Draw Poker Variants

Before the rise in popularity of Texas Hold’em Draw poker was probably the most played poker games.  Draw poker is mostly likely the game that you see when you see cowboys playing poker in old western movies; if the actors are holding five cards in their hands you can be pretty sure it was five card draw poker.

When a player receives a whole poker hand and he then has the option to trade in cards, swapping them for ones from the deck before betting, the game is considered a version of draw poker.  The name comes from the very action of ‘draw’ing cards from the deck to swap.

Draw poker is often taught to new poker player as it is one of the more simple games to pick up and can be played by 2-8 players at a time (although most games are played with 5 players).  It is highly likely that if you’ve ever played poker with friends or family in the past that they played draw poker with you, despite this you can barely find a casino in the world that offer draw poker games these days because of the rise of Texas Hold’em and stud games.

There are many variations of Draw poker, here are some of them:

  • California lowball: this is  a lowball game meaning the lowest possible card combination wins the hand (Ace-to-Five aka the wheel being the lowest and therefore best hand). An important rule that you shouldn’t forget when playing this game is that whenever a player checks holding 7 high (or better) after the first draw, he loses the right to win any money put into the pot. California lowball was very popular during the seventies in California where it was played a lot at the Gardena card club.
  • Triple Draw lowball: In this draw poker variant the aim again is to the get the lowest 5 card combination Ace-to-Five (or Deuce-to-Seven), but the key difference being that players have 3 rounds of drawing and extra betting and there’s no 7 high rule that makes you forfeit your hand. Since the Publishing of Super System II in which Daniel Negreanu dedicates a whole chapter to Triple Draw Poker which is definitely worth checking out if you want to get serious about the game, it has been rising in popularity amongst the pro’s. So much even that in the 2004 WSOP a Deuce-to-Seven lowball event was included to the tournaments series. It has even gone so far that the $50,000 Buy-in Poker Player’s Championship event of 2010 had Triple Draw as one of their eight rotating games.
  • Badugi: Is a four card draw game with the Ace-to-Five lowball rules, but with quite a twist (besides being played with only 4 cards). Every card you hold with either the same rank or suit doesn’t play and the player holding the most cards wins over hands holding less cards. Badugi is usually played triple draw making the game extra explosive. The highest hand possible inBadugi poker is: Ace of Space, Two of Clubs, Three of Hearts, Four of Diamonds (the best 4 card combination).

Five card drawtriple draw and Badugi can be played on the PokerStars network for either play or real money.  If you want to try one of these games you can do so online in a safe and fun environment.

For a funny example of Hollywood’s view on draw poker, have a look at this clip with Mel Gibson from the movie Maverick:

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