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5 Card Draw Poker Strategy

5-card Draw Poker Strategy
by K. Swope of

This article will cover strategy methods to use when playing the poker game of five-card draw. As Kenny Rodgers sang, “…know when to hold’em and know when to fold’em…” so goes the science or theory of playing five-card draw.

A typical game of five-card will have a max limit of six players. This is very important since the majority of hands will be won without a showdown. By this I mean players will only stay in the hand as long as they believe they have a good enough hand to show in an attempt to take the pot. Keep this in mind when the drawing faze of the round ends.

It will be possible at times to steal a pot even if you missed your draw by placing a bet because most players will not call your bet if they have also missed on a draw.

Whether playing a tournament or cash game at single betting or no-limit stakes your style of play should not change. You will always start with a quality hand to draw too unless you plan on bluffing a “stand-pat” hand all the way to the end. Doing so does not work very often at a table with weak or inexperienced players.

Moves like the “stand-pat” bluff should be saved for opponents that play five-card draw very well. During this move you will start by raising any action that comes to you, and betting heavily after each player has made their respective draws. Aside from this move your strategy in general should consist of patience.

Wait to take down opponents on hands that will stand the best chances of winning. It is not necessary to play hands from the small or big blind if they are considerably weak, especially if a raise has been made pre-draw. Save your chips for better hands. What you lose early will have to be made up for later and five-card draw is not a game of big chip swings commonly seen in Hold’em and Omaha.

In order to play draw poker successfully you must pay close heed to the number of cards your opponent is drawing. This gives valuable input as to what hands the other players are trying to achieve. Caution yourself against playing long shot hands.

Straight draws should be open ended giving you eight possible out cards instead of four seen in a gut shot straight draw.

Do not stay on hands that you would normally draw two cards to make a flush, and play small pairs according to their face value; the higher the pair the more power you hold if you make two pair on the draw. In other words do not over bet a made hand of two small pair such as 7’s and 3’s, instead wait to see what betting action occurs before you make a move.

This is not a game in which power moves, and aggression will find reward. Instead, you must out think your opponents and trap players when you have made a great hand. This is how to play a winning style of five-card draw poker.


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