5 Card Draw: How to Play the Oldest Poker Game Around

5 card draw is the simplest variation of poker and is usually the basis for video poker. This online poker game is usually what most beginner players start out learning. The goal of 5 card draw is to make the best poker hand with five cards, only being able to trade out 3 cards maximum, except when holding an ace.

This game goes all the way back to the Middle Ages and the wild west. People first played this game with 20 cards and only 10s-Aces were played. In 1820, when the 52-card deck was introduced, it would forever change this game. Allowing the exchange segment of the game to take place with extra cards, 5 card draw quickly gained popularity across the United States. Now, players can play online poker for real money.

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Supplies You Need to Play

Playing online is the most convenient way to play – you just need your cell phone or computer and an internet or data connection. Playing live, the things you’ll need are some chips, a deck of cards and a dealer.

cards and chips

How to Play the Game

Once players have placed their antes or their small and big blinds, each player will be dealt five cards face down. This is when the first round of betting will begin.

Next, assuming there is at least one player still in the game, those still in will start drawing cards. They will tell the dealer how many cards they need and will then exchange. If you don’t want to exchange cards, players will say “stand pat.”

Once everyone has drawn their cards, the second round of betting will start.

Lastly is the showdown and this is where the best hand wins!

Hand Rankings

Ranking Hand Description Example Hand
#1 Royal Flush A straight from 10 to Ace, all the same suit. 5 Card Royal Flush
#2 Straight Flush Any cards in consecutive order that are all the same suit. 5 Card Straight Flush
#3 Four of a Kind Four of the same card. 5 Card Four of a Kind
#4 Full House One pair and three of the same card. 5 Card Full House
#5 Flush All cards are the same suit. 5 Card Flush
#6 Straight Cards are in consecutive order. 5 Card Straight
#7 Three of a Kind Three of the same card. 5 Card Three of a Kind
#8 Two Pairs One pair of one card and one pair of another card. 5 Card Two Pairs
#9 Pair Two of the same card. 5 Card Pair
#10 High Card None of the hands above, relying on the highest card in your hand. 5 Card High Card


Strategies and Things to Remember

One strategy is, knowing and understanding how many to exchange based on the cards in your hand.

One pair Exchange 3 cards
Two pairs Exchange 1 card
Three of a Kind Exchange 2 cards

Based on your hands, this chart should be a starting guide on when you should be exchanging cards and how many.

To piggyback off of the above strategy, it’s also important to switch things up. As you play more, you’ll be able to read players and players will be able to read you. If you always exchange 2 cards when you have a three of a kind, other players will pick up on that pattern and will make their plays accordingly.  You have to remember to play smart and stay attentive.

Finally, don’t forget the age-old strategy of bluffing! Every once in a while, only exchange one card or even stand pat to try to trick other players into thinking you have a better hand than you do, however, be wary with this strategy. Do not over bet, know when you need to fold and always checks the reviews to make sure you’re playing on one of the best online poker sites.


Community Terms

Pot: The total amount of money a player will win at the end of the game.

Check: Choosing not to bet when other players have no bet before you (they checked as well).

Call: To put the equal amount of money a player has put in the pot in order to stay in the game.

Raise: Increase the amount money being bet for that round, and others must call to stay in the game.

An Easy, Classic Game Anyone Can Master

Just because 5 card draw is an easy game, but practice always makes perfect. Start playing where it’s free so you can get a feel for the game, the players and different strategies to help you win big in the long run. Good luck!

Master More Poker Variants

Have you become an absolute master at 5-card draw? Master some of our other favourite poker games and expand your game!

Texas Hold’em3 Card PokerStud Poker5 Card Stud7 Card StudMississippi StudCaribbean StudHORSE PokerOmaha PokerOmaha Hi-Lo

Frequently Asked Questions


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