The draw fase: strategy and tips

In five card draw you are afforded one opportunity to improve your hand, this is known as the draw phase. After the opening round of betting, the first active player to the left of the button draws first. It is obviously of critical importance that you pay attention to how many cards your opponents have discarded! This article will discuss some basic things to keep in mind during this defining part of the game.

Worry about your draw first

Knowing what your opponents may hold is a vital part of this game, but before we get to that, let’s make sure you have the strongest hand you can have. There is a time when the draw phase will bring you the opportunity to bluff or use other strategies, but first and foremost you must learn the basic strategies that will bring you pots. The first topic to address would be when you have a premium pair. Discard three cards and don’t think twice about it. Discarding less than three cards in a pair situation is a viable strategy, but it is a topic for another time.

Remember, just knowing the basics and following a solid basic strategy in poker will put you ahead of the competition. Once you gain experience, you can add advanced strategy to increase your win rate and counter strong opponents.

Like drawing with a pair, when you have two pair you should almost always just draw one card and avoid any advanced play that might suggest otherwise. The same strategy applies to three of a kind, simply draw two cards and look to make quads or a full house. Most drawing in five card draw is straight forward.

Drawing on the come and other rare situations

Drawing on the come is when you are trying to complete a flush or a straight. You should do this rarely. What you need to consider is that when you draw one card to either an open ended straight (like 4567) or a four card flush, your odds of completing each are roughly 4.5 to 1. In a typical five card draw game, the pot would need to be offering about five bets to your one bet to make it a profitable play. The problem is it just doesn’t happen that often. If the pot is large, and you have the right odds, play the come hand but absolutely do not in any other situation. Your opponents are going to play come hands all day in bad situations, and you can capitalize on this!

Please note that a straight flush draw is not included in this discussion. A straight flush on the come is a powerful hand and should usually be played. Your chances of completing to a straight flush or a flush are between 2 to 1 and 3 to 1. As you can see, these are much better odds, and if you make the straight flush you will almost never lose.

The format of modern day online five card draw affords some opportunities to draw for free. In the large blind position it is possible you will be faced with an un-raised pot. In situations like this it is best to draw to the hand you have the best chance of hitting, such as a high pair. Being that the pot wasn’t raised before the draw, a fairly weak hand could win in the showdown.