5-Card Draw Rules How to Play Five-Card Draw Poker

Where Can I Play 5-Card Draw Online

As mentioned at the start of the article, 5-card draw is not a game that enjoys as much popularity as the likes of hold’em, but there are some places where you can play 5-card draw online.

PokerStars is your best bet for finding both 5-card draw cash games and tournaments at a variety of limits. It is also possible to hone your skills at the play money tables there and play 5-card draw online poker free of charge with no risk to your bankroll.

Photo: Flush Poker Hand — Hearts, Guts Gaming. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

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Stripped Decks

In some places, especially in continental Europe, poker is sometimes played with a deck of less than 52 cards, the low cards being omitted. is an example. As the pack is reduced, a Flush becomes more difficult to make, and for this reason a Flush is sometimes ranked above a Full House in such games. In a stripped deck game, the ace is considered to be adjacent to the lowest card present in the deck, so for example when using a 36-card deck with 6’s low, A-6-7-8-9 is a low straight.

Playing poker with fewer than 52 cards is not a new idea. In the first half of the 19th century, the earliest form of poker was played with just 20 cards — the ace, king, queen, jack and ten of each suit — with five cards dealt to each of four players. The only hand types recognised were, in descending order, four of a kind, full house, three of a kind, two pairs, one pair, no pair.


Texas Hold’em is a shared card poker game. Each player is dealt two private cards and there are five face up shared (or «community») cards on the table that can be used by anyone. In the showdown the winner is the player who can make the best five-card poker hand from the seven cards available.

Since the 1990’s, Texas Hold’em has become one of the most popular poker games worldwide. Its spread has been helped firstly by a number of well publicised televised tournaments such as the World Series of Poker and secondly by its success as an online game. For many people nowadays, poker has become synonymous with Texas Hold’em.

This page assumes some familiarity with the general rules and terminology of poker. See the poker rules page for an introduction to these, and the poker betting and pages for further details.

7-Card Stud Betting Rules and Dealing

In Limit Stud the betting limits are fixed at set amounts.В The size of the game is determined by the bet size. For example, in a $4/$8 game the small bet is $4 and the big bet is $8.

The ante is typically 10% of the big bet.В A minimum «bring in» is equal to the ante.

Betting and raising is done in increments of the big or small bet (depending on what street the betting is taking place.)

For the first two betting rounds betting is done in increments of the small bet. So in our example a bet would be $4, and a raise would be an additional $4 making a total bet of $8.

In the last three betting rounds betting is done in increments of the big bet. A bet would be $8 while a raise would be to $16.

The limit betting structure puts a cap on the number of raises. In most venues there is a maximum of a bet and three raises although some rooms have a cap of four raises.

Basic 5-Card Strategy

While you could literally spend thousands of hours studying optimal 5-Card Draw strategy most people just need s simple primer to jump in a game and do fairly well.

Here are a few takeaways to remember as you forge your own path in 5-Card Draw:

  • Don’t play too many hands. Much like Hold’em the biggest mistake beginners make is getting in over their heads playing small pairs and drawing hands
  • Position is king. Again, much like Holdem position matters a lot in 5-Card Draw.
  • Come into pots with a raise rather than a limp
  • Avoid playing drawing hands unless you’re in the blinds
  • Drawing to straights and flushes late in a hand is troublesome as you rarely have the right odds.
  • If you have a pair, draw three cards. Draw two when you have 3-of-a-kind. Draw one when you have two pair.


Showdown and Scoring

When everyone is ready, all the players expose their three hands and each pair of players compares the corresponding hands. In the simplest system of payments, you win one unit for each corresponding hand of another player that you beat and lose one for unit each hand that beats you. When the hands are equal you neither win nor lose. Here is an example:


The result would be as follows:

North v EastNorthNorthNorth+3-3
North v SouthSouthSouthNorth-1+1
North v WestNorthNorthWest+1-1
East v SouthSouthSouthEast-1+1
East v WestEastWestWest-1+1
South v WestSouthSouthWest+1-1

Notice that although West’s back hand is the overall best hand (aces full), West loses on balance because of the weaker middle and front hands. East could have done slightly less badly by putting the sevens in the middle hand, which would then have beaten West. Notice also that it is not legal for East to put the jacks in the front hand, because it would then not be possible to make a middle hand that was better and a back hand that was better still from the remaining ten cards.

Betting Round One Third Street

The player to the left of the bring is next to act. That player has three options:

  • Fold: They pay nothing to the pot and throw away their hand, waiting for the next deal to play again.
  • Call: They match the amount of the bring.
  • Raise: If the first player made a minimum bring (only brought the amount of the ante) a raise will be completing the bet to the amount of the small bet limit. If the first player completed their bring to the full small bet a raise would be doubling the small bet amount.

For example in a $20 game:

Minimum Bring

Player 1 brings 10Вў

Player 2 can call 10Вў or complete to 50Вў.

Maximum Bring (Completion)

Player 1 brings (completes) 50Вў

Player 2 can call 50Вў or raise to $1

Play moves clockwise around the table one player at a time. A betting round ends when two conditions are met:

  1. All players have had a chance to act.
  2. All players who haven’t folded have bet the same amount of money for the round.

Ranking of suits

In standard poker there is no ranking of suits for the purpose of comparing hands. If two hands are identical apart from the suits of the cards then they count as equal. In standard poker, if there are two highest equal hands in a showdown, the pot is split between them. Standard poker rules do, however, specify a hierarchy of suits: spades (highest), hearts, diamonds, clubs (lowest) (as in Contract Bridge), which is used to break ties for special purposes such as:

  • drawing cards to allocate players to seats or tables;
  • deciding who bets first in according to the highest or lowest upcard;
  • allocating a chip that is left over when a pot cannot be shared exactly between two or more players.

I have, however, heard from several home poker players who play by house rules that use this same ranking of suits to break ties between otherwise equal hands. For some reason, players most often think of this as a way to break ties between royal flushes, which would be most relevant in a game with many wild cards, where such hands might become commonplace. However, if you want to introduce a suit ranking it is important also to agree how it will apply to other, lower types of hand. If one player A has 8-8-J-9-3 and player B has 8-8-J-9-3, who will win? Does player A win by having the highest card within the pair of eights, or does player B win because her highest single card, the jack, is in a higher suit? What about K-Q-7-6-2 against K-Q-7-6-2 ? So far as I know there is no universally accepted answer to these questions: this is non-standard poker, and your house rules are whatever you agree that they are. Three different rules that I have come across, when hands are equal apart from suit are:

  1. Compare the suit of the highest card in the hand.
  2. Compare the suit of the highest paired card — for example if two people have J-J-7-7-K the highest jack wins.
  3. Compare the suit of the highest unpaired card — for example if two people have K-K-7-5-4 compare the 7’s.

Although the order spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs may seem natural to Bridge players and English speakers, other suit orders are common, especially in some European countries. Up to now, I have come across:

  • spades (high), hearts, clubs, diamonds (low)
  • spades (high), diamonds, clubs, hearts (low)
  • hearts (high), spades, diamonds, clubs (low) (in Greece and in Turkey)
  • hearts (high), diamonds, spades, clubs (low) (in Austria and in Sweden)
  • hearts (high), diamonds, clubs, spades (low) (in Italy)
  • diamonds (high), spades, hearts, clubs (low) (in Brazil)
  • diamonds (high), hearts, spades, clubs (low) (in Brazil)
  • clubs (high), spades, hearts, diamonds (low) (in Germany)

As with all house rules, it would be wise to make sure you have a common understanding before starting to play, especially when the group contains people with whom you have not played before.


In Finland, one of the most popular poker games is Sökö. Elsewhere it is sometimes known as California Stud. It is the same as 5-card stud except for the hand ranking: there are two additional hands, ranking below a pair.

A 4-straight consists of four cards of consecutive rank and an odd card. When comparing 4-straights, compare the straights first: if they are equal the rank of the odd card decides.

A 4-flush consists of four cards of one suit and one card of a different suit. First compare the four flush cards in descending order and if the these are all equal compare the odd card.

The rank of
hands from lowest to highest is:

  1. high card
  2. pair
  3. 4-straight
  4. 4-flush
  5. two pair
  6. three of a kind
  7. straight
  8. flush
  9. full house
  10. four of a kind
  11. straight flush

Правила игры в классический покер

В игре может участвовать от 2 до 10 человек. Каждому игроку в Техасском Холжеме раздается по две карты.

После раздачи начинается торговля, которая проходит в несколько раундов.

Два игрока по левую руку от дилера делают обязательные ставки, которые взимаются еще до начала торгов. Это делается для того, чтобы стимулировать игроков на активную игру. Эти обязательные ставки называются блайндами. Таковы правила игры в покер.

  • Если вы начинающий игрок, то знайте, что во время раздачи выгоднее иметь позднюю позицию, чтобы отслеживать шаги своих соперников. Это не правила игры в покер, а скорее своеобразный тактический ход.

После того, как игроки поставили блайнды, начинается первый этап торговли.

Правила игры в покер подразумевают наличие определенных действий, которые игрок совершает в процессе торговли:

  • Поставить, бет (англ. bet) – сделать ставку
  • Ответить, колл (англ. call) – поставить столько же, сколько поставил соперник – уравнять
  • Поднять, рейз (англ. raise) – увеличить ставку – поставить больше, чем соперники
  • Cбросить карты, фолд (англ. fold) – отказаться от дальнейшего участия в игре и сбросить карты
  • Пропустить, чек (англ. check) – в ситуациях, когда ставка уже была сделана или ставки не были сделаны соперниками – не добавлять ничего в банк, оставить «как есть»

Круг торговли заканчивается тогда, когда все игроки сделали равные ставки или сбросили карты.

После первого круга торговли, если в раздаче остается больше одного человека, то, по правилам игры в покер, на стол кладутся три общие открытые карты, которые называют флоп. Общие карты нужно использовать для составления комбинаций.

Если и после этого раунда в раздаче остается больше одного человека, то кладут еще одну общую карту, которую называют терном. Аналогично флопу, после сдачи терна проводится еще один круг торговли.

После терна, если это необходимо, кладут последнюю общую карту – ривер.

После ривера следует еще один раунд торговли, и если после него на банк претендует два или более игроков, то происходит вскрытие.

Комбинации по правилам покера составляются из пяти общих карт и двух закрытых. Когда была осуществлена и уравнена последняя ставка, все оставшиеся в игре люди по очереди начинают открывать для противников свои карты. Из них составляются и оцениваются итоговые выигрышные комбинации. 

Техасский Холдем является самой популярной разновидностью покера. Есть также покер Омаха, Разз, Бадуги, Пай Гоу, Китайский покер и другие

Как можно забрать банк? Существует 2 принципиально разных способа:

  1. На вскрытии показать комбинацию карт, которая бьет покерные комбинации оппонентов.
  2. Сделать ставку, которую никто не уравняет и все сбросят свои карты.


Правила игры в Четырехкарточный покер


Перед стартом игры каждой из участников должен сделать обязательный взнос. В данной игре он называется анте. При помощи такого анте происходит формирование стартового игрового банка. Размер такого анте оговаривается изначально, и, по сути, это некий вступительный билет в игру.

