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Draw Poker Rules

You call any poker variant “draw poker” if it allows players to replace one or more of their starting cards with new ones. Draw poker games are either standard high (that is, the highest hand wins), lowball (lowest hand wins) or high/low, also called split pot because the money is split between the high and low hands.

Follows are some draw poker games.

Jacks to Open, Trips to Win

Like the 5 Card Draw, it is played by 3-7 players. Antes or forced bets from all players are used instead of blinds. The player with a hand of jacks or better initiates the first betting without having to show their cards. If no hand qualifies, they must deal and ante again.

All 5 Card Draw rules apply except at the showdown. Then only a Three of a Kind or better can win the pot. If there is no eligible winner, all those who did not fold must play again. If there is no showdown, the last active player wins the pot no matter what their hand is.

NOTE: Player who opened the first betting round may keep their qualifying cards on the side as proof that they had the right to open. This is done should the player discard the qualifying J’s or better in the drawing.

California Lowball

As its name implies, this game is a battle for the best lowest hand. Here the best hand is ace-to-five. Blinds are used, not antes. On the second wagering round (after the draw) any player who holds a 7 card or higher and checks loses the right to play for any more money in the pot. This means you must not check with a 7 high hand or better unless you plan to fold when someone makes a bet. Some rules also forbid check-raising in the second round.

Hi/Lo with Declare

This is an interesting draw poker variant. The basic rules are followed, but after the second betting round, a “declaration of intention” takes place. Each player makes a fist and then opens it at the same as time as everyone else does. A hand with a chip in it means the player intends to win half the pot with the highest hand. No chip means they will play for half the pot with the best low hand. Two chips mean they are playing to “scoop” the whole pot.

A player must win what they declared to play for to be eligible for the pot. If you have the best high hand but you declared for the low hand or scoop, you win nothing. If you declared a scoop and you only win one hand and lose or tie with the other, you win nothing. If all players declare for one hand only, the winner takes the entire pot.

These are example poker rules for different draw games.

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