on Top 10 Poker Sites are affiliate links, for which we may earn a commission. Find out more on our terms & conditions

  • Must be 18+ to participate.
crown # 1  Poker Site
BetOnline Poker
5.0 / 5.0

100% up to $1000

18+. T&Cs Apply

Regulated by Panama

  • 100% First deposit bonus
  • Top 3 in US player traffic
  • Great selection of games
  • Banking through cryptocurrencies
Payout speed 1-3 days
Deposit options
Mastercard Visa Bitcoin Credit Card Bitcoin Cash Cash App +10

Exclusive bonus

100% up to $1000

18+. T&Cs Apply

Displayed 3 of 8 rooms

What Is 5-Card Draw Poker?

5-Card Draw is the original version of poker that originated almost two hundred years ago. Being the oldest form of the game, it is, at the same time, the simplest to grasp. The rules are easy to understand — there are two betting rounds and only one draw.

Even though it was vastly popular in the past, new forms of poker like Texas Hold’em evolved, and 5-Card Draw eventually faded to dust. Due to the popularity of these modern variants of poker, you can rarely see anyone playing 5-Card Draw in brick-and-mortar casinos.

Some online sites still offer 5-Card Draw, but it’s mostly played in poker home games. Anyhow, if you’re new to the game of poker and want to get the basics down before joining the table, 5-Card Draw can help you get started.

How to Play 5-Card Draw Poker

If you want to learn how to play 5-card poker and make regular profits from it, you should master the basics first. The ultimate goal in 5-Card Draw is to make the unbeatable five-card poker hand out of the standard 52-card deck.

As opposed to other poker variants, with 5-Card Draw, there are no cards on the table. You hold all five cards in your hands. The maximum number of players in the game is six. Now, let’s take a look at the game flow in 5-Card Draw poker.

Antes or Blinds

Before the cards are dealt, each player must place a bet. They can do so in two ways:
  • Ante — Each player adds a small amount of money as the initial bet at the beginning of a poker hand. The amount is the same for all players.
  • Blinds — A player sitting to the left of the dealer is the small blind. The next player to his left is the big blind. The big blind is double the amount of the small blind.

The dealer button moves clockwise and dictates the betting order. Once all the players paid the specified amount, each of them gets five cards facing down. As soon as the players take a look at their cards and decide what to do with them, the first betting round begins.

The First Betting Round

Again, the player sitting to the left of the dealer is on the move. This player has a few options to choose from.
  • Check — If you want to check, it means that you don’t want to invest any money. However, if anyone playing after you decides to place a bet, you are left with three options (see below).
  • Call — You call when you want to follow the lead of other players. In other words, if players before you put 1$ into the pot, you will do the same.
  • Raise — When you believe you have a winning hand, you can choose to raise and bet more than your opponents. If other players want to keep playing, they have to match your bet.
  • Fold — If you are certain there is nothing you can do with the cards you hold, you can choose to fold. You drop your cards on the table without showing them to others, and you will be out of the game.

When the first round of betting is completed, it is time for the part that makes 5-Card Draw exciting — the Draw.

The Draw

The draw allows all active players to replace their cards with new ones, should they feel the need to do so. The players choose how many cards they would like to discard. In case they want to get rid of all five cards, they can replace them.

It can also happen that a player initially gets a hand considered a favorite and doesn’t want to draw any cards. In 5-Card Draw, this is called a standing pat.

Once every player is dealt new cards, the final round of betting takes place. Now, players can make their final move and hope for the best.

Finally, the players who are still holding their cards lay them on the table, and the strongest hand wins. If only one player is left standing after the second round of betting, they automatically win the pot.

To help you better understand the basics of 5-Card Draw, feel free to watch the video below.

Triple S Games


5-Card Draw Strategy to Increase Your Winning Odds

Let’s assume you have read the detailed instructions on 5-Card Draw and watched the video above. If so, you are well-equipped with the basic knowledge of the gameplay.

Unfortunately, this won’t be enough to outshine regular 5-Card Draw players.To do so, you need to put that knowledge into practice and develop a strategy. Additionally, some extra tips can help you improve your poker skills faster and play effectively.

Decision Making

Decision Making

The most challenging part of any poker game is the moment you need to act. In 5-Card Draw, you will need to make a game-changing decision at least two times.

  • The Deal — Once you receive your cards, take a good look and estimate your winning chances. When your turn comes, place a bet accordingly.
  • The Draw — Now you should decide what you are aiming for. Based on the hand you’ve got, draw only the number of cards that can potentially strengthen your standing. For example, if you have a pair, exchange three cards. In case you hold three-of-a-kind, draw only two.
  • The Betting Amount — If you have a solid hand and wish to play until the end, you must place some more chips into the pot. Depending on your hand, you need to decide how much money to put in the pot before the showdown.

Making these decisions might be tricky for a novice player, especially since you don’t have much time to think. Yet, take a look at the next tip that may help get over the hump.



While you are thinking about your next move, you should also pay attention to other players’ actions. After the first betting round, you can predict the opponent’s future actions based on the amount of bet they have placed so far.