Кроме того, до старта игры у любого из участников есть возможность сделать дополнительную ставку. Она называется Aces Up, и представляет собой ставку на бонус. такая ставка делается в специализированный сектор, о котором мы рассказывали выше. Ставки на бонусы, а также анте осуществляются еще до момента раздачи игровых карт.

После того, как подобные стартовые ставки проставлены игроками, дилер раздает участникам карты. Как уже было отмечено выше, правила Четырехкарточного покера оговаривают тот момент, что каждому участнику раздают на руки по пять карманных карт.

При этом, дилер себе раздает уже 6 карт. Единственное отличие от обычных игроков заключается в том, что последняя – шестая карта, раздается рубашкой вниз. То есть, она открыта для взоров всех участников. В какой-то мере это дает возможность хотя бы минимально оценить шансы дилера на успех (однако это скорее в теории, поскольку обычно от этой карты нет никакой практической пользы).

В процессе игры в Четырехкарточный покер, дилер не может осуществлять никаких игровых действий. То есть, он не осуществляет игровых действий, не может сбросить свои карты и т.д. Тем не менее, он является достаточно важным участником игрового процесса, и это не только по причине задачи раздачи карт.

В конце каждой из раздач участники будут сравнивать свои сформированные комбинации с той рукой, которую удалось собрать дилеру (в ситуации, когда в игре остается кто-то из участников, не сбросив свои карты). При этом попросту отсутствует ограничение на номинал комбинаций дилера. То есть, победа достанется ему в любом случае, если комбинация будет сильнее рук участников.

Получив карманные карты на руки, каждый из участников должен оценить собственные карты и те шансы, которые они предоставляют на успех в данной раздаче. Фактически, в этот момент игрок принимает решение о том, есть ли ему смысл продолжать игру или логичнее будет попросту сбросить карты.

В случае, когда участник неплохо оценивает свои шансы на победу, он имеет возможность продолжать игру. В таком случае ему нужно будет сделать ставку, которая называется Play. В ситуации, когда участник не уверен в силе своей комбинации, он может отказаться от продолжения игры, сделав фолд – сбросив карты. Естественно, приняв решение о фолде, участник потеряет все свои ставки.

В момент вскрытия карт всегда в первую очередь проверяется ставка под названием «Aces Up» (при условии, что в данной раздаче была сделана такая ставка). Такая ставка предполагает то, что участник поставил на формирование у него Пары Тузов или более мощной комбинации.

В случае выполнения такого условия, данный игрок вне зависимости от победы или проигрыша в этой раздаче в целом, получает определенную выплату. Затем происходит процесс сверки сформированных комбинаций. В случае победы участника, он получает выплату в размере 1 к 1 от его ставки. Соответственно, его выигрыш составляет 100% от размера ставок.

Если участник проигрывает данную раздачу, то он попросту сделал свои ставки зря, потеряв их в данной раздаче. В той ситуации, когда у игрока и дилера сформированы идентичные по силе комбинации, победа достается простому участнику. Логично, что пятая и шестая карта дилера не принимаются в расчет при определении победителя раздачи.

Кроме того, игрок имеет возможность получить специальный бонус, если сможет собрать у себя на руках одну из трех наиболее сильных рук данной покерной дисциплины. В зависимости от конкретного игрового заведения, оговариваются размеры таких бонусов. Такие бонусы будут выплачены даже тогда, когда его сильная комбинация проиграла комбинации дилера.

Jacks Back

This variation of Jacks or Better works well for smaller groups, say 3 to 5 players, in which case there will be many deals on which no one can open.

The game begins like Five Card Draw. Five cards are dealt to each player and there is a betting round, in which Jacks or Better are required to open. If someone opens the betting the game proceeds exactly like normal Five Card Draw, and in a showdown the highest hand wins the pot.

If no one opens in the first betting round the cards are not thrown in. Instead the players keep their cards and the game changes to Ace-to-five Lowball, and there is a new betting round begun by the player to dealer’s left. Provided that the betting is opened in this new betting round, the players then have the chance to draw with the aim of making a low hand. After the draw there is another betting round, begun by the first active player to dealer’s left. If more than one player stays in there is a showdown in which the lowest poker hand wins. Aces are low and straights and flushes do not count, so the best hand is A-2-3-4-5 (a «bicycle»). A-A-2-3-4 is a pair, so it is worse than any hand without a pair, but better than any other pair since aces are low.

It may happen that no one opens in the first betting round, and then after the game changes to Lowball everyone checks again. In this case the cards are thrown in and the turn to deal passes to the left.

To avoid the possibility that a hand is thrown in, some clubs have a rule that when the game changes to Lowball the player to dealer’s left must place a «blind» bet, and the betting round begins with the next player to the left. The player who placed the blind may raise after everyone else has acted even if no one did more than call. The betting round after the draw is begun by the first active player to dealer’s left as usual.

Some play that check-raising is not allowed in the Lowball part of this game, and also apply the betting sevens rule as for California Lowball.

Jacks Back is often played with a joker, which acts as a bug for high hands. When the game is played for low, the joker is known as a fitter, and it represents the lowest card not already present in the player’s hand. Other forms of Lowball Draw Poker are described on the .

Rules for Other Poker Games

As you can see from our extensive list of rules pages above, poker can be played in many different forms and formats. For starters you can play Texas Holdem in both cash game and tournament format, which changes the rules and strategy substantially.


Many different varieties of Holdem poker tournaments also have different rules and processes (Turbo, Bounty, Progressive Knockout, Spin & Go, etc) so be sure you’re well aware of the rules of the particular poker tournament you’re playing.

If it’s a form of Texas Hold’em, though, the basic rules of hand rankings, dealing and betting will be fairly consistent and easy to pick up.

The next most popular form of poker to Texas Hold’em is definitely Omaha, which has many rules similarities to Holdem but a couple of key differences.

Foremost are:

  • Each player is dealt 4 hole cards instead of 2
  • A player must use exactly 2 of their hole cards to make up their final 5-card hand

It seems like a small difference but it alters the optimal strategy for each game substantially. We highly recommend you try it out and see just how much fun Omaha poker can be. For further reading, check our articles here:

  • Holdem to Omaha: Making the Switch
  • A Complete Beginners Guide to Pot-Limit Omaha
  • Omaha Poker: Common Beginner Mistakes
  • How to Not Suck at Pot-Limit Omaha

And, of course, we also recommend our complete guide to the rules of Omaha poker:

If you dive into any number of poker’s multitude of great variations, like draw games, lowball games, Chinese Poker, etc, you’ll need to learn specific rules for each game.

Again, check our our extensive list of Poker Rules guides above. If there’s a poker variation you’d like to learn how to play and we don’t have a guide for it, let us know in the comments and we’ll do one up for you!

Arrangement of cards

Each player must divide their 13 cards into a «back» hand of 5 cards, a «middle» hand of 5 cards and a «front» hand of 3 cards. Considered as poker hands, the back hand must be better than the middle hand, and the middle hand must be better than the front hand. The standard poker ranking is used — so the hand types from high to low are: royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, straight, three of a kind, two pairs, one pair, high card (see the page on ). There are no wild cards.

Since the front hand has only 3 cards, only three hand types are possible: three of a kind; one pair; high card. There is no value in having a front hand with three consecutive cards or three cards of the same suit: «straights» or «flushes» in the front hand do not count.

Players place their three hands face down in front of them, the front hand nearest the centre of the table and the back hand nearest themselves.

History of 3 Card Poker

The 3 Card Poker game is relatively new in the poker market. It is believed to have evolved from a conventionally British card game known as Brag. Initially, the British had a betting game called Primero which was played with three cards. As time went by, the game morphed into a new version called Post-and-Pair.
The game found its way to the United States, and it became common by the name Casino Brag, which, of course, was later changed to 3 Card Poker. Although there might be other stories about this game, the modern version, 3 Card Poker, was invented by a British and professional poker player by the name Derek Webb. History has it that Webb once visited Las Vegas, Nevada, and played . He found the game slow and boring than he anticipated.
Later in 1994, he created the first 3 Card Poker which is widely played in Great Britain. Today, you will find different online versions of this game like 3 Card Poker Gold, Multihand, Mobile 3 Card Poker, and Flash 3 Card Poker.


How to Play 5-Card Draw Poker

If you have played any other form of poker, 5-card draw rules are similar in that the aim of the game is to make the best five-card poker hand. Like Texas hold’em, the hand rankings, from weakest to strongest, are as follows:

  • High card
  • One pair
  • Two pair
  • Three-of-a-kind
  • Straight
  • Flush
  • Full house
  • Four-of-a-kind
  • Straight flush
  • Royal Flush

When it comes to preflop betting, there are two different methods used in 5-card draw. Either all players pay an ante before receiving their cards (this is more common in home games), or there is a small blind and big blind similar to hold’em and Omaha games (this is the most common in online poker and in casinos).

Three different betting structures exist for 5-card draw, too. You can play fixed-limit, pot-limit, or even no-limit 5-card draw. While all three formats play to , the different betting structures mean your strategy needs to be adapted. For example, some hands that you wouldn’t play in fixed-limit 5-card draw become playable in no-limit 5-card draw because in the latter you can bet enough to force your opponent to fold. Regardless of the betting structure, this is how to play 5-card draw.

Once everyone has paid the ante or the blinds, each player receives five cards face down. A round of betting then occurs. If more than one player remains after that first round of betting, there follows a first round of drawing. Each active player specifies how many cards he or she wishes to discard and replace with new cards from the deck. If you are happy with your holding and do not want to draw any cards, you “stand pat.”

Once the drawing round is completed, there is another round of betting. After that if there is more than one player remaining, a showdown occurs in which the player with the best five-card poker hand wins.

As you can see, the rules for 5-card draw are simple and make for a fast-paced game, which is why the game is popular with new, less experienced players.

Ante and Play

Three cards are dealt to each player who has placed an ante bet and three cards to the dealer. After viewing his three cards the player must decide to either:

  1. make a play bet, placing an additional amount equal to the ante bet, or
  2. fold, losing the ante bet.

Following this decision, the dealer’s hand is revealed and there is a showdown.

  • If the dealer does not have Queen high or better, the ante bet is paid even money and the play bet is returned.
  • If the dealer does have Queen high or better and the player’s hand beats the dealer’s hand the ante bet and play bet are paid even money.
  • If the dealer does have Queen high or better and the player’s hand is equal to the dealer’s hand the player’s ante and play bets are returned.
  • If the dealer does have Queen high or better and the player’s hand is worse than the dealer’s hand the ante and play bet are lost.

An additional bonus is also payed on the ante bet irrespective of dealer’s hand or outcome of the hand if the player holds a strong hand

  • Even money for a straight
  • 4 to 1 for three of a kind
  • 5 to 1 for a straight flush

Players, Cards and Objective

Traditionally, poker has been thought of as a game for 2 to 7 players, the more the better with 6 or 7 being the ideal number. However, some variants can be played by more than seven, and some versions work well for a small number of players — even with just two («heads up»). The deal and play are clockwise.

A standard international 52-card pack is used, and in most forms of poker there are no jokers. The rank of the cards, from high to low, is A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. In certain circumstances the ace can be used as a low card, below the 2. For the purposes of comparing hands all suits are equal.

