All You Need to Know About Draw Poker

Draw poker, or 5-Card Draw as it is sometimes referred to, is probably the easiest and most straightforward of all the games offered at online poker sites. As you probably already know, this is not as popular as other varieties of online poker with US players, like Texas Hold’em, Omaha, or even Stud. However, it is incredibly easy to learn and the game does provide for some excellent real cash action. Most players learning Draw poker are a bit surprised to find that it can be a bit of a wild affair.

You are only going to find Draw offered at the best or top rated online poker sites when looking for real money play in the USA. However, it can also be an excellent secondary game to add to repertoire due to facts like most Draw players are really creatures of habit and there is a decided lack of good educational material regarding this form of poker. That is what happens when most of the online poker site rooms ignore such a game, and why we decided to put together an online draw poker game guide for 2023.

This Draw poker online guide will give you the basic knowledge needed to get started playing. You will learn:



How to Play Draw Poker - Online Poker Sites

At most Internet poker sites, Draw games may be slightly different from what you have played in the offline world. At most online poker rooms you will be playing Draw in either a five- or six-handed format. Poker sites have found that with any more than this things tend to get a bit too wild and confusing.

Most sites are going to offer this game with two players posting blinds, just like in Hold’em and Omaha. The big blind will normally be the size of the minimum bet and the small blind will usually be half of that. Of course, there are also some poker rooms (even top websites) that offer play with everyone putting up an ante, which could be the minimum bet, or possibly even smaller in an effort to simply get some real money in the pot (it also helps to protect their rake).

There are only two rounds of betting in online Draw poker, which will come as a pretty big surprise to players more accustomed to other games. The deal starts with each player being dealt five cards, all face down. Then, a round of betting starts. The order of the betting is similar in that the person under the gun (UTG), or next to the big blind starts out and the person in the big blind position is the last to act.

After the first betting round concludes, the draw itself will ensue. Online poker sites will normally allow their players to draw however many cards they like, anywhere from none (also known as standing pat) to all five. There is a lot of strategy to think about when choosing how many cards to draw, since this is just about the only piece of real information shared with the other players. After the draw occurs, there is a final betting round—the player on the small blind is both the first to draw and to bet in this round.

Basic Online Draw Poker Strategy Tips

You want to be playing at a generally loose table. This means finding some of the best online poker sites where raises are regularly called. Without this, move on since winning at a fixed limit game (offered by most online poker rooms) relies on being called by worse hands.

When drawing in your game, generally be fairly straightforward. For example, always draw three to a pair. There is one exception, which is when you think another player has two pair and you do have an ace kicker (hold the kicker in this case). Most online draw poker players will always keep a kicker, which is incorrect strategy. Plus, it doesn't fool anyone into thinking they have trips.

Keep others guessing about you by not becoming a creature of habit and routine. If you have trips, mix things up by drawing two about a third of the time. You might even consider making what you know to be an incorrect move from time to time to throw off the other players. Just make sure it doesn't unwittingly hurt your chances too much.

If all you have is an ace or a king, then take four cards. By all means, don't draw to an inside straight or three to a straight flush. Your odds of hitting something worthwhile are very low. Which brings up another point to playing at online poker sites. Always know your odds. Know the odds of drawing in your situation and how to calculate odds even in unfamiliar situations. Know how to calculate pot odds. Yes, this will require some study and effort, but nothing worthwhile ever comes without putting in the time.

Starting Hand Criteria In Draw Poker

When playing Draw games offered by most online poker sites, there are some basic criteria you need to set for yourself. While these are not set in stone rules, they will put you on the right track. As you gain more knowledge and experience of the game, you can feel free to adapt this a bit. Having a strong situational awareness is always more important than following a rigid set of rules. Until that point, consider these guidelines in a six-handed online Draw poker game:

  • UTG Position: Start with a pair of aces or better.
  • UTG+1: A pair of kings or better.
  • Button Position: A pair of tens or better; possibly a pair of nines if you hold two other cards higher than a nine or a single ace.
  • Cutoff: A pair of jacks or better.
  • Small Blind: A difficult spot unless you know the tendencies of your opponents. Limp in with AQ through a pair of sixes, but open raise with anything better (i.e. pair of sevens or better). If the big blind raises, you should call and then take three cards in the draw.
  • Big Blind: Very dependent on the prior action. For example, if two others have limped in, raise with a pair of kings or better. If two or three players are already in for a raise, call with a pair of tens or more, any come draw, and any two pair (re-raise if your highest pair is jacks or better), and obviously with trips or better.

Some of the best advice for playing Draw at online poker rooms is to always be a good note taker. Be as meticulous as possible. You can be a good Hold’em or Omaha player while being bad at notes. Draw players are creatures of habit and with no community cards to gauge their intentions and hands, having a bit of ongoing intelligence gathering will be a huge help. You can even practice this for yourself, watch the play at an online poker site and take notes. Before long, you will start to understand how each one plays and which hands they have with a fair amount of accuracy.

Betting After the Draw

One of the primary determinants as to how you will bet after the draw is whether or not the pot has been raised yet (or over the top) or simply called. In an unraised pot, usually you will want to bet any two pair or better, especially if you are in a late position. When there are several opponents still alive, you can bet with tens up or better. In situations where you were the big blind and drew three cards, making two small pairs, try not to bet but check and then maybe call one bettor. Don't overcall.

If the pot has been raised, you will need slightly better cards. Against one opponent, jacks or better. Against two or more, you should have probably kings up. If you have put one of your other poker online room opponents on a come hand, don't bet into it with two pairs or trips. Once again, everything is based on player tendencies, situations, and position.

Typical Beginner's Online Draw Poker Mistakes

There are a few typical beginning player mistakes common among Draw poker games at online poker sites in 2023. Once again, as is the case with nearly all games, playing too many hands probably ranks near the top. However, with Draw poker the good news is that you can very likely play a lot more hands than any other type of game. With only five cards and one draw being dealt, you have a much lower variance and it will require usually a much lower hand to pull out a victory than in a game like Hold’em and certainly lower than in Omaha.

Unless you are in later position, you probably don't want to be playing pairs smaller than tens or jacks. Beginning players at online poker rooms do this all the time as well, at least until learning it’s not at all profitable.

In most cases, it is also a big beginners’ mistake to draw to straights and flushes. The online poker odds are almost never in your favor to do so. Only when you are being given great pot odds in comparison to your true odds of hitting your draw should this be considered.

Don't call if you are clearly beat. If your hand is a decided underdog of more than about 4 to 1, just lay it down rather than continuing to throw it away.

Now you’ve read through our Draw poker online game guide, why not try out the game itself at one of our best online poker sites that offer Draw games online. You’ll be scoring jackpots in no time!