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Five card draw game variations



In this article we describe the most common varieties of five card draw (5CD).

Five Card Draw with Joker

In this type of 5CD, there are two or four jokers in play, that can be used to improve your game by taking place of some cards. It’s not a complete “wild card”, however. It can only be used to:

  • Represent an Ace
  • Complete a Straight
  • Complete a Flush
  • Complete a Straight Flush

So, if your final hand has 4568+joker, you can use it as a “7” and complete a straight, from 4 to 8. If you have 469J, all of spades, plus a Joker, the Joker will be representing an ace of spades. The jokers should not be confused with the Jacks. You can play this variation of five card poker on Carbon Poker (Read Carbon Poker review).

Five Card Draw 7-A

In this uncommon variation of 5 Card Draw, the cards 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are removed from the deck. The games are a little more intense, since the odds for the better hands increase. When people play this variation, they often consider the Ace for a low straight. For example, if you hand is A-7-8-9-10, you have a low straight.

Short-handed tables

Short-handed tables are the ones with six players or less. In this case, you starting hand selection can loosen up a little more, because even unimproved high pairs may win the pot. In addition to this, the blinds move faster in these tables, so the action is usually more intense. Five card draw games with two players are also called “heads-up” games. Most 5CD tables on Poker Stars are short-handed (read Poker Stars review).

Classic Five Card Draw (with Antes)

Home games of five card draw used to be a little different. Instead of a big blind and small blind, there is the ante. The ante is a fixed fee that everyone has to pay at the beginning of the hand, before the dealing of the cards. The player on the left of the dealer acts first, and the game goes in a clockwise order. The draw and the betting after the draw start from the player who opened the betting on the first round. This kind of five card draw relies a little more on luck than the one with the blinds.

Doyles Room is the only online poker software to offer classic five card draw games.

Tournaments and Sit-and-Go

Tournaments of five card draw are not common online, but they are very fun and can be profitable. Most poker tournaments have a similar structure: players are divided in tables, and receive an equal amount of chips in the beginning. This is a scheduled tourney, and the blinds increase after a fixed period of time. For example, a tourney may start with 10/20 chips blinds, that increase every 15 minutes. Players that lose all of their chips are busted from the tournament. The action continues until there is only one player left. In those tournaments, the prize pool is usually distributed between the first 10-15% of the players.

Sit and Go is a slightly different type of tourney. In this case, the tournament starts as soon as a certain number of players register. Sit and goes usually have only one table, and the prize is distributed to the first three positions.

You can find tournaments and sit and goes online on Poker Stars .

Turbo / Speed Games

In this variety of five card draw, very common in online poker rooms, the action time limit is reduced. Action time limit is the time, in seconds, that you have to decide your action. In turbo/speed tables, this limit is reduced to something between 5-10 seconds. It makes the game faster, which is good.

This has a different meaning in tournaments, though. In turbo/speed tourneys, the blinds increase every 3 to 5 minutes, so you have to be a little more aggressive or you run into the risk of being “blinded out”.


I believe we covered here the most common variations of five card draw. If you want to suggest anything else, or have a question, contact us.

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