Poker is normally played for money, but it is convenient to use chips to represent money during the actual games. These generally come in various denominations, sometimes labelled with numbers 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and sometimes in colours such as white, red, blue whose values must be agreed. Players buy chips from the host before the game and redeem them for money at the end.

In outline, a game of poker is played as follows.

  1. Players place an initial bet, if required by the game being played, by placing some of their chips into a central common area known as the pot or pool.
  2. The dealer deals cards to the players.
  3. Players look at their own cards, and have the opportunity to increase their bet, placing extra chips into the pot. All other players must then either put in chips to bring their contribution to the pot to at least an equal amount or fold, discarding their cards and abandoning any chips they have so far contributed to the pot.
  4. Players who have not folded are known as active players. When all active players have contributed an equal amount to the pot, that is the end of the betting round. According to the variant being played, further cards may be dealt or players may have an opportunity to exchange some cards, after which there is another betting round, and so on.
  5. When the last betting round has ended there is a showdown: all active players show their cards, and the owner of the best five-card hand takes the contents of the pot. If at any point only one active player remains, that player automatically wins the pot without having to show any cards.

The objective is of course to win money, and there are two ways to do this.

  1. To have the best five-card hand at the showdown.
  2. To persuade all the other players to fold.

It is the second possibility that creates the possibility for bluff. If everyone believes that you probably have a good hand, then when you raise the stake, they may prefer to fold rather than add chips to a pot that they will probably lose. If they all fold you win, even though your hand may in reality be much worse than theirs.

Poker Hand Ranking with Wild Cards

A wild card card that can be used to substitute for a card that the holder needs to make up a hand. In some variants one or more jokers are added to the pack to act as wild cards. In others, one or more cards of the 52-card pack may be designated as wild — for example all the twos («deuces wild») or the jacks of hearts and spades («one-eyed jacks wild», since these are the only two jacks shown in profile in Anglo-American decks).

The most usual rule is that a wild card can be used either

  1. to represent any card not already present in the hand, or
  2. to make the special combination of «five of a kind».

This approach is not entirely consistent, since five of a kind — five cards of equal rank — must necessarily include one duplicate card, since there are only four suits. The only practical effect of the rule against duplicates is to prevent the formation of a «double ace flush». So for example in the hand A-9-8-5-joker, the joker counts as a K, not a second ace, and this hand is therefore beaten by A-K-10-4-3, the 10 beating the 9.

Five of a Kind

When playing with wild cards, five of a kind becomes the highest type of hand, beating a royal flush. Between fives of a kind, the higher beats the lower, five aces being highest of all.

The Bug

Some games, especially , are often played with a bug. This is a joker added to the pack which acts as a limited wild card. It can either be used as an ace, or to complete a straight or a flush. Thus the highest hand is five aces (A-A-A-A-joker), but other fives of a kind are impossible — for example 6-6-6-6-joker would count as four sixes with an ace kicker and a straight flush would beat this hand. Also a hand like 8-8-5-5-joker counts as two pairs with the joker representing an ace, not as a full house.

Wild Cards in Low Poker

In Low Poker, a wild card can be used to represent a card of a rank not already present in the player’s hand. It is then sometimes known as a «fitter». For example 6-5-4-2-joker would count as a pair of sixes in normal poker with the joker wild, but in ace-to-five low poker the joker could be used as an ace, and in deuce-to-seven low poker it could be used as a seven to complete a low hand.

Lowest Card Wild

Some home poker variants are played with the player’s lowest card (or lowest concealed card) wild. In this case the rule applies to the lowest ranked card held at the time of the showdown, using the normal order ace (high) to two (low). Aces cannot be counted as low to make them wild.

Double Ace Flush

Some people play with the house rule that a wild card can represent any card, including a duplicate of a card already held. It then becomes possible to have a flush containing two or more aces. Flushes with more than one ace are not allowed unless specifically agreed as a house rule.

Natural versus Wild

Some play with the house rule that a natural hand beats an equal hand in which one or more of the cards are represented by wild cards. This can be extended to specify that a hand with more wild cards beats an otherwise equal hand with fewer wild cards. This must be agreed in advance: in the absence of any agreement, wild cards are as good as the natural cards they represent.


The game described above is Texas Hold’em as played formally in public card rooms. When it is played at home, the same procedure can be used, but in some informal games the burning of cards is omitted, and the five community cards are dealt face down to the table at the start. Three of these cards are turned face up after the first betting round, one after the second and one after the third. The result is similar to the formal game, but there is an increased risk that a player might, by accident or by cheating, learn the identity of some of the table cards before they are officially exposed.

The practice of dealing the community cards to the table at the start and turning them face up later is commonly found in community card poker games with more complex layouts, such as Iron Cross and Tic-Tac-Toe. Several of these are listed on the page.

Five Card Draw Poker

This basic game, with no restrictions on the cards needed to open or win, is sometimes known as California Draw or Guts, though Guts is also the name of another poker-like game. Because of this freedom it offers considerable scope for bluffing, especially if played for high stakes.

Players and Cards

Five Card Draw is played with a standard 52-card pack, and there can be from two to six players — six probably make the best game. It is possible for seven or or even eight people to play, but then there is the disadvantage that the cards may run out during the draw.

Ante, Deal and First Betting Round

Before the deal each player puts an agreed ante into the pot. Usually the ante is the same amount as the minimum bet.

After the shuffle and cut, the dealer deals the cards face down clockwise one at a time until each player has five cards. Players may look at their cards, and there is a betting round begun by the player to dealer’s left. If everyone passes (checks) in this first betting round, the cards are thrown in, the turn to deal passes to the left, the pot remains and everyone adds another ante to it.

In fixed or spread limit games, the number of raises after the initial opening bet is usually limited to four.

The Draw

If more than one player remains in the game after the first betting round, active players have one opportunity to improve their hands by discarding some cards and obtaining replacements. Beginning with the nearest active player to dealer’s left, each active player announces the number of cards to be replaced, discards that number of cards face down, and is dealt an equal number of cards face down by the dealer.

A player can discard from zero to three cards. The dealer should wait until the player has discarded the number of cards stated before starting to deal replacements. Discarding no cards at all and thus keeping one’s original hand is known as standing pat. Naturally, it is in the players’ interest to wait for their turns and not give away information in advance about how many cards they intend to draw.

In a game with more than six players it is possible that the deck will run out of cards (since each player can consume up to 8 cards — a hand of 5 plus 3 more drawn). If the dealer finds that not enough cards remain then the discards of the players who have already discarded are shuffled and cut to form a new deck from which replacement cards can be dealt to the remaining player(s). Reusing cards rejected by other players is not very satisfactory, and this is why six players is normally set as the maximum number for this game.

Until the second round of betting begins, any player is entitled to ask how many cards any other player drew, and be given an honest answer.

Second Betting Round

After all active players have had a chance to draw there is a second round of betting, begun by the player who opened the betting on the first round.

The minimum and maximum bets allowed in the second betting round are normally set higher than in the first betting round — typically double.

In a fixed limit or spread limit game, the second betting round, like the first, is normally limited to a bet and four raises.


After the second betting round, if the pot has not already been won, players show their cards in clockwise order, beginning with the last player who took aggressive action (bet or raised) in the second betting round. If everyone checked in the second betting round, the player who opened the betting in the first betting round shows first.

Five Card Draw with Deuces Wild

In this variation of Jacks or Better, the four deuces (twos) are wild cards. A deuce can be used as any card the holder needs to complete a hand. The highest hand type is Five of a Kind, which is better than a Straight Flush.

Except when making Five of a Kind, a wild card cannot be used to represent a card that is already present in a player’s hand. The only case where this matters is when making a Flush, in which case if you have (for example) a natural ace, you cannot use a wild card as a second ace.

This variant is found mostly in home poker games and is usually played with the rule that players must declare their own hands (the cards do not «speak for themselves» — see poker betting and showdown for details).

It is equally possible to play with any other set of cards wild as agreed by the players, or as specified by the dealer in a dealer’s choice game. For example you one can play with fives wild, or with one-eyed jacks wild.

Wild Widow

This five-card draw variation is similar to deuces wild except that the wild card is determined during the deal rather than specified in advance. This is done by dealing a card dealt face up to the table, usually after the fourth card has been dealt to each player. The other three cards of the same rank as the face up card are wild.


This is a five-card draw in which deuces are wild and players are not allowed to draw more than two cards. There is an extra rule that the player who opens (makes the first bet) must either win the pot or match it. In other words, if the pot is won by a player other than the opener, the opener must pay to create a new pot equal to the pot was just won. The deal then passes to the left (with no new antes) and the game is played for this new pot. This continues until a hand is played in which the opener wins the pot.

If this variant is played in a game, it continues until the opener wins the pot, after which the deal passes to the player to the left of the player who called Diablo, who can then select another game. To avoid the pot becoming too large, some groups may prefer to put a fixed limit on the size of the new pot that the opener must create after failing to win.

Hand rankings

Below are the eight types of hands you can build in Four Card Poker (arranged from strongest to weakest):

  • Four of a Kind – four cards of the same rank, as in Kd Kh Ks Kc
  • Straight Flush – four consecutive suited cards, as in Ks Qs Js 10s
  • Three of a Kind – three cards of the same rank plus a fourth kicker card, as in 7h 7c 7s 10d
  • Flush – four suited cards, as in Jc 9c 5c 4c
  • Straight – four consecutive non-suited cards, as in 8c 7s 6d 5h
  • Two Pair – two sets of two cards of the same rank, as in 5d 5c 2h 2d
  • One Pair – two cards of the same rank plus two cards, as in 10d 10c 4h 2s
  • High Card – four random cards with at least two suits, as in Ks 10c 4d 2h


Five Card Draw is one of the oldest forms of poker and was by far the best known internationally until the sudden rise in popularity of Texas Hold’em at the end of the 20th century. The basic game will be described first, followed by some variations with extra opening conditions, winning conditions or wild cards. These can be combined in various ways — for example jacks or better and trips to win are often played with a bug or wild card. This page assumes some familiarity with the general rules and terminology of poker. See the poker rules page for an introduction to these, and the poker betting and pages for further details.

7-Card Stud Ante and Bring

Once the cards are shuffled all players must ante. Antes are dead money, meaning they go immediately into the pot. Any bets you make will be in addition to the antes.

Starting with the player on the dealer’s left and moving around the table clockwise, the dealer deals every player two cards face down (all cards face down are known as «down» cards or hole cards), followed by one card face up (this card is known as the door card, or window card. All cards face up are collectively known as «up» cards or show cards).

In every form of poker there is some determining factor as to how and where the action starts in the hand. In Hold’em or Omaha the action starts to the left of the big blind; in Stud it starts with the bring.

The player with the lowest-value up card is the one required to «bring it in.»

Here’s what you need to discern the player for the bring:

  • All cards are worth face value and face cards are valued from worst to best: Jack, Queen, King.
  • Aces are high for the bring, which means they rank higher than a king.
  • If two players have the same value low card, suits are used to determine the loser.
  • Stud uses poker-suit ordering alphabetic from worst to best: clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades.

The player required to bring has two choices.В They can either bring by making a bet equal to the size of the ante or they can complete the bet to the full amount of the small bet.


