Five-card Draw is a variation on poker, generally played by children, sissies, and the elderly. That is to say, you don't see it at tournaments or casinos. Because it is primarly used for low-stakes home play the rules are not as strictly defined as they are in, say, seven-card stud. I present the basic rules below, and discuss some variants.

There is no official limit on the number of players, but fewer than four or more than eight generally makes for an unwieldy or boring game.

The rules for the value of hands are the same as other variants of poker. In the event of a wildcard being called (in home play, this is generally at the dealer's discretion) a five of a kind is valued below a straight flush. In home play, the position of dealer generally gets rotated clockwise around the table.

Each player must ante, and is then dealt five cards face-down, one at a time. Once all players have their cards, they may pick them up and see what they have. Beginning with the player to the dealer's left and proceeding clockwise, there is a round of betting.

Betting works as follows: The first player has the options of checking, betting, or folding. If he folds, he is out of the game for that round, and surrenders his initial stake. If he checks, he stays in the game, but wagers nothing. Then, the next player has all the options available to the first. If he bets, all subsequent players must either fold, see (that is, put in the amount of the raise) the bet and then check, or see and raise. Betting continues until all raises have been seen and checked, or all but one player folds. A hand that has been folded does not ever have to be revealed. It is optional to show what crap hand you got.

Once the round is over, the players may discard the cards they don't want and receive new ones from the deck. The bottom-most card of the deck may not be dealt, beacuse it is highly likely that it has been seen. If the deck is exhausted before the end of the round, the discards are collected, shuffled, and used to replenish it.

A common rule for home play is that unless the player is holding an ace, they may turn in three cards maximum. If they have an ace, they may turn in four, but must retain the ace. In casino play, a player may not draw five sequential cards. They will be dealt four, and then returned to and given his fifth after all the other players have gotten their cards. In the event that the player to the right of the dealer wants five cards, the dealer "burns" (disposes of) a card before giving him his fifth.

There is a final round of betting. Once all bets have been seen and checked, if there is a showdown, the hands of all players remaining in the game are shown, again going clockwise from the dealer. If your opponent beats you before you have shown your hand, you may choose to fold and not show your hand at all.

This writeup is in the public domain.

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