If you’re keen to play poker online but not sure how to learn the ropes, 5 card poker is a great game to start on.
The only thing you need to know before you start playing five card draw, is what the winning hands are – and there are many places on the internet where you can see a ranking of the winning poker hands. So assuming you know those, 5 card poker online is one of the most straightforward card games there is.
Yes, there are some different “flavours” of five card when it comes to the betting but they’re not very different, so let’s start with the basic game where players “ante up” before play starts.
- Each player puts the agreed initial bet or “ante” into the pot. The dealer goes leftwards round the table, dealing one card face down to each person and repeating until each player has five cards.
- Everyone privately checks their cards and decides how many cards they’d like to replace, to give them a chance of building a better hand. They also figure out what they think their winning chances are, because before they get any replacement cards they have to bet on their chance of winning.
- The player to the left of the dealer says what they want to do. They have three choices. They can check – which means they don’t fancy putting money on their hand but will stay in if it’s free. It’s only free if everyone else round the table also says “check” – if one person decides they have a great hand and want to bet, everyone else either has to bet or give up. The giving up option is called “folding” – it means you don’t think you can win, don’t want to pay for more cards and are going to sit out the rest of this game. The third option is of course to bet and that’s where the fun starts. If the person before you makes a bet, you can either match their bet which is “call”, or go higher than them in a “raise”.
- Next comes the moment of truth. You get to swap the dud cards in your hand for some nice fresh ones from the dealer, so you’re hoping that your calculation of what your hand could turn into, is correct. The number of cards you can change varies between different versions of 5 card – in some games it’s only three, in others you can change all five. Of course you may be in the great position of not needing to trade any cards, and so you can “stand pat” and wait for the card swapping to be completed. One of the best online poker tips you’ll come across, is not to trade in cards just for the sake of it. You may end up with a worse hand than the one you started with.
- Once everyone’s ready, the final round of betting takes place. This can go round a few times if people are raising and re-raising. But once the betting is complete, the hands are shown and the winner takes the pot.
In some versions, someone who has an Ace can trade in four cards, provided he or she shows everyone the Ace.
Betting using blinds
While the “ante” version is popular in home poker schools all over the world, some 5 card draw betting is done via “blinds” which is more like the way other types of poker are played. In this version, not everyone puts money into the pot before the game starts. The two positions to the left of the dealer are the ones that fund the pot to start with. The position next to the dealer pays what’s called the “small blind”. The position next to that person – ie next but one from the dealer – pays the “big blind”.
The big blind is usually twice as much as the small blind. If everyone has paid to buy into a game, the big blind is often 1% of that amount.
The betting order is also different when blinds are used, and the first person to bet is the one sitting on the left of the person who paid the big blind.
Of course, there are lots of online poker tips to learn from – but this should get you started having fun with 5 card poker online.