No set of rules for poker covers every possible irregularity. Most try to cover the most common mishaps, and leave it to the house, or the dealer in a home game, to resolve other problems as fairly as possible with the minimum disruption to the game. Here are some general principles.

Significant Action

«Action» is a pass, bet, check, raise or fold by any player. If two or more players have acted, that constitutes «significant action». Once the initial cards have been dealt and significant action has taken place, the play must continue.

Problems with the deal

Under strict rules, any error in the initial deal, such as giving too many or too few cards to any player, dealing an extra hand or missing out a player who should have been dealt a hand, omitting the shuffle or cut or exposing cards counts as a misdeal, provided that it is pointed out before there has been significant action. In this case the cards are thrown in, the shuffle and cut are repeated and the cards are redealt by the same dealer.

In an informal home poker game, players may agree that redealing in such a case wastes too much time. In that case the deal may be corrected if possible in a way that is fair to the players. For example a player who has one card too few may be dealt another card, a player who has one card too many may hold his cards face down while another player removes a card from it at random, and this card is shuffled into the deck, and so on.

In some home games, if a player misdeals more than a certain number of times in succession (say more than twice), the deal passes to the next player, and the misdealer may be required to pay a penalty, such as matching the pot.

After significant action has taken place, the cards can no longer be redealt. Players should check at the start that they have the right number of cards. A player who has the wrong number of cards at the showdown cannot win the pot.

Hand protection

Players are responsible not only for making sure that they have the right number of cards, but also for ensuring that their concealed cards cannot be seen by any other player, and that their cards are kept separate from any common table cards and especially from the discard pile or «muck». The strict rule is that any hand that touches the muck is dead and the owner can no longer win the pot. In fact «mucking» a hand by placing it in contact with the discard pile is commonly used as a method of folding.

Exposed cards

Players must not deliberately expose cards that are meant to be concealed. Any card accidentally shown to any player (either from the deck or another player’s hand) must immediately be shown to all players.

Action out of turn

Players must be careful not to indicate what their action (check, raise, fold, etc.) will be before their turn. If any player accidentally does this, then they are committed to take that action when their proper turn comes.

Cheating and collusion

Players must not advise one another, and non-players are not allowed to help the players in any way. Each player must play alone, in his or her own interest only. Playing in such a way as to help another player is known as collusion. It is considered a form of cheating and would be grounds for being expelled from a formal game.

Advanced 5-Card Draw Strategy

Once you have a grasp of the basics and are feeling more confident with how to play 5-card draw, you can start applying some more advanced strategies to your game. There is a large psychological element to 5-card draw thanks in large part to the drawing element of the game.

For example, while it is statistically the best play to draw three cards when you hold a pair, if you always make this play your opponents will be able to read your hand easily and alter their strategy to defeat you. Therefore, you need sometimes only to draw to one or two cards with a pair in your hand — or even to stand pat — in order to represent a holding stronger than what you actually have.

Unlike in games such as hold’em, there is rarely any stone cold bluffing in 5-card draw; players usually have at least a playable hand when betting even if they are indeed bluffing. This is why it is vitally important to take detailed notes when playing 5-card draw because they are extremely helpful. Should you make a note that a player only opens with a pair of jacks or stronger on the button, you can easily fold a pair of nines in the blinds instead of calling.

Hand Ranking in Low Poker

There are several poker variations in which the lowest hand wins: these are sometimes known as Lowball. There are also «high-low» variants in which the pot is split between the highest and the lowest hand. A low hand with no combination is normally described by naming its highest card — for example 8-6-5-4-2 would be described as «8-down» or «8-low».

It first sight it might be assumed that in low poker the hands rank in the reverse order to their ranking in normal (high) poker, but this is not quite the case. There are several different ways to rank low hands, depending on how aces are treated and whether straights and flushes are counted.

Ace to Five

This seems to be the most popular system. Straights and flushes do not count, and Aces are always low. The best hand is therefore 5-4-3-2-A, even if the cards are all in one suit. Then comes 6-4-3-2-A, 6-5-3-2-A, 6-5-4-2-A, 6-5-4-3-A, 6-5-4-3-2, 7-4-3-2-A and so on. Note that when comparing hands, the highest card is compared first, just as in standard poker. So for example 6-5-4-3-2 is better than 7-4-3-2-A because the 6 is lower than the 7. The best hand containing a pair is A-A-4-3-2. This version is sometimes called «California Lowball».

When this form of low poker is played as part of a high-low split variant, there is sometimes a condition that a hand must be «eight or better» to qualify to win the low part of the pot. In this case a hand must consist of five unequal cards, all 8 or lower, to qualify for low. The worst such hand is 8-7-6-5-4.

Deuce to Seven

The hands rank in almost the same order as in standard poker, with straights and flushes counting and the lowest hand wins. The difference from normal poker is that Aces are always high , so that A-2-3-4-5 is not a straight, but ranks between K-Q-J-10-8 and A-6-4-3-2. The best hand in this form is 7-5-4-3-2 in mixed suits, hence the name «deuce to seven». The next best is 7-6-4-3-2, then 7-6-5-3-2, 7-6-5-4-2, 8-5-4-3-2, 8-6-4-3-2, 8-6-5-3-2, 8-6-5-4-2, 8-6-5-4-3, 8-7-4-3-2, etc. The highest card is always compared first, so for example 8-6-5-4-3 is better than 8-7-4-3-2 even though the latter contains a 2, because the 6 is lower than the 7. The best hand containing a pair is 2-2-5-4-3, but this would be beaten by A-K-Q-J-9 — the worst «high card» hand. This version is sometimes called «Kansas City Lowball».

Ace to Six

Many home poker players play that straights and flushes count, but that aces can be counted as low. In this version 5-4-3-2-A is a bad hand because it is a straight, so the best low hand is 6-4-3-2-A. There are a couple of issues around the treatment of aces in this variant.

  • First, what about A-K-Q-J-10? Since aces are low, this should not count as a straight. It is a king-down, and is lower and therefore better than K-Q-J-10-2.
  • Second, a pair of aces is the lowest and therefore the best pair, beating a pair of twos.

It is likely that some players would disagree with both the above rulings, preferring to count A-K-Q-J-10 as a straight and in some cases considering A-A to be the highest pair rather than the lowest. It would be wise to check that you agree on these details before playing ace-to-six low poker with unfamiliar opponents.

Selecting from more than five cards

Note that in games where more than five cards are available, the player is free to select whichever cards make the lowest hand. For example a player in Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better whose cards are 10-8-6-6-3-2-A can omit the 10 and one of the 6’s to create a qualifying hand for low.

Правила игры в 4 Card Poker


Теперь перейдем к правилам, которые предусматривает четырех карточный покер. В самом начале игры, покерист совершает обязательную ставку Анте на соответствующее поле. Если он хочет поставить Aces Up, то должен сделать ее сразу же после Ante, не дожидаясь раздачи карт. Размер данных ставок должен быть равнозначным.

Когда фишки поставлены на кон, то крупье производит раздачу карт. Интересная особенность состоит в том, что покеристы получают по пять карт, а крупье – шесть. Последнюю карту дилера игроки могут видеть, что позволяет им получить небольшое представление о силе руки крупье.

Особенность 4 Card Poker заключается в том, что здесь нет такого понятия, как отсутствие игры у дилера. Вот почему силы рук сравнивают в любом случае, исключение лишь составляет ситуация, когда все покеристы сделали фолд.

Play – ставка, которая не является обязательной. Игрок вправе ее не совершать, если после раздачи понимает, что рука является слабой. В этом случае он может сбросить карты, то есть сделать фолд. Однако в этом случае он потеряет ранее сделанные ставки. Если же покерист видит, что с розданными картами есть шанс победить, то тогда ему нужно совершить ставку Play.

Решив продолжить игру, покерист открывает свои карты. Если комбинация игрока оказалась слабее, чем у дилера, то его ставки Анте и Play уходят в пользу казино. Если же у покериста рука сильнее, то он получает выигрыш 1 к 1 и дополнительный бонус – от 2 до 9 начальных ставок, если собрал комбинацию высокого порядка.

Обратите внимание, что в четырех карточном покере равнозначные комбинации засчитываются в пользу игрока, что является большим плюсом. .

Как играть в покер. Комбинации карт

Начнем с наименьшей:

  1. Если ни у кого из игроков не выпала комбинация, то забирает банк тот, у кого карта старше.
  2. Пара — две карты с одинаковым достоинством. Например, две дамы.
  3. Две пары — две карты с одинаковым достоинством и две карты с другого одинакового достоинства. Например, две дамы и два короля.
  4. Тройка — три карты одного старшинства. Например, три девятки.
  5. Стрит — любые пять карт, идущие подряд по старшинству. Например, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
  6. Флеш — любые пять карт одной масти.
  7. Фулл Хаус — пара и тройка вместе. Например, две дамы и три десятки.
  8. Каре — четыре карты с одним достоинством. Например, четыре короля.
  9. Стрит Флеш — пять карт одной масти, идущие подряд по старшинству.
  10. Флеш Рояль — пять самых старших карт одной масти, то есть это Туз, Король, Дама, Валет, Десять.

Удачи в игре и высокого выигрыша!

Five Card Stud High-Low

The deal and betting are mostly the same as in ordinary five card stud. Some play that in high-low games, a pair showing does not give players the option of a big bet or raise.

In the formal version of this game, at the showdown, the pot is split equally between the highest and lowest hands, the odd chip going to the high hand if the amount cannot be divided exactly by two. Any of the possible low hand ranking methods can be used — see low hand ranking on the poker hand ranking page.

In home games, Five Card Stud High-Low is often played with declaration. After the final betting round each player has to declare either «high», «low». This can be done either in sequence around the table or simultaneously — see the section on declaration methods on the poker betting page. Usually players are not allowed to dealer «both» in Five Card Stud High-Low. Even if it were allowed it would be unusual, unless perhaps you were playing ace-to-five ranking (uncommon in home games) and a player had (or pretended to have) an A-2-3-4-5 straight which is good for both high and low.

In the showdown, the highest hand among the players who have declared «high» shares the pot with the lowest of the players who have declared «low». See the section on the showdown in split pot games on the for further details and variations.

Basic Texas Holdem Poker Rules

Texas Hold’em Poker is the most popular poker variation in the world and the one you’ve most likely seen played on TV.

Holdem isВ a community card game that can be played with anywhere from 2-10 players and most often you’ll find in No-Limit format — meaning any player can put all of his or her chips in at any time.

Here’s a quick spin through the basic rules of Texas Holdem; for a more extensive look, head to our Texas Holdem rules page.


