Poker has evolved, and will continue to evolve to include many variations from the originating game of poker. There are only a select few variants that have withstood the test of time to remain among the most popular no limit games played today. One of the oldest is none other than Five Card Draw.
This popular game has a storied, yet inconclusive history over the years. It is a game, perhaps more than any other, that requires a keen understanding of reading an opponent’s tells, whether you are in a casino, a home game or online. Play is extremely simple and quick.
To help build up the pot, like in most games, players will take turns placing the big and the small blinds. These are bets that each player has to make in turn, without seeing any cards. It is also not uncommon for there to be an ante required as a way to further build the pot and deter players from squatting without having to risk any money.
The dealer will issue five cards to each player, all face down. The player to the left of the big blind will be the first to act and betting will continue around the table. Here is where the rules may vary, depending on the poker room in which you are playing. After betting has been completed, players will have the option to exchange a number of cards in the hopes of making a stronger hand. Depending on the site on which you are playing, you might be limited to only exchanging three cards. Other sites will allow players to exchange up to four cards, so long as they have an Ace.
In earlier play, it was not uncommon for there to be at least one wild card in the jack. In online play, this is a very uncommon practice.
After players have exchanged their desired number of cards, there is another round of betting. Afterward, the player who bet first in the final round will display their hand. Any players who have lost the hand are allowed to muck their cards. Mucking simply means they have the option to discard their hand without showing the other players and admitting that they lost. Players who choose not to muck will display their hands. The winning hands are determined in the traditional fashion, beginning with high card and going all the way to a royal flush.
As you can see, unlike many of today’s most popular games, Five Card Draw does not have any community cards. No player cards are displayed. This is a game of knowing the potential to make the best hand possible with your available cards and to get a read on your opponent. Online play makes this game even more difficult because you have to rely solely on betting patterns and perhaps the manner in which they chat. The fact remains that Five Card Draw is a staple in the poker world and will always hold a special place amongst aficionados.