Draw Poker Strategy 

raw Poker is the basic form of Poker. If you are new to poker it is a good starting point when introducing to the game. The goal of Draw Poker is to build a hand from 5 cards. After the initial round of betting you may discard some or all of your cards and receive replacements. All cards are dealt and discarded face down. The players cards should never be revealed until the final Showdown, and are only then if absolutely necessary.

here are two main things to learn when it comes to Draw Poker. The first is Poker's 5-card hands and their ranking. The second is the course of play including when and how to bet.

Poker Hands

poker hand is made from the best arrangement of five cards and are ranked as follows, highest first:

1. Royal Flush: A-K-Q-J-10, all same suit
2. Straight Flush: any five consecutive cards of the same suit
3. Four-of-a-Kind: four cards of the same value (e.g. four Kings)
4. Full House: Three-of-a-Kind and a Pair
5. Flush: any five cards of the same suit
6. Straight: any five consecutive cards
7. Three-of-a-Kind: three cards of the same value
8. Two Pair
9. Pair
10. No Pair: five dissimilar cards, mixed suit

here are no wild cards in Draw Poker and all suits are ranked equally.

The Course of Play

round of Poker begins with determining the Dealer. The Deal usually rotates around the table from the right clockwise. E.g. if you have just dealt then the person on your left deals next.

he 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. The dealer continues dealing the cards until each player has 5 cards, all face down.

layers 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.

he next player to the left now can Bet, Pass or 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 larger bet.

he 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. No Raises are permitted once the betting has passed around to the Dealer.

layers 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.


he Dealer now deals each player their replacement cards, all face down. The player on the Dealer's left begins the betting and the betting proceeds around the table.

gain, 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.


fter 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.

f there are tied winning hands then the rank of the individual cards determines the winner. For instance Full House of Kings over Jacks beats a Full House of Tens over Jacks. If it's still a tie and there are no kickers then the pot is split.

f the rank of the 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 hands (listed above), e.g. all players have No Pair, then the highest ranking single card is declared the winning hand. If it comes to a dead tie, e.g. all cards have the same rank, then the pot is split.

hile hands and betting are the basic rules. However, to be a successful Poker player you should learn much more. Poker is not about having the highest ranking hand, it's about winning the biggest pots. How you do that is your business and that is what makes Poker the beloved game.

See Draw Poker Strategy

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