  1. One player acts as dealer (in a casino this is obviously provided). This position is called the button and it rotates clockwise after every hand.
  2. The two players to the left of the dealer are called the small blind and the big blind, respectively.
  3. These two positions require forced bets of a pre-determined amount and are the only players to put money in the pot before the cards are dealt (if no ante in place).
  4. Every player then receives two cards face down. These are called «hole» cards.
  5. Once all hole cards have been dealt to each player the first betting round begins with the player sitting immediately to the left of the big blind. This player can fold, call (match the amount of the big blind) or bet.
  6. Betting then continues clockwise with each player having the option to fold, call the amount of the highest bet before them, bet (if no one before them has bet) or raise (if another player has made a bet).
  7. When the first betting round is completed, three community cards are flipped face up on the table. This is called «The Flop.»
  8. The second round of betting begins with the first remaining player seated to the left of the button. The betting resumes, clockwise, with each player having the option to check (if no bet in front of them), bet (or raise if a bet before them), call or fold.
  9. When the second round of betting is finished, a fourth community card is flipped face up on the table. This is called the turn.
  10. The third round of betting commences with the first remaining player sitting to the left of the button.
  11. When the third round of betting is over a fifth community card is flipped face up on the table. This is called the river.
  12. The fourth and final round of bets begins again with the first player sitting to the left of the button and still in play and operating on the same principle as the previous ones.
  13. If two or more players are left in the hand after the final betting round, they enter into a «showdown.» All players left reveal their hands and the player with the highest 5-card poker hand wins. See Poker Hand Rankings here.
  14. Players make up their best 5-card poker hand by using one, two or none of their hole cards combined with the 5 community cards on the board.

See our Poker Rules for All-In Situations and our Side Pot Calculator here: В 

Betting Round Two Fourth Street

Once the first betting round has completed the dealer deals every player (always starting at the first live player to his or her left and moving clockwise around the table) one card face up, next to the first face-up card.

In this betting round (and every betting round to follow) the first player to act is decided by the value of the show cards. The player with the highest value show cards acts first.

The value of show cards are ranked in the same order as poker hands.

On fourth street, with only two cards showing, the best possible hand would be two aces showing (A A to be exact). The worst possible hand would be 2 3. Any pair is better than any two non-paired cards; for example 2 2 is better than A K.

Suit ranks are used in the event of a tie for the highest-ranked show cards. When evaluating rank by suit the value of the hand is determined by the suit of the highest-ranking card.

Example 1:

Player 1: A K

Player 2: A K

Player 1 has the better hand since the Ace of spades is of higher rank than the Ace of hearts.

Example 2:

Player 1: 3 3

Player 2: 3 3


Player 1 wins, since they have the Three of Spades, which is a higher ranked card than Player 2’s Three of Hearts.

Once you have discerned the highest hand, that person acts first. They have the option to check (wager no money, and move the action to the player on their left) or bet the small betting limit.

The action moves from that player clockwise around the table one player at a time. Each player has the option to:

  • Check (if no bet has been made).
  • Call (match any bet made).
  • Bet/Raise (If no bet is made, they can bet the small limit; if a bet has been made they can raise it by adding an additional amount to the bet, equal to the small limit).
  • fold (throw away their hand).

Once every player has acted, and every player that has not folded has put the same amount of money into the pot, the betting round ends.



Poker is foundationally a game of a chance. The addition of betting to the game added new dimensions of skill and psychology which allows players to strategize within a game that is largely based on random chance. The name poker is thought to be an English derivative from the Irish “Poca” (pocket) or French “Poque,” although these games may not be the original ancestors of Poker. Since the conception of poker, there have been numerous variations created of the classic game. Poker is a family of card games, so the information below is an outline of principles that are applied to several forms of poker.

The Deal and Betting

Texas Hold’em is usually played with no ante, but with blinds. When there are more than two players, the player to dealer’s left places a small blind, and the next player to the left a big blind. The big blind is equal to the minimum bet and the small blind is typically half that amount. When there are only two players (a «heads-up» game), the dealer places the small blind and the non-dealer the big blind.

The cards are shuffled and cut, the dealer «burns» one card and then deals the cards one at a time face down until each player has two cards. These are known as the player’s hole cards or pocket cards. Players may look at their two hole cards and must not show them to any other player.

The first betting round is begun by the player to the left of the big blind. The blinds count as bets, so the small blind need only pay the difference between the blinds to call. The big blind player acts last and is allowed to raise, even if the other active players have all called.

After the first betting round the dealer burns one card and deals three cards face up to the table. These three cards are known as the flop. There is then a second betting round begun by the first active player to the left of the dealer seat.

When the second betting round is complete, the dealer burns a card and then deals one card face up to the table. This card is known as the turn or fourth street. There is then a third betting round, again begun by the first active player to the left of the dealer seat.

After the third betting round the dealer burns another card and deals one more card face up — the river or fifth street. There is fourth and final round of betting before the showdown, again begun by the first active player to the left of the dealer seat.

In a fixed-limit or spread-limit game, any betting round that has more than two active players at the start is normally limited to one bet plus three (sometimes four) raises. In the first (pre-flop) betting round the big blind counts for this purpose as the first bet. If a betting round begins with only two active players, there is no limit on the number of raises.

In limit poker, the betting limits are usually doubled before the third betting round. So for example a $10-$20 game would typically have blinds of $5 and $10, bets of $10 in the first two rounds and bets of $20 in the last two.


This is played the same way as Texas Hold’em, except that each player is initially dealt three hole cards and must discard one of them before the first round of betting.

Crazy Pineapple

As in Pineapple, each player is dealt three cards, but in Crazy Pineapple they are kept until after the second betting round. Each active player must discard one card immediately before the fourth board card (the turn) is dealt.

Crazy Pineapple Hi-Lo 8 or Better

Crazy Pineapple is often played in such a way that the pot is shared between the players with the highest and lowest hands. The deal and betting are exactly as in Crazy Pineapple. At the showdown, as well as making their best hand, each active player makes the lowest possible hand from their seven cards. When making a low hand, the five cards must all be of different ranks, the aces count as low, straights and flushes do not count, and no card can be higher than an 8. So the best low hand is A-2-3-4-5 and the worst is 8-7-6-5-4. Cards are compared from the top down, so 7-5-4-3-2 is better than 7-6-3-2-A because the 5 is lower than the 6. Players can use a different selection of cards for their high hand and their low hand.

The pot is split equally between the highest hand and the lowest hand. If none of the active players qualifies for low (which will automatically be the case if there are three cards higher than 8 on the board), then the player with the highest hand wins the whole pot.

Incomplete Hands

In some poker variants, such as , it is necessary to compare hands that have fewer than five cards. With fewer than five cards, you cannot have a straight, flush or full house. You can make a four of a kind or two pairs with only four cards, triplets with three cards, a pair with two cards and a «high card» hand with just one card.

The process of comparing first the combination and then the kickers in descending order is the same as when comparing five-card hands. In hands with unequal numbers of cards any kicker that is present in the hand beats a missing kicker. So for example 8-8-K beats 8-8-6-2 because the king beats the 6, but 8-8-6-2 beats 8-8-6 because a 2 is better than a missing fourth card. Similarly a 10 by itself beats 9-5, which beats 9-3-2, which beats 9-3, which beats a 9 by itself.

Seven Card Draw Poker

This variant is not widespread but it is played to a minor extent in the Netherlands. It is seen as a novelty game with a greater element of risk than 5 card draw, in that players have a better chance to make a high ranking combination. Because of the larger number of cards dealt, this game does not work well with more than four players.

Before the deal, the player to dealer’s left places a small blind, and the next player to the left a big blind. The size of the blinds is agreed in advance — the small blind should be half the value of the big blind. The dealer then deals seven cards to each player and there is a first round of betting beginning to the left of the big blind.

After the betting round each surviving player in turn, beginning to the left of the player who placed the big blind, has one opportunity to discard from zero to four cards and obtain replacements from the dealer. If the deck runs out during this process, the cards already discarded are shuffled to a make new deck from which replacement cards can be dealt to the remaining player(s).

After everyone has had a chance to exchange there is a second betting round beginning with the player to dealer’s left. As usual, it is possible just to check, but if anyone wishes to bet, the minimum is twice the amount of the final bet in the first betting round (twice the big blind if no one raised in the first round).

In the showdown, each surviving player discards two cards and keeps five. The best five-card poker hand wins the pot.

Variant: this game is often played with an ante placed by all players, in addition to the small and large blinds.

Rules of in Dutch are available on the Pokeren Online site.

32-Card Poker

Sometimes known as Stripped Deck Poker, this version of Five Card Draw is popular in Southern Europe. The 32-card deck consists of cards from Ace (high) to Seven (low) in each suit. The main differences from normal Five Card Draw are as follows:

  • Because a flush is harder to make than with a 52-card pack, it ranks above a full house and below four of a kind.
  • When used as a low card, Ace is adjacent to Seven, so A-7-8-9-10 is a low straight (or straight flush).
  • There is a ranking of suits, usually hearts (highest), diamonds, clubs, spades (lowest). When hands are otherwise equal, the suit of the highest card in the combination is compared. For example when two players have equal pairs with equal kickers, the pair containing the heart will win (the suits of the kickers don’t count).
  • The maximum number of players is five: usually there are four players or fewer.


The four-player versions of Italian Poker and are forms of 32-card poker with some special rules.

The following variant is found in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and perhaps other places. A player who asks to exchange four cards discards four and is first dealt three cards face down to look at. Then the dealer deals one card face up and one face down, and the player must choose which of these to take as the fourth card. If the face up card is chosen the face down card is discarded unseen.

Rules of Three Card Poker

The rules of three card poker are incredibly simple, whether youвЂve ever played at a poker table or not. Now that you are familiar with the hands in three card poker, the next step is to understand the rules and bets you can make once you start playing.

The player will initially make an Ante and/or a Pair Plus bet. Just to recap, the Ante is the bet that your hand will beat the dealerвЂs, and the Pair Plus bet is where you bet that your hand will include a pair or higher.


Once a bet is made, the dealer will give each participating player and himself three cards. The dealerвЂs cards are dealt face down.

If the player made an Ante bet, then he must either fold or raise. If the player folds then he forfeits his Ante wager. If the player raises, the he must make an additional Play bet, equal to that of his Ante bet.

After this, the dealer will turn over their cards. The dealer needs a queen high or better to qualify. If the dealer does not qualify then the player will win even money on the Ante bet and the Play bet will push (a tie).


If the dealer does qualify then the playerвЂs hand will be compared to that of the dealerвЂs hand and the higher hand wins. If the player has the higher poker hand, then the Ante and Play will both pay even money.

If the dealer has the higher poker hand, then the Ante and Play will both lose. On the other hand, it the player and dealer tie, then the Ante and Play bets will push, which means you get to keep your bets!

The Pair Plus wager is based on whether your three-card hand consists of a pair or better. For this bet, the hand the dealer qualifies does not matter. If your hand has a pair or better, you win. If your hand does not consist of a pair or better, you lose.


If the player made the Ante bet and has a straight or higher, then the player will win the Ante Bet, regardless of the value of the dealerвЂs hand. The Pair Plus bet will pay based on the poker value of the playerвЂs hand.

Five Card Draw with a Bug

To increase the proportion of good hands, some players add a joker, to make a deck of 53 cards. The joker is not a true wild card but a bug: the holder can use it to represent an ace, or to complete a straight or flush. So for example 9-9-7-7-joker is not a full house but two pairs with an ace kicker.

In this game the highest hand is five aces: A-A-A-A-joker. This beats a straight flush.

When used in a flush the joker represents the highest card not already present, so for example A-K-J-4-2 beats A-10-9-8-joker because the bug represents the K not a second ace.

The bug can be added to any of the above versions: California (Guts) Draw, Jacks or Better or .


