Believe it or not, learning how to play 5 card poker isn’t as hard as the TV and movies make it look. In fact, you can master this game even if you’ve never played cards before. They even have a name for that; it’s called “beginner’s luck.”
There are only a few rules to remember and each round goes by pretty quickly. So, here’s what you need to know to win your hand no matter who or where you play. Beginners welcome.
How to play 5 card poker: the basics
To begin, understand that this game is sometimes called a “five-card draw” because of how it’s played. That’s not the same thing as 5 card stud, which we will discuss in a minute. Five-card poker also uses five cards and a round of betting, but there are some basic differences.
For example, each player is allowed to discard up to 3 cards after the first round of betting is complete. Then, players can get back as many cards as they threw out by drawing from a central deck. The object is to make classic poker hands out of the cards available.
NOTE: You can discard 4 cards if your last card was an ace or wild, depending on where you play.
In five-card poker, you get to see all of your cards before deciding on what to do with them. You also get the chance to make more educated bets before each round begins. Therefore, it’s usually the best version of poker for beginners.
5 card poker VS 5 card stud
So, how are 5 card draw and 5 card stud different? Well, five-card stud doesn’t let you see all of your cards. Instead, you get two cards from the dealer – one face up and the other face down. You then have to risk your bet based on what you think is on the flip side. It’s more challenging than a five-card draw, so it’s usually played in casinos only.
Playing poker at home, at the casino, or online
Understanding the basics is only half the battle when it comes to playing this game, even casually among friends. That’s because there are many rules to follow. There’s also a lot of risks. So, practice at home or play online for a while before visiting the casino to play for money.
How to play 5 card poker: pro tips
Here’s where to start so you can play the game like an old pro regardless of where you go:
- Know the poker rankings by heart.
- Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, Pair, and High Card
- Understand that the other players are going to bluff.
- Watch for this when there’s a risky move on the table because that’s when it happens the most.
- Learn when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.
- You don’t have to participate in every single round to become the overall winner of the game.
Talk to the casino concierge for more information about house rules if that’s where you choose to play. Keep in mind that most casinos have a betting minimum while at-home games are more laid back. If you’re a beginner, wait to visit the casino until you’ve had more practice.