20 years ago, if you organized a poker night for your friends or local rounders, most of them would have brushed up on their 5-card poker strategy to prepare for a night of “dealer’s choice” games: 5-Card Draw, 5-Card Stud, and 7-Card Stud variants … with maybe a few rounds of Texas Holdem or Omaha to mix it up. Ironically, 5-card poker—the mother of all poker games—has almost become obsolete in most casinos and home games these days. However, “back home” in Austin and Houston, Texas, there’s always a dealer’s-choice game in town.
In the future, if there is a demand to learn about other five-card poker variants (e.g., “Jacks or Better, Trips to Win,” deuces wild, Pai Gow, Kansas City lowball (2-7), etc.), I’ll be glad to cover these games in the poker-strategy blog. Just let us know.
Tips for Increasing Your Win-Rate in 5-Card Poker
- Always adhere to bankroll management:
- Fixed-Limit: have approximately 300 to 350 “big bets” in your total allotted “risk capital.”
- Pot-Limit: have approximately 30-50 buy-ins for the respective cash-game level you regularly play.
- Table buy-in recommendations:
- Fixed Limit 5-Card Draw: 15 bets recommended … 9 bets minimum stack size
- Fixed Limit 5-Card Stud: 20 big bets recommended … 13 bets minimum stack size
- Pot Limit or No Limit 5-Card Poker: match the table’s big stack if you have an edge, or buy in for the average to get your feet wet (see 6-max Texas Hold’em Bankroll Management)
- Review bluff success table & villain’s respective pot odds (generally very little fold equity in fixed-limit games)
- Review the information provided on the pages above as well as the Essential Poker Knowledge video sub-series on 5-Card poker.
- Subscribe to the poker-strategy blogs and the Take It Down newsletter to receive periodic updates on various strategy topics pertaining to optimal play.
- All live players should definitely review the free videos on poker tells and non-verbal communication.
- Never watch the board or look at your pocket cards when the cards are being dealt … watch your opponents!
- Against “unknowns,” sit to the left of the player with the most chips.
- Sit right of weak tight-aggressive players (TAGs) and left of LAGs/maniacs.
- 5-Card Poker general rules and overview: 5-card draw and 5-card stud
- Hand Ranking: the basis of almost all poker games you know
- Antes (~10% to 50% of the limit): may also be played with blinds as in Texas Hold ’em
- 2 betting rounds in 5-card draw poker (before and after the draw): general 3-raise limit (i.e., 4 bets per round)
- 4 betting rounds in 5-card stud (2nd to 5th street): general 3-raise limit
- Position in draw poker: player immediately left of dealer or big blind is always first to act
- Position in stud: player with the worst up-hand opens or “completes” in the first round of betting; best up-hand opens all other streets
- Normally 6 players per table in 5-card draw (absolute maximum of 7 – w/potential re-shuffles)
- Online poker resources & recommended reading
General 5-Card Poker Statistics
5-Card Hands: High
|5-Card Hands||# Hands in 5 Cards||Probability (as a %)||Odds Against|
|Royal Flush||4||0.000%||649,739 : 1|
|Straight Flush||36||0.001%||72,192 : 1|
|Four of a Kind||624||0.024%||4,164 : 1|
|Full House||3,744||0.144%||693 : 1|
|Flush||5,108||0.197%||508 : 1|
|Straight||10,200||0.392%||254 : 1|
|Three of a Kind||54,912||2.113%||46 : 1|
|Two Pair||123,552||4.754%||20 : 1|
|One Pair||1,098,240||42.257%||1.4 : 1|
|No Hand||1,302,540||50.118%||0.9953 : 1|
5-Card Hands: Low
|5-Card LOW Hands||# LOW Hands in 5 Cards||Probability (as a %)||Odds Against|
|5-high||1,024||0.039%||2537.1 : 1|
|6-high||5,120||0.197%||506.6 : 1|
|7-high||15,360||0.591%||168.2 : 1|
|8-high||35,840||1.380%||71.5 : 1|
|9-high||71,680||2.760%||35.2 : 1|
|10-high||129,024||4.960%||19.2 : 1|
|Jack-high||215,040||8.270%||11.1 : 1|
|Queen-high||337,920||13.000%||6.7 : 1|
|King-high||506,880||19.500%||4.1 : 1|