A poker game does not go without betting. In many poker games, you must pay an ‘ante’ in order to be dealt cards. Following the ante, bring in bets and all following bets are put in the pot in the middle of the table. During gameplay in poker, when it is your turn to bet you have three options:

  • Call.В You may call by betting the amount wagered by a previous player. For example, if you bet 5 cents and another player raises the bet amount to a dime (raises 5 cents), you may call on your turn by paying the pot 5 cents, thus matching the 10 cent bet amount.
  • Raise.В You may raise by first betting the amount equal to the current wager and then bet more. This increases the wager or bet amount on the hand which other players must match if they wish to remain in the game.
  • Fold.В You may fold by laying down your cards and not betting. You do not have to put money in the pot but you do sit out on that hand. You forfeit any money wagered and have no opportunity to win the pot.

Betting rounds continue until all players have called, folded, or raised. If a player raises, once the raise has been called by all remaining players, and there was no other raise, the betting round ends.

7-Card Stud — Game Setup

The first thing you need to do (if you’re playing 7 Card Stud for your home game) is get everyone at your table some chips.

You’ll need a combination of chips that will allow for a big bet, small bet and an ante.В The size of the bets will dictate how large your game will play.

A big bet is typically twice the size of the small bet with the ante around 10% of the big bet.В Here’s a chart of buy-ins and bets to give you some ideas.

Note: The buy-in amounts are the minimum amounts you would want to buy in for the stakes. If you want to be sure to have lots of chips, play with smaller stakes for the buy in — for example, use the bets for a $10 game and buy in for $20:

Recommended Buy-inBig BetSmall BetAnte

Once you all have chips one player needs to grab the deck and shuffle up. It doesn’t matter who starts as the dealer in a Stud game.

The Hand Ranking

Although 3 Card Poker is based on Stud Poker, the odds and hand rankings are slightly different. You will notice that there are fewer straights compared to the flushes. Thus, the straight rank is on a higher rank than flushes. Here is the hierarchical hand ranking in 3 cards Poker that you need to know.

⦁ Straight Flush; three cards are of the suit and appear in order like 5, 6, 7 of spades.
Three of a Kind; all player cards have the same number of face value.⦁ Straight; player’s three cards (jack, queen and King) fall in a sequential order
Flush; all the player’s three cards are of the same suit.⦁ Pair; two of the player’s cards have the same face value or numbers.
High Card; features none p the above mentioned. In this case, the strength of your hand value of the player’s highest hand.

Antes, bring-in and betting

While the blinds are the forced bets in Texas hold’em and Omaha poker, antes are the forced bets placed by every player before receiving any cards. As an example, let’s think of a $10/$20 seven-card stud game with an ante of $1 and a bring-in of $5.

Each player wanting to be dealt in to receive a hand would have to post the $1 ante, creating a pot worth competing for. The first three cards are then dealt to each player before it is determined that one player must post the bring-in. In seven-card stud, the player with the lowest-ranking door card would have to post the $5 bring-in at minimum, but this person does have the option to «complete» the bet by posting $10 (the small limit of the game). From there, the betting continues clockwise around the table, with each player having the option to call, raise or fold. In the case that the first player who brought in only posts the bring-in, other players may have the option of completing the bet to $10 as the first raise. Once the betting is complete, every player left in the hand is dealt a fourth card, referred to as fourth street.

In games that involve a button that dictates where the action starts, those differ from seven-card stud. In seven-card stud, the first player to act from fourth street on is the player displaying the highest-ranking hand.

Before proceeding past third street, though, it is important to have solid hand selection. An example of good starting hands in seven-card stud would include the following:


Seven-card stud is most often played as a limit game. Sticking with the same example of our $10/$20 seven-card stud game, the limits of betting on third and fourth street would be the smaller limit, or $10 in this case. On fifth, sixth and seventh street, the limits increase to $20.


Drawing more than three cards

Some allow a player to discard and draw four cards if the fifth card is an ace. Some allow a player to discard four or all five cards unconditionally. With these rules the likelihood of running out of cards during the draw process is increased. In practice, however, the difference is small since it is rarely if ever worthwhile to draw more than three cards.


Some prefer to begin the pot with a blind bet instead of or in addition to the ante. In the first betting round, the player to dealer’s left is forced to bet an agreed amount, irrespective of his cards. The next player to the left may be permitted to straddle by placing a blind bet of twice this amount, the next player to re-straddle and so on. Then the betting round begins with the player to the left of the player who placed the largest blind bet. Players may fold, call or raise. If all others call or fold, the player who placed the largest blind bet may check or raise. See the page for further details.

No Unbeatable Hand

In standard poker a Royal Flush (A-K-Q-J-10 of one suit) cannot be beaten. Even if you introduce suit ranking, the Royal Flush in the highest suit is unbeatable. In some regions, it is considered unsatisfactory to have any hand that is guaranteed to be unbeaten — there should always be a risk. There are several solutions to this.

In Italy this is achieved by the rule «La minima batte la massima, la massima batte la media e la media batte la minima» («the minimum beats the maximum, the maximum beats the medium and the medium beats the minimum»). A minimum straight flush is the lowest that can be made with the deck in use. Normally they play with a stripped deck so for example with 40 cards the minimum straight flush would be A-5-6-7-8 of a suit. A maximum straight flush is 10-J-Q-K-A of a suit. All other straight flushes are medium. If two players have medium straight flushes then the one with higher ranked cards wins as usual. Also as usual a maximum straight flush beats a medium one, and a medium straight flush beats a minimum one. But if a minimum straight flush comes up against a maximum straight flush, the minimum beats the maximum. In the very rare case where three players hold a straight flush, one minimum, one medium and one maximum, the pot is split between them. See for example .

In Greece, where hearts is the highest suit, A-K-Q-J-10 is called an Imperial Flush, and it is beaten only by four of a kind of the lowest rank in the deck — for example 6-6-6-6 if playing with 36 cards. Again, in very rare cases there could also be a hand in the showdown that beats the four of a kind but is lower than the Imperial Flush, in which case the pot would be split.

The Final Betting Round Seventh Street

When the sixth street betting round is complete, the dealer deals one final card FACE DOWN to every player. Again, the dealer starts at the first player with cards to their left, and moves on clockwise around the table.

The player with the highest-ranked show cards in the previous betting round is the first to act in this betting round as well. The final card having been dealt face down does not affect the value of the four show cards.

The final betting round uses the big betting limit.


Once the final betting round has been completed, the players still in the hand enter into the showdown. In the showdown, each player makes the best five card hand possible out of their own seven cards.

The remaining two cards are «dead» and have no value towards the hand at all. They are never used to evaluate the strength of a hand.

5-Card Draw — Rules of the Deal

Once all players have anted (or the blinds have been paid), the dealer deals every player (starting on his left) five cards face down.В After all players receive their five cards, the first betting round ensues.

If you’re playing with blinds the betting will start with the player to the left of the big blind (same as Hold’em). If you’re playing with antes the betting must start with the player to the left of the dealer.

In an ante game like this the first player to act is allowed to check (meaning they are not forced to bet and can choose to stay in the hand for free).В For more information on the rules and specifics of how a betting round functions, head to .

The Showdown

In theory this is simple.

  • If all players except one have folded there is no showdown. The single surviving player simply takes the pot without having to show any cards.
  • If there is more than one active player at the end, they all show their cards to everyone, and the holder of the best hand (according to the hand ranking explained above) wins the whole pot.
  • If two or more active players turn out to have equally good hands, beating all the others, they share the contents of the pot equally between them.

If there are side pots, because some players were «all in», these are settled in reverse order, beginning with the one that was created most recently.

In practice some complications can arise. For a more detailed discussion, including the treatment of split pots, see the showdown section of the poker betting page. This page also deals procedures for in high-low and other split pot variants.

Some players are reluctant to be the first to show their cards: they would prefer to wait to see the other players’ hands and then show their own cards only if they can win. To avoid a stalemate between such players, the rule is that the player who was the last to take positive action (bet or raise) in the final betting round must show first, followed by the other active players in clockwise order. If everyone checked in the last betting round, the first active player to the left of the dealer seat shows first. Despite this rule, to speed up the game, active players are encouraged to show their cards immediately rather than waiting for their turn.

In a showdown, players showing a hand must expose the whole of their hand. It is not sufficient to show just enough cards to prove that one has a good enough hand to win, and not just the five cards that are being used to make one’s best hand. In the showdown, players must show all the cards they were dealt, all at once, so that everyone at the table can see what they have.

Players who expose their hands quite often also announce what type of hand they have, but in some cases a player may overlook some combination and announce a weaker hand than he or she really has. This would be unlikely to happen in a straightforward game with five-card hands, but in variants where players select the best hand from seven or more cards, or where wild cards are involved, it is not uncommon for some better possibility to be missed. In formal poker games the usual rule is that «the cards speak for themselves«. This means that when a player’s hand is exposed at the showdown, it counts as the best five-card hand that can be made from it, even if the owner of the hand does not find it. It is the duty of the dealer or any other player who notices to point out what the best hand is, and it is treated as such, irrespective of how the owner described it. In some private games, however, the reverse rule is used: that players must declare what their hand is, and provided that the hand they declare can be made from the cards shown, that is how it is treated even if a better hand was available.

Some players prefer to muck (discard) their cards without showing them when they can see that they are beaten. This is normal practice, but the traditional rule is that any player who was dealt a hand, even a player who has folded, has the right to see the hand of any player who was involved in the showdown. The purpose of the rule is primarily to enable collusion between players to be exposed, and it is considered poor etiquette to insist on the right to see a discarded hand without good reason. In particular a player should not continually demand to see another player’s hand so as to analyse that player’s style of play or simply to irritate the player, and the winner of the pot should not ask to see a loser’s hand. Formal poker games often have the rule that the right to see discarded hands at showdown can be revoked if overused by a player.

How to Play 7-Card Stud

The game of 7 Card Stud can be played with 2-8 players at a table. The goal in Stud is the same as any other poker variation: win as many chips as you can, one pot at a time.

Stud has a lot of little rules and a few quirks but it’s a simple game at its core. 7-Card Stud rules can be broken up into four sections:

  • Setup
  • The Bring
  • Betting Rounds
  • Showdown

If you’ve just read the article, you’ll notice that Stud has one more section. For players familiar to the rules and game play of a community-card game, the only completely new concept you’ll learn in this article will be «the bring.»

Watch our introductory 7-Card Stud video below for a quick run through the basics of 7 Card Stud rules.

Watch and Learn How to Play 7-Card Stud


This Chinese gambling game is popular in Hong Kong and parts of Southeast Asia and is also played to some extent in the USA. It is known by several different names.

  • In Cantonese it is called Sap Sam Cheung (十三張), which means 13 cards, and in Vietnamese it is known by the similar name Xập Xám Chướng
  • In Chinese, it is also sometimes called Luosong Pai Jiu (羅宋牌九), which I think means Russian Pai Gow. The game is indeed related to Pai Gow.
  • In the USA it is often known as Chinese Poker or sometimes Russian Poker, but note that some people also use the name Chinese Poker to refer to the climbing game Big Two. In Hawaii it is called Pepito.
  • In the Phillipines it is known as Pusoy, again not to be confused with Pusoy Dos, which is Big Two. Another name sometimes used is Good, Better, Best, referring to the three hands of a player.