Yet, the vital part is the draw, as it gives out more information on your opponents’ hands. Assuming that other players play by logic, the number of cards they draw can tell you the following:

  • One — Don’t get ahead of yourself and presume that a player has a monster hand because they exchanged only one card. While they might be going after a straight or flush, it can also mean that they hold two pairs. On rare occasions, a player might have a four-of-a-kind and draw one card just for fun.
  • Two — When a player draws two cards, it is highly likely that they hold a three-of-a-kind. Sometimes players draw cards when they are close to a straight or flush.
  • Three — Usually, this means that a player is holding a pair. Although weak, this hand might turn into the winning one.
  • Four — A player drawing four cards probably only has a high card and hopes for a miracle.
  • Five — In some cases, a player will exchange all the cards. This can tell you one thing — they had a big fat nothing.

Of course, these are just a few of many possible scenarios in a round of 5-Card Draw poker. Bear in mind that not everyone plays the same. More experienced players often think outside the box and manage to win thanks to bluffs — which is the most valuable skill in poker.

The Bluff

The Bluff

When you start playing 5-Card Draw, the first few attempts will probably be as per the books. As time goes by, you will notice that this might not always be the best option.

This is when the bluff comes in. You have probably heard of it, but let’s revise just to be on the safe side. Bluff means that a player puts a lot of money into the pot while holding a hand that is not very prosperous.

You might wonder why anyone would do that but hold your horses. When you stick to the basic strategy, your moves soon become predictable. Consequently, other players can easily guess what kind of hand you have and act on it accordingly.

If you bluff from time to time, you might lead other players to fold much better hands than yours. However, don’t bluff too much, as you won’t get away with it every time.

It is also a good idea to change the way you draw and bet once in a while. Play around with both your cards and luck so other players cannot “read” your strategy.

Poker Face

Poker Face

In poker, there is no good bluff without a solid poker face. To become a poker pro, you should be able to control your emotions and facial expressions. Simply put, you need to put on a poker face, which is a neutral expression regardless of the situation.

Some players naturally get a poker face, while some discover other ways to hide their emotions. Don’t tell me you thought that poker players wear sunglasses because they want to look cool?

The point of poker face is not to show your feelings regarding the cards you hold. If they are great, try not to show excitement. If they are awful, do the same.

Remember tip number two about observing other players? Well, they certainly are observing you as well. For this reason, practice your poker face whenever you play.



Last but not least, your position has a crucial role in 5-Card Draw Poker. The best position to be in is when you are on the button because you play last. This will give you a significant advantage, as you will be able to observe other players’ decisions.

Try to play more hands when you are in a “late” position than when you are the first one to act. If you hold a strong hand, feel free to play as you like, no matter the position. If not, try to play tight in the early position and get more relaxed as your position improves.

You can also use your position to bluff, but only if no one has already used that move.

Where to Play 5-Card Draw Online

Congratulations! You have come to the end of this short course on 5-Card Draw. The only thing left is to start playing the game. The more you play, the better you will be.

At the top of the article, I told you that 5-Card Draw is not available in the majority of land-based casinos anymore. However, don’t fall into despair yet, as there are other ways to practice your newly-acquired skills.

Numerous online casinos still keep 5-Card Draw in their offer. If you check this page, you will find many 5-star online casinos where you can play the primary version of poker. Some of them even provide demo versions that are great for rookies like yourself.

Another option is to check the Apple or Play Store and download the apps for playing 5-Card Draw. Some of the prominent names in the gambling industry launched their apps for your convenience.

Ultimately, no one can stop you from practicing in a poker home game with your family and friends.

Final Thoughts

Although it is slightly outdated, 5-Card Draw remains the cornerstone of poker as we know it. With easy-to-learn rules and simple structure, it is the best poker variant for beginners. Once you become an expert in this form of poker, you won’t be shy to take part in more advanced games. The process might be slow, but it is worth a try.

I hope this article has answered all your questions regarding 5-Card Draw. I would appreciate any comment or suggestion that can help in improving further work. Should you have anything to add, do not hesitate to leave a comment below.


Is 5-Card Draw difficult to master?

No, 5-Card Draw is the basic variant of poker. It is straightforward and suitable for new players without poker experience.

Can I play 5-Card Draw in land-based casinos?

As 5-Card Draw is the oldest variant of poker, most land-based casinos replaced it with more modern versions.

Can I play 5-Card Draw in online casinos?

Yes, numerous online casinos still offer 5-Card Draw poker.

What is the structure of 5-Card Draw?

The structure of 5-Card Draw is very simple. There are two betting rounds and only one draw.

What is the best position in 5-Card Draw?

The best position is “on the button” In other words, when you play last, you have an advantage over other players.

  Contact Me

Hi, I am the Chief Editor of top10pokersites.net, this site is dedicated to all thing poker. I have been working around the poker industry for the last 15 years, with different brands. The main purpose of this site is to keep you uptodate with the industry and offer you the best deals around.