Five Quick Tips—How to Play Five Card Draw

GLOBAL POKER’S
FIVE QUICK TIPS

HOW TO PLAY FIVE CARD STUD IN POKER

Five card draw is one of the oldest forms of modern poker, and it's also one of the most popular among people playing home games with friends. The rules are simple enough to learn and the game has the unique feature of allowing players to draw new cards from the deck and improve their hand.

The game is rarely found at traditional land-based casinos anymore, with most focusing on the far more popular Texas Hold'em. However, with the rise of online casinos, and the endless number of card rooms the virtual space provides, five card draw has made a slight comeback. Here are five quick tips for playing five card draw, whether at an online casino or a home game with your friends.

1. AIM FOR QUALITY HANDS OVER QUANTITY

Five card draw is incredibly fast paced, with only two betting rounds and a draw phase you can play a lot more hands per hour than most other poker variants. As a result, losses can stack up fast, which is why it's important to be very selective with the hands you play. Aim for quality over quantity and don't play every hand, otherwise you will bleed chips and eventually be left scratching your head and wondering where it all went wrong.

Wait for a critical moment when you have a hand with a high success rate, such as a solid ranked pocket pair, and continually raise throughout the betting process. Don’t back down. Waiting for that dynamite hand can get frustrating, and even a little boring but it's worth it in the long run. Patience is vital in five card draw and poker in general.

2. KEEP IT SIMPLE AND DON’T CHASE LONGSHOTS

Sometimes, simple is best. Try to make a decent hand frequently, like a pair, two pair, or three of a kind, rather than aiming for hands in the high end of the rankings like straights and flushes. If you have a pair, draw three cards and try to make three of a kind. When you are dealt three of a kind, draw two cards.

Generally, you will have a higher success rate building on what you have rather than chasing longshot hands. For example, if you find yourself with a pair of jacks, don’t trade one out in the hopes of making a flush or a straight. Keep it simple.

3. MIX UP YOUR PLAYSTYLE AND KEEP EVERYONE GUESSING

One of the fundamental parts of five card draw is the drawing phase, you don't see any community cards, and unfortunately, this feature provides a big clue as to what your cards might be. If somebody keeps two of their cards and changes out three, odds are they have a pair. If they keep four cards and change out one, they might be chasing a straight, flush or have two pairs.

That's why it's crucial to mix up your playstyle; keep your opponents guessing what your cards are. Fold occasionally, trade out all five cards, make a large wager, then check during the second betting phase. Vary your playstyle as much as possible to make it hard for other players to get a read on you.

4. LOOK FOR TELLS AND GET A READ

While you focus on varying your playstyle, you should also be trying to get a read on everyone else. Sometimes it can be beneficial to fold a few hands in a row, sit back and watch the game unfold and look for tells and how other people play without the pressure of being in a hand.

Take whatever edge you can get. Look how your opponents bet and how many cards they discard and draw. If they get jittery or suddenly start talking after a long silence, it might mean they have a good hand. Anything that might indicate what their cards are is a piece of information you should look to exploit.

5. DON’T LIMP INTO POTS, COME IN SWINGING

Five card draw only has two betting phases, so you have less time to use long drawn-out strategies. Slow playing is still a viable strategy, but it’s a lot harder to do with so few betting phases. If you decide to play a hand, commit, don’t use half measures, come in swinging and bet aggressively. Aim for at least ten times whatever the big blind or ante is, or if the betting is already higher than that, double whatever the previous bet was. Build the pot or make everyone fold. Either way, win the hand by being aggressive in what little time you have.