The aim is to arrange your 13 cards into three poker hands — two of five cards and one of three cards — which will beat the corresponding poker hands made by the other players.

A recent development is , in which after the first five cards, hands are built face up one card at a time.

Special Hands

It is possible to play using just the payments described above. However, many players add two further features to the stakes: increased payments for certain hands, and some special 13-card hands that win automatically. If you are playing with these it is important to agree in advance exactly which ones are allowed and how much each is worth.

A typical scale of increased payments is as follows:

  • If you win the front hand with three of a kind, you receive 3 units instead of 1 for that hand.
  • If you win the middle hand with a full house, you receive 2 units instead of 1 for that hand.
  • If you win the back (or middle) hand with 4 of a kind, you receive 4 units instead of 1.
  • If you win the back (or middle) hand with a royal flush or straight flush you win 5 units instead of 1.

These bonuses only count for you for hands that you win. For example if A and B each have a 3 of a kind in front, but B’s is higher, A will pay B 3 units for it. A’s 3 of a kind will still count against the other players if it wins.

Example: A has 6-6-6, 4-4-4-9-9, K-K-K-8-8 and B has Q-Q-7, J-J-J-2-2, 5-5-5-5-A. A wins 3 for the front hand, but B wins 2 for the middle and 4 for the back, so altogether A pays 3 units to B.

When special hands are allowed, the following 13-card hands win automatically against any ordinary hand, if declared before the hands are exposed. When two special hands come up against each other, the higher wins the full specified amount and the lower loses its value (though it can still win against the other players). After the special hands have been dealt with, the remaining players expose their cards and settle up among themselves in the normal way. A typical schedule of special hands, in ascending order, is:

  • Six pairs: a hand with six pairs and one odd card. When two players have six pair hands, compare the highest pair; if the highest pairs are equal compare the second highest pair, and so on. Win 3 units.
  • Three straights: the back and middle hands are five card straights and the front hand is a three card straight (i.e. three cards of consecutive rank). If two players have three straights, compare the highest (back) straights first, then if these are equal the middle straights, and finally, if all else is equal, the front straight. Win 3 units.
  • Three flushes: the back and middle hands are flushes, and the front hand is a three-card flush (three cards of one suit). If two players have this, the player with the better back hand wins; if tied the better middle hand; if those are also tied, the better front hand. Win 3 units.
  • Complete straight: the hand has one card of each rank: A-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-J-Q-K. Suits can be mixed. If two players have this, they are tied. Win 13 units.

A player who has a special hand can choose not to declare it, but instead to set three hands of 5, 5 and 3 cards in the normal way. This loses the right to an automatic win, but it may occasionally be possible to win more units in the normal settlement, when extra payments can be won.

Five Card Draw — Jacks or Better

This game, also known as Jack Pots, a hand at least as good as a pair of jacks is required to open the betting. It is probably the most popular version of Five Card Draw Poker. There should be at least four players and preferably more, otherwise most of the hands will be thrown in without play. Opinions on the merits of this game have varied widely over the years. For example:

«The addition of jack pots has probably done more to injure Poker than the trump signal has injured Whist … the whole system has become a nuisance, and has destroyed one of the finest points in the game of Poker — the liberty of personal judgement as to every counter put into the pool, except the blind.» (R.F.Foster: Handbook to the Card Games, 1897).
«It is essential for the stability of the game that a player have jacks or better when opening. If this rule is not enforced and a player opens the pot any time he feels like it, one of the greatest factors of skill in the game is automatically eliminated — which depends on knowing that the opener holds at least a pair of jacks.» (J.Scarne: Scarne on Cards, 1949).

The ante and deal are as in Five Card Draw, but in the first betting round, if no one has yet bet, a player who does not have a pair of jacks or better is obliged to pass. Once a player has opened the betting, others are free to call or raise irrespective of what they hold.

Note that the opener does not actually have to hold jacks, or cards higher than jacks. Any hand that beats a pair of tens is sufficient — for example you could open with 5-5-3-3-6 (two pairs) but not with 10-10-A-K-Q.

The draw is the same as in Five Card Draw, except that if the player who opened the betting discards cards that formed part of the qualification to open, this must be announced and the discarded cards kept separate from the cards discarded by other players. This is known as splitting openers. For example a player might discard the Q from Q-Q-10-7-6 in the hope of getting a flush, especially if some of the other players seemed to have good hands.

The second round of betting and the showdown are as in Five Card Draw. When the pot is awarded, the player who split openers must show the discarded card(s) to prove that the opening requirement was satisfied.

If no one has a good enough hand to open (or if those that do choose not to open), then the cards are thrown in and it is the next player’s turn to deal.

If the opener wins the pot, enough of the opener’s hand must be shown to prove that the opener really has jacks or better. This applies even if all the other players fold on the opener’s bet. If the opener cannot show a qualifying hand, the opener’s hand is dead. The opener cannot win the pot. If there was a showdown, the best of the other hands wins the pot. If everyone else has folded the pool remains for the next deal.

Some play progressive jackpots: if no one opens the minimum requirement for the next deal is increased to a pair of queens, and if this hand too is thrown in then kings and then aces, then back to kings, queens, jacks and so on.

The Showdown

Active players show their hands in clockwise order, beginning with the player who was the last to bet or raise in the final betting round. If everyone checked in the final betting round, the first active player to the left of the dealer seat is the first to show. See the for further details.

Each player makes the best possible five-card poker hand from the seven available cards: the player’s two hole cards and the five face-up table cards, which are known as the board. This can be in any combination: both hole cards with three from the board, one hole card with four from the board, or just the board cards without using the hole cards at all, which is known as playing the board.

Note that:

  • For a hand to be considered for winning the pot, the player must show both hole cards, even if only one or neither of them is used to make the best hand.
  • The cards speak for themselves: the best hand is entitled to win the pot if shown, even if the owner does not realise that it is the best hand.
  • As always, poker hands consist of just five cards. The two unused cards have no bearing on whether one hand is better than another.

Example. On the board is A-Q-Q-9-6. Player A has K-9; player B has 9-6; player C has 9-3. This is a three-way tie, since all three players have Q-Q-9-9-A as their best hand. The pot is split equally between A, B and C.

Official Rules of Tournament Poker from TDA

Like most other games and sports, poker does have an organization managing its rules.В  This is the professional Tournament Directors Association В (also often called the Poker TDA.


Founded in 2001 by poker players Matt Savage, Linda Johnson, Jan Fisher and David Lamb to standardize the rules of poker, the TDA has grown in leaps and bounds since.

Today it has more than 2,500 members in 63 countries around the world. There are managers of large poker rooms, circuits, poker leagues or independent tournaments.

They meet every two years at the «Poker TDA Summit» to review the rules and put in place new reforms. Note that WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel sits on the board of directors.

The largest poker regulator internationally has released the latest version of its rules and good practices for organizers (and players), in October 2017.

You can read the full Poker Tournament Rules document on their website. These rules are used in most major tournaments around the world.

Official Poker Rules from International Poker Federation FIDPA

As poker has truly become an international game over the past decade there has been growing interest in building a consistent, worldwide set of rules for poker tournaments and games.


Spearheaded by famed poker professional Marcel Luske of the Netherlands, the International Poker Federation (FIDPA) has done just that and compiled a set of rules that, if adopted internationally, would avoid the vast majority of disputes that can be seen in casinos or poker tournaments around the world.В 

A «global» poker player the «Flying Dutchman» has faced the same problem as many poker players who travel the world: having to adapt to the different rules of each of his destinations, which tends to increase the risks of misunderstanding and conflict.

The founding idea of FIDPA is as simple as it is effective: adopting a set of international rules. These 81 rules, , were established in 2008.

«Whether you play Bellagio, Wynn or anywhere in the world, it’s always the same, the rules are the house rules,» says Luske. «As a result, players must constantly adapt to different rules.

«The problem is not that these rules are complicated but the total lack of coherence. If the rules were the same everywhere in the world, dealers and supervisors could easily work anywhere without feeling destabilized and without the need for training in every new institution.»

National Organizations Join the Cause

Since poker laws differ in many countries the universal rules still must be somewhat adapted. Numerous national associations have already joined FIDPA, notably in the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Italy, Denmark, Finland, the United States and other European countries.

Among the partners approved by FIDPA, for example, are the Bellagio Las Vegas (which has used FIDPA rules 5 years), the Circus Group, the Australian Poker League (APL) and the Holland Casino.

«As a player,» Luske adds, «I want to avoid conflicts with the casino as much as possible and I want to gain credibility. It’s not a question of money, but of principle, respect and common sense.»В 

See the updated International Rules of Poker here:В 

7-Card Stud — Which Hand Wins

Here are the rules for evaluating a winning hand in 7 Card Stud:

  • The poker hand ranking order can be found . (there will be another link at the bottom of this page) There are no exceptions to this ordering, a flush always beats a straight, and three of a kind always beats two pair.
  • There are no other hands used in Stud than the hands listed in this chart. For example, having three pairs is actually only «two pair» with the highest valued two pairs making your hand.
  • Poker hands must be exactly five cards and only those five cards are used to evaluate the winning hand. For example:

    • if the player holds 2 J Q K A 10 9, the player’s best hand is a straight: 10 J Q K A
  • If all remaining players have nothing, no pair or anything stronger, the winning hand is the hand with the highest valued single card. meaning:

    • A 3 4 6 7 is a better hand than K Q J 9 8
    • A J 9 8 6 is a better hand than A J 9 8 2
  • Suits are never used to evaluate the strength of a hand. If two players have the exact same hand (disregarding the suits of the cards), the pot is split between the players.

Once you have discerned the winning hand, that player is awarded the pot. After the pot has been shipped, all players ante and are dealt their next hand. Unless you have a professional dealer, typically the role of dealer will rotate around the table, although it is not necessary for Stud.

Having one player as the dealer for the entire duration of the game will give no player an advantage or disadvantage during the game.

Five Card Stud High-Low with a Buy

This home poker variant is exactly like Five Card Stud High-Low except that after the fifth card is dealt, each player in turn has the opportunity to «buy» a card. The player discards one card and the dealer deals a replacement card, face up if the discarded card was face up but face down if the discarded card was face down. A player who buys a card must pay an agreed amount to the pot — for example one large bet. After everyone has had a chance to buy, the final betting round, the declaration and the showdown follow.

This game can be played with two rounds of buying, the second round being more expensive than the first.


Three Card Poker was invented in England in the mid 1990’s by Derek Webb. It was originally called Casino Brag, since it was inspired by 3-card Brag, adapted to create a casino game in which players bet against the house rather than against each other. The name Three Card Poker was adopted when this game was introduced to America; it is sometimes also known as Tri Poker. The game was initially marketed to casinos by Derek Webb’s organisation Prime Table Games, but in 1999 the rights to the game were acquired by Shuffle Master, later renamed SHFL Entertainment, Inc. In 2012 SHFL took steps to emphasise their ownership of the game by registering the name of the ‘Pair Plus’ side bet as a service mark (trade mark).

An older game, also called Three Card Poker, is described in several 20th century American card game books. This was a Draw Poker game played with three-card rather than five-card hands, where players bet against each other in normal poker style.

Note. Gambling can be dangerously addictive. You can find information and advice on our page.

