Greetings Ontario! Today we're going to learn how to deal Five-Card Poker. This poker game is a classic. It is enjoyed by players the world over, particularly with home-based games. Nowadays, other games are just as popular (if not more) than Five Card Poker, including Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, Texas Hold 'em, and Seven Card Stud. So, whether you're a newbie or an old pro, this post on how to deal Five Card Poker will provide fascinating insights into the game.
Online poker players love this traditional favourite, and there are scores of poker rooms offering this game to fans. Before we get into the mechanics of dealing the cards, taking bets, and paying winnings, let's go over a few ground rules. As its namesake suggests, the objective of five-card poker is to form the ranking five-card hand. Like other poker games, the basic hand ranking system applies (from weakest to strongest):
- High Card
- One Pair
- Two Pair
- Three of A Kind
- Full House
- Four of A Kind
- Straight Flush
- Royal Flush
*For details on each poker hand, please refer to our article, 'How to Play Texas Hold 'em.'
So far, so good. In Five-Card Draw Poker games, there is a pre-flop round of betting. Players can adopt one of two possible approaches. First, you can either have all the players at the table pay a mandatory bet known as an ante before dealing them any cards. This mandatory bet option is the way that many home-based Five-Card Draw games take place. It's also possible to use the Small Blind (SB) and the Big Blind (BB). You'll find this the preferred approach at online poker rooms.
With five-card draw poker, there are three betting structures. These vary according to player preferences. You have the following options available: No Limit (NL), Pot Limit (PL), and Fixed Limit (FL) games. The rules don't change for each of these betting structures, but the way you bet is dependent on the limits or lack thereof. That's why you have to tailor your strategy according to the game's betting structure.
How to Deal Cards in 5-Card Draw Poker
- The dealer shuffles the cards and deals a single card to each player in turn. The cards are dealt face down so that other players can't see them. The dealer starts with the player immediately to the left and moves clockwise around the poker table. Each player receives one card at a time until all players in the game have five cards.
- The next step is an important one. The dealer waits for the first player to act. This player is positioned immediately to the dealer's left. Once the player looks at the cards, the player will place a bet. The player next in line (clockwise) then bets. This betting action continues around the table until everyone has had an opportunity to place a bet.
- Players have three betting options available when it's their turn. These include Call, Raise, or Fold. The Call action matches the previous bet, or it matches a raise. The Raise action increases the size of the bet and ups the stakes for the next player to bet. The Fold option takes place when you muck your cards. In other words, you throw away your hand and forfeit any bets that you have currently placed (Small Blind, Big Blind, and Bets).
- Once all players have acted, take stock of the table. If there is more than one player in the game, players are welcome to discard anywhere from zero to 5 cards from their hand. Remember, the objective of Five-Card Draw is to form the strongest-ranking five-card hand. Once cards have been discarded (trashed), each player is dealt new cards to replace the discards.
- The dealer sets about this new round of play by drawing cards from the deck, starting with the active player closest to the dealer. The action continues around the table in a clockwise motion. If the first player discarded three cards, then three cards will be dealt to that player. If the next player after that discarded five cards, then five cards are dealt to that player. The same action continues until everyone remaining in the hand has cards dealt to them.
- If the dealer is still playing, the dealer gets dealt cards last after all other players have received their cards. Once again, the players remaining in the hand place their bets. This time around, the player holding the strongest five-card hand wins the poker pot.
- When the betting round is over and the game is done, the dealer takes the cards from the table. The dealer then passes them in a neat stack to the next active player immediately to the left. There is a clear rules-based framework with Five-Card Poker like all other poker games. The new player, the new dealer, then shuffles all the cards and prepares for the next round of play.
Bonus Material: What's the Best Strategy for Five Card Draw?
Playing Five Card Draw is different from playing any other poker game. Of course, the primary objective is still to form the strongest possible hand, but there are some critical strategies for this particular game that you can use. Here are a few tips:
- Disregard High Cards
High cards don't mean all that much in Five-Card Draw (and in other poker games). However, you may consider them beneficial if you're trying to complete a Straight or Flush. If you're holding four high cards with no pairs, it's better to discard two of them and try to complete a hand by drawing new cards.
- Hold onto Your Pairs
A pair is always a good thing in poker, so it's worth hanging onto your pairs even if they aren't solid pairs like 2s, 3s or 4s. This is because these pairs can help complete Flushes and Straights. Players shouldn't necessarily throw even stronger pairs like Aces and Kings away to improve the hand further, though, because these types of pairs have value on their own as well.
- Carefully Draw New Cards
When you have four suited cards in your hand, and there's only one card left to draw, that's a great position. However, if you only have three suited cards and two other players still in the hand with you, then it might not make sense to go for the Flush because one could very well complete it before you do. So, consider all the factors carefully before deciding whether to draw new cards or keep the ones you have.
- Play Cautiously with Straight Draws
If you're holding four cards in sequence with only one card left to draw, that's a great position. However, if two other players are still in the hand with you, then drawing for the Straight might not be a good idea because they could complete it well before you do. So, once again, consider all factors carefully before making your decision.
- Pay Attention to What Your Opponents Are Doing
Just as important as paying attention to your hand is paying attention to what your opponents are doing. Are they drawing new cards? How many? What type of bets are they making? All these things can clue you into what kind of hand they might have and help you make better decisions about how to play your hand accordingly.
There you have it, folks! This 5-Card Draw guide is the only one you need on how to deal Five-Card Draw poker. In addition, we added in some handy tips for playing Five Card Draw Poker games. Feel free to reference this material whenever you need a refresher – it's game time, Canada!