Draw Poker is the basic form of Poker and the place to start when introducing new players to the game.
The essence of Draw Poker is that the player builds a hand from 5 cards. After the initial round of betting the player may discard some or all of their cards and receive replacements. The players cards should never be revealed until the final Showdown, and are only then if absolutely necessary (more on that later). During the game, all cards are dealt and discarded face down.
There are no wild cards in Draw Poker. All suits are ranked equally.
- High card (five dissimilar cards, mixed suit)
- One pair
- Two pairs
- Three of a kind, trips, set (three cards, same value)
- Straight (any five consecutive cards)
- Flush (any five cards of the same suit)
- Full House (Three of a Kind and a Pair)
- Four of a kind (four cards, same value ,eg. four 10's)
- Straight flush (any five consecutive cards, all same suit)
- Royal Flush (A-K-Q-J-10, all same suit)
Once assigned, the Dealer receives the deck and shuffles. Each player pays the "ante" which is a small, flat fee you pay to purchase the right to play that round. If you don't ante it means you are "sitting out". These monies and all others in the game go into the center of the table in a pile called "the pot". Once the antes are in, the Dealer deals one card at a time, face down, to each player around the table, beginning on the Dealer's left. Then the second card is dealt to each player, and so on until each player has 5 cards, all face down.
Pass, Bet or Fold
Players pick up their cards and assess their hand. The player to the Dealer's left opens the betting round by either placing a Bet, indicating a Pass by placing no bet, or Folding by discarding their hand.
Call and Raise
The next player to the left now has the opportunity to Bet. Or they can Fold. If the previous players Passed then they can Pass too or place a Bet of their own. If other players have Bet and they wish to stay in the round they must Call by matching any outstanding bets. They can then Raise by placing a bet of their own.
When only two players remain, special 'head-to-head' or 'heads up' rules are enforced and the blinds are posted differently. In this case, the person with the dealer button posts the small blind, while his/her opponent places the big blind. The dealer acts first before the flop. After the flop, the dealer acts last for the remainder of the hand.
The betting then moves to the next player on the left, then the next, and so on back to and including the Dealer.
Once the Dealer has placed their bet, the other players must Call any outstanding bets or Fold. Generally speaking, no Raises are permitted once the betting has passed around to the Dealer.
Players may now Discard any or all of their cards based on their hopes of building a better hand. Cards are discarded face down and collected by the Dealer.
The Dealer now deals each player, starting on the left, their replacement cards, face down.
As before the Player on the Dealer's left begins the betting and the betting proceeds around the table.
Again, the Dealer gets the final Raise. Then everyone else must Call or Fold. Finally, the remaining players are ready for the Showdown.
If at any time there is only one player left in the game they take the pot. This player is encouraged to keep their cards hidden and muck them to the Dealer.
After the final betting round, and all the necessary Calls, the players still in the game have reached the Showdown. The player's hands are revealed. The best hand wins and the winner takes the pot.
If there are tied winning hands then the rank of the individual cards determines the winner. For instance Full House of Aces over Jacks beats a Full House of Kings over Jacks. If it's still a tie and there are no kickers (spare cards not used to build the final hand) then the pot is split.
If the rank of the individual cards doesn't determine the winner, then the kicker(s) of higher rank determines the winner. If it's still a tie, the pot is split.
If there are no "name" hands (all players have No Pair), then the highest ranking single card is declared the winning hand. If it comes to a dead tie (no clear winner, all cards same rank) then the pot is split.
Suit is never used to determine a winner in Poker.