Hand probabilities and multiple decks

The ranking order of poker hands corresponds to their probability of occurring in straight poker, where five cards are dealt from a 52-card deck, with no wild cards and no opportunity to use extra cards to improve a hand. The rarer a hand the higher it ranks.

This is neither an essential nor an original feature of poker, and it ceases to be true when wild cards are introduced. In fact, with a large number of wild cards, it is almost inevitable that the higher hand types will be the commoner, not rarer, since wild cards will be used to help make the most valuable type of hand from the available cards.

Mark Brader has provided showing the frequency of each poker hand type when five cards are dealt from a 52-card deck, and also showing how these probabilities would change if multiple decks were used.

Ranking of Poker Hands

It is of course necessary to know which hands beat which. A poker hand always consists of five cards. Even though in some variants you may have more than five cards to choose from, you select the five cards that make the best hand, and for the purpose of comparing hands any other cards are irrelevant.

The ranking of hands from high to low in standard poker is as follows.

Straight Flush
Five consecutive cards of the same suit. Ace can be counted as high to make the highest type of Straight Flush, which is A-K-Q-J-10 of a suit, sometimes known as a Royal Flush. Ace can be low to make (5-4-3-2-A), but not high and low at the same time (for example 2-A-K-Q-J is not valid).
Four of a Kind
Four cards of the same rank and one other card, such as 9-9-9-9-Q. Four of a kind are sometimes known as quads or in some non-English speaking countries as a poker. The odd card — the queen in the example — is called the kicker.
Full House
Three cards of the same rank plus a pair of cards of another rank, such as 5-5-5-K-K, which would be described as «fives full of kings». A full house is sometimes known as a boat.
A flush consists of five cards of the same suit (not all consecutive, otherwise it would be a straight flush).
Five cards of consecutive ranks, not all of the same suit. The highest is A-K-Q-J-10 and an Ace can instead be counted as low to make the lowest straight 5-4-3-2-A, which is sometimes called a wheel. An Ace cannot be in the interior of a straight — for example 4-3-2-A-K is not a straight.
Three of a Kind
Three cards of the same rank and two cards of different ranks — for example 7-7-7-10-6. This is sometimes known as a triplet or trips.
Two Pair
Two cards of one rank, two cards of a second rank and one card of a third rank (the kicker) — for example J-J-3-3-8.
Two cards of equal rank and three cards of different ranks — for example Q-Q-A-8-7.
A hand which does not fit any of the categories above, commonly known as High Card or sometimes No Pair. That is: five cards of different ranks, not all consecutive and not all the same suit.

Any hand of a higher type beats any hand of a lower type. When comparing two hands of the same type, the ranking is determined by
the ranks of the individual cards. The most numerous rank of cards
in each hand (the quad, the triplet in a full house or trips, otherwise the pair if any) is compared first; if these are equal, any less
numerous ranks are compared. When two ranks are equally numerous,
the highest-ranking cards are compared before the others.

Note that in
poker the four suits are all equal, and that poker hands consist of five cards only. Therefore if two players can make five-card hands that are equal apart from the suits of the cards, there is a tie and if necessary they share the winnings equally.


  • 4-4-4-7-7 beats 2-2-2-K-K because 4 is higher than 2, and 4-4-4-3-2 beats 2-2-2-A-K for the same reason.
  • 5-5-5-9-9 beats 5-5-5-6-6 (these two hands could appear together in a game with shared cards or wild cards).
  • K-K-2-2-A beats 7-7-3-3-Q, because the higher-ranking pairs are
    compared first and kings beat 7’s.
  • 7-7-3-3-Q beats 7-7-2-2-A because
    the higher-ranking pairs are equal, and the 3’s beat the 2’s.
  • A-K-8-3-2
    beats A-K-7-6-5, because 8 is higher than 7, the highest two cards in each hand being equal.
  • 6-5-4-3-2 beats 5-4-3-2-A, because the ace must be low to make the straight.

The hand ranking above applies to standard poker. There are modifications to this in certain types of poker variant, for example:

  • games with wild cards — cards that can be used to represent a card of any suit or rank;
  • low poker or lowball games, in which the lowest ranking hand wins — also in the low component of high-low games in which the highest and lowest hands share the pot;
  • games with stripped decks — decks of less than 52 cards obtained by removing the lowest card.

The page gives further details.

Basic 5-Card Draw Strategy

One trap lesser-skilled 5-card draw players often fall into is playing far too many hands, particularly hands drawing to a straight or flush. In many cases, the saying “tight is right” applies when it comes to starting hand selection in 5-card draw.

As in games with community cards, your position in relation to the button is also important in 5-card draw poker. The closer to the button you are, the wider the range of hands you can play profitably. Regardless of your position, you should almost always enter the pot with a raise because limping in usually results in several other players limping behind, which in turn means you need a much stronger hand to win the pot.

Play tight from early positions and raise with hands such as aces or kings. As your position improves, you can add other high pairs such as queens, jacks, tens, and nines, so long as the latter has a good kicker to back it up.

Those of you fortunate enough to have been dealt two pair or three-of-a-kind should always come out raising whether you’re under the gun or on the button. Meanwhile be wary of holdings such as four to a straight or flush, because these are hands with which some players bleed away their bankroll. With one card to come, you’re around a 4-to-1 underdog to hit your hand, and often you won’t have the correct pot odds to attempt filling your straight or flush, particularly in a short-handed game.

All for One and One for All

In this game the drawing and betting can continue until the deck is all but exhausted.

Antes are placed and five cards are dealt face down to each player. There is a betting round.

Now there is a drawing round. Each active player, beginning to dealer’s left, can either:

  1. stand pat, or
  2. discard one card face down and receive a replacement, or
  3. discard all five cards face down and receive a new five-card hand.

The drawing round is followed by another betting round.

This process is repeated: there is a series of drawing rounds, each begun by the player to the left of the one who began the previous drawing round. Each drawing round is followed by a betting round.

There are restrictions to ensure that the cards do not run out:

  1. A player is not allowed to exchange all five cards if this would not leave enough cards for all remaining active players in the current drawing round to exchange one.
  2. If after a betting round there are fewer cards remaining in the deck than there are active players, there is no more drawing, but a showdown in which the highest hand wins the pot.


Poker games use standard 52 card decks, however, players may choose to play variants which include Jokers (as wild cards). The cards are ranked in poker, from high to low: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. In some poker games, aces are the lowest card, not the high card. In a deck of cards, there are four suits: spades, diamonds, hearts, and clubs. In a standard poker game, the suits are not ranked. However, “hands” are ranked. Your hand is the five cards you hold at the time of showdown, which happens after all the betting is finished and players show their cards to determine who wins the pot. Typically, the person with the highest ranking hand wins, although in Lowball games low hand wins. In the event of a tie, the pot is split.

To determine the highest ranking hand, follow this guide:

5-Card Stud Rules Game Play

Online poker has resurrected nearly every form of poker considered near extinction but one game that’s still struggling to find a following, though, is Five-Card Stud.

While the game is still trying to find its niche online it is spread by a few sites and very much worth playing.

Here are the official rules to 5-Card Stud poker and a simple strategy guide so you can get started playing the game for free online with confidence.

5-Card Stud — Ante Up and Deal

Prior to the deal in Five-Card Stud every player posts an ante.В The first two cards are then dealt — one face down and one up.

The player with the lowest up-card showing must make a forced bet known as «the bring-in.»В This bet is typically half the size of the small bet but sometimes is a custom amount based on the betting limits.


Note: A completion is not a raise.

The bring-in player also has the option to complete the bet to the size of the small bet. After the bring-in player acts, action continues clockwise around the table.

If the bring-in player does not complete the bet the next player has the option to complete the bet.

Note: a completion is not a raise. Once the bet has been completed raises occur in the small bet amount.В Action continues around the table until all bets are equal.

5-Card Stud: Third Street to the River

After action is completed on second street, a second upcard is dealt.В Betting on third street begins with the player showing the highest hand and continues around the table.

In the event more than one player has the high hand action begins with the player closest to the stud button.

Betting action continues in the small bet amount on third street. Note: an open pair does not incur a double bet like in Seven-Card Stud High.

Once third-street betting is completed, a third upcard is dealt with action beginning with the high hand. Bets from fourth street forward are in the double bet amount.

After fourth-street betting is completed a final upcard is dealt and the final betting round begins with the high hand.

Once betting action is completed players showdown with the best five-card hand taking the pot.

General 5-Card Stud Strategy Tips

Five-Card Stud is a game of pairs and high cards. You want to make sure your starting hand strategy reflects this.


Some quick takeaways to remember:

  • Any pair is going to be playable on second street.
  • Two cards that are higher than your opponents upcards are strong starters
  • A hole card that’s higher than your opponents’ upcards is good for seeing past second street
  • If your upcard is higher than your opponent’s upcards this is a great hand to complete with to try to take the pot down immediately.
  • Hitting an open pair with this high card will likely result in you taking the hand right away.
  • Pay attention to your opponents’ hands and do your best to remember folded cards. This helps you track outs and put other players on hands.В 
  • If a player has been checking or calling along and just started betting, odds are he’s just paired his hole card. You will see this most often after someone spikes an ace or king on a later street.
  • As in Stud High, beware the paired door card. A good percentage of the time your opponent just hit trips.

Still Looking for a New Following

Five-Card Stud is one of the last «dinosaur» games that has yet to catch a huge following online.В While there are a few sites, like PokerStars, still spreading it operators have yet to find a way to popularize it like Five-Card Draw.

If you jump in a 5-Card Stud game online you’ll find a strong but friendly community that will help you get the most from your playing time. You also stand a good chance of being the first in a new wave of players that love the game and bring it back to prominence!

How to Play 3-Card PokerВ

3 Card Poker uses the name «poker» because it uses the В but it’s more of a casino game than a poker game per se.

You can alter your bets slightly to chase different premium or bonus hands but there’s no poker strategy — eg deciding which cards to keep or draw, making bets against other players — involved.

You simply choose between a couple of bets before the deal, see what 3 cards you receive and hope for the best.

There’s an important exception to the standard poker hand rankings to note, though:

Because it’s harder to make a straight in 3 card poker than a flush, the ranking order for straights and flushes are reversed.

This means:

  • A straight is MORE valuable than a flush in 3 Card Poker

Otherwise there are no changes to the hand rankings except for the elimination of any hands that require more than three cards.

This makes things pretty simple as there are only six possible 3-card poker hands you can make. Here they are ranked from highest to lowest:

  • Straight flush
  • Three of a kind
  • Straight
  • Flush
  • Pair
  • High card

The Game Rules

As aforementioned, 3 Card Poker is easy to play, especially if you understand the different strategies. Nonetheless, before you get started, you need to know the basic rules of playing the game. There are two main types of bets in 3 Card Poker game, the Ante, and Pair Plus. Here is how each bet is played.

Play/ Ante Bet

⦁ The player is dealt with three poker cards.
⦁ They can decide to play against the dealer by placing the ante bet or the pair plus.
⦁ To qualify, the dealer needs a pair of Queens high or better.
The player’s hand values are compared to dealer’s in case the dealer qualifies. The player wins on both the Play and Ante bets if the hand beats the dealers.

Pair Plus Bet

⦁ This game is played against the table of odds only.
⦁ The player wins if the hand has a couple or better.

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