Draw Poker, an Overview

Draw poker is one of the three main families of poker and the popular Five Card Draw and Jacks or Better are possibly the best examples of Draw poker. Although Five Card Draw is played the world over in small, private games it hasn’t taken tournaments and casinos by storm like Texas Holdem, Seven Card Stud and Omaha!

Poker Families

Poker is generally divided into three main groups, or families and these are:

  • Stud – this is one of the oldest forms of poker and some of the more popular variants include Five Card Stud, Seven Card Stud and Caribbean Stud but there are literally dozens of different forms of stud, popular the world over. In all forms of stud the cards are dealt in a pre-arranged combination of up, or exposed cards and down, or hidden cards in a number of rounds, also known as streets, for example the fourth or fifth streets. Each dealing round is followed by a betting round. For more information on stud, its rules and strategy, take a look at our pages dedicated to Seven Card Stud.
  • Community – this is a variation of stud that has effectively put poker right up there as the most popular sport in the world today and Texas Holdem and Omaha are prime examples of community poker. Here players are dealt an incomplete hand of personal or hole cards – cards that are not exposed to the rest of the table. There are then a number of community or up cards dealt on the table, and these cards are known as the board. The objective is to make the best 5-card poker hand using both the hole cards and the community cards. Take a look at our pages devoted to Texas Holdem and Omaha for more in-depth information on these celebrated forms of community poker.
  • Draw – here, a complete hand is dealt to each player face down and after betting the player may attempt to better his or her chances of winning by discarding unwanted cards and replacing or drawing them with new, dealt cards. Five Card Draw and Jacks or Better are, without a doubt, the best known of the draw poker variants and we take a look at the rules and strategy of both Five Card Draw and Jacks are Better.    

The betting structure for Draw poker, particularly at the few casinos that offer Draw, generally uses blinds, so the initial betting round will begin with the player to the left of the big blind and all other rounds will begin with the player to the dealer’s left. Draw games are therefore very positional and this in turn will have an impact on the related Draw poker strategy.