If you’re new to online poker or just want a more laid-back experience, then draw poker is your best bet. This type of poker game has incredibly simple rules, so it’s easy for anyone to get involved. It’s really a fun game that you can definitely get lost in for a few hours to pass the time and vie for some great prizes.
The best thing about draw poker is that there are so many variants. It’s a good idea to venture outside of the 5 Card Draw games to explore other great options like Badugi and 2-7 Triple Draw. While the principles are the same, there are different hand rankings and betting structures, so you can try out new strategies and shake things up.
Be sure to read through our beginners guide to draw poker below before you start playing for real money.
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What is Draw Poker?
Draw poker is a type of card game where players only play with the cards in their hands, rather than using community cards. If you’ve ever played video poker, this is exactly what draw poker is – except you’re playing against other runners. As such, it’s very easy to get involved in the game and understand the rules.
How to Play Draw Poker
The most common variation of draw poker is 5 Card Draw, so we’ll cover the basics of this game. Most of the other draw games that you’ll encounter are played along the same lines, so the same rules and principles apply.
In 5 Card Draw, the game begins when all players place an ante bet. Then, they receive their cards. Each player is dealt 5 cards face down and there is another round of betting. If there is more than one player left in the hand after this, another draw occurs. Each player decides to discard a number of cards and replace them with new ones. If anyone chooses not to discard any cards, that is called “standing pat”.
After the drawing round, there is one more round of betting. If there is still more than one player left, there’s a showdown. All of the players show their cards and the player with the best hand wins.
The hand ranking, from worst to best, any draw poker game is:
- High card
- One pair
- Two pair
- Full house
- Straight flush
- Royal Flush
Draw Poker Variations
While 5 Card Draw is the most popular variant, there are actually quite a few different versions of draw poker. These games might not be particularly busy at online poker sites, but it is worth giving some of them a go if you’re a fan of this particular poker game format.
You’ll find many stakes available for draw poker in the online poker world. For players who have more limited budgets, draw games antes usually start at $2.50/$5. There are also some very juicy stakes available for high rollers that go all the way up to $1000/$2000. So, no matter what kind of player you are, you’ll be able to find a draw poker table that you’ll feel comfortable playing at.
Seven Card Draw
Seven Card Draw is basically the same as Five Card Draw, except you’re given 7 cards instead of 5. The same rules, hand ranking and betting structure apply.
Both Five and Seven Card Stud can be played with a hi-lo variant. In this version, the pot is split into two, and half goes to the player with the highest hand and the other hand goes to the player with the lowest hand.
Jacks or Better
This draw poker variant only allows players who have a pair of Jacks or better to continue on in the hand. If no players have a qualifying hand, all hands are forfeited and a new hand is dealt. In many versions of this game, only Three of a Kind hands or higher can win.
Badugi is a draw poker variant that uses blinds instead of antes. The object of the game is to make a low four-card hand of cards with different suits and no points. As such, the best possible hand to begin with is 4-3-2-A. If it comes to showdown and no players has a Badugi, then the player with the next best (lowest) hand wins.
2-7 Triple Draw
In this variation, the goal is to make the lowest five-card hand. There are three draws in this game and four rounds of betting.
So, if you enjoy playing draw poker, there are plenty of ways for you to mix things up. It’s great to try out the different draw poker variants, as each one brings something a little bit different to the table.
Draw Poker Tournaments
You can often find draw poker tournaments at any online poker website. While you might not find as many unique formats as you would with Omaha and Hold’em, there are still plenty of opportunities for you to play in competitions for large prize pools.
You’ll be able to find a wide range of buy-ins for draw poker tournaments. If you’re a microstakes players, there are buy-ins as low as $2; however, high rollers will also be able to enjoy themselves with buy-ins that go all the way up to $100. There are also many buy-in levels in between, if you’d like to work your way up.
In these tournaments, the operator guarantees a certain prize pool, regardless of how many players enter. In draw poker tournaments, the prize pools tend to be quite smaller, ranging from $75 to $500, but you can sometimes find big events where thousands of dollars are up for grabs.
Hypers and Turbos
These are tournaments where the blinds increase at a fast rate than they would in a regular tournament. Whereas blind levels are usually 15 or 20 minutes, hypers and turbos decrease the levels to 5 minutes and less for a fast-paced gaming experience.
Progressive Knock Outs
If you’re really competitive, you can play in progressive knock out tournaments. These competitions award you with a prize whenever you eliminate another player.