Five Card (5 Card) Draw is a draw variant of poker. In other words, players will hold and discard cards, which are replaced by cards in the deck.

In draw variants, players may discard cards from their hand and replace them with cards from the deck. The draw typically occurs before each betting round(apart from the first), but this amounts to only one drawing round in Five Card Draw.

In this guide, we’ll check out the hand names and values as well as the primary strategy behind 5 Card Draw.

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

5 Card Draw Basics: Hand Values

5 CardDraw uses the standard high card ranking system that is employed in other variants such as Hold’em.

Here is a quick recap:



Royal Flush

A-K-Q-J-T (all in the same suit)

Straight Flush

8-7-6-5-4 (all in the same suit)



Full House (Boat)

A-A-A-J-J (three of one, two of the other)


A-J-8-4-2 (all in the same suit)


8-7-6-5-4 (of various suits)

3-of-a-Kind (Set/Trips)


Two Pair


One Pair


High Card

A-Q-9-6-3 (different suits, non-connected, unpaired)

Check out a full explanation of how to play these hands here.

There are two ways to win the pot.

  1. By making the best hand and getting to showdown.
  2. When all other players fold after we bet.

5 Card Draw Basics: How to Make Hands

Making hands in Five Card draw is more straight forward than in any other poker variant.

Players always have precisely five cards in their hand at any given moment. We do not need to worry about combining hole cards with community cards like we do in games such as Omaha and Hold’em.

Our hand is always the exact five cards we have in front of us.

Poker Rules: Five Card Draw


Before any cards are dealt, the blinds must be posted. The small blind and big blind are posted by the player directly to the left of the button, and the player two to the left of the button respectively. Five Card Draw is identical to Hold’em and Omaha in this respect.


We no longer use terms such as “preflop” and “flop” when discussing draw games. The word “flop” implies community cards and draw variants don’t typically make use of any community cards.

There are only two betting rounds in Five Card Draw, and we can distinguish between them using the terms “pre-draw” and “post-draw”.

Each player is dealt 5 cards face down. The pre-draw betting round begins starting with the player to the left of the big blind and proceeds in a clockwise direction.

The Draw

Once all the pre-draw betting is complete, players now decide regarding which of their cards they would like to discard.

Players can discard any number of their hole cards, including all five. If players wish to keep their current selection of five cards, they have the option to “standpat” which means to draw nothing.

Starting with the small blind and proceeding in a clockwise direction, players announce how many cards they are discarding and draw the equivalent number of cards from the deck. If (in the rare occurrence that) the deck runs out of cards, the discarded card pile can be reshuffled and treated as a fresh deck.


There is now a final betting round that takes place based on the strength of each player’s hand along with the newly drawn cards.

This time the action will start with the smallblind (or whoever remains directly to the left of the button). So, although we don’t use the terms “preflop” and “postflop”, the pre-draw betting sequence is identical to preflop in Hold’em, while the post-draw betting sequence is identical to postflop in Hold’em.


Once the post-draw betting action is over, players reach showdown. That’s right; there are only two betting rounds in Five Card Draw. Players reveal the strength of their five-card hand and the pot is awarded to the strongest.

The Betting Actions

The betting options are identical in the majority of poker formats.

Here is a quick recap of the legal options:




Action passes to our left without us making a wager. Can only be used if there is no existing bet in the current betting round.


We make the first wager in the current betting round. Other players must at least match our bet or be forced to fold. 


There is an existing wager on the current betting round, and we decide not to match it. Folding means to give up and forfeit all right to win the pot.


There is an existing wager in the current betting round. To “call” means to match that bet exactly and continue with the hand.


There is an existing wager on the current betting round, and we decide to increase the size of that wager. The original better (and any other active players) must at least match the size of our raise or be forced to fold.


A player has already raised on the current street, and we elect to raise again. Any raises after the initial raise are described as “re-raises”.


The Stand Pat Bluff

Usually, when our opponent elects to stand-pat, it indicates that he has a strong 5-card hand, otherwise why would he not choose to draw?

Caution needs to be exercised, however, since the line can also be used as a bluff. Imagine we are dealt an extremely trashy hand to the point where we would consider redrawing four or even five of our cards.

Rather than draw hopelessly, we have the option to stand pat and represent we were dealt a big 5 Card hand out of the gate.

Additional Considerations

The draw is an integral part of Five Card Draw. We should not only think carefully how many cards it makes sense to draw but also observe our opponents to see how many cards they are drawing from the deck.

The number of cards they choose to draw indicates the potential strength of their holding. For example, drawing one-card typically means either a straight-draw, flush-draw, or two-pair type holding.

Five Card Draw is not an especially standard offering in the online world so the betting structure may vary.

No Limit – Players can bet any amount at any time. This betting structure has become more popular online in recent times.

Pot Limit – The maximum allowable bet or raise is the size of the pot.

Fixed Limit – Betting occurs in fixed increments. This setup is the most traditional betting structure for Five Card Draw.

It would also be possible to modify 5 Card Draw into a 5 Card Triple Draw by adding two betting rounds and draws.

Chad Holloway is a 2013 WSOP Bracelet winner who has previously worked for PokerNews as a managing editor and live reporter