Bullet Bob's Best Shot! Casino Game Strategies

Five Card Draw Poker - The Basic Poker Game

For readers who are not very familiar with the card game of Five Card Draw poker, it will help to know something about the game and how it is played, to better understand and play winning video poker.

The First Poker Games

According to authorities who claim to know about these things, our modern game of poker was born in America in the early eighteen hundreds. The game is supposed to have its roots in earlier games played in Europe, the Middle East and China. There, games were played with cards or objects with assigned values that were collected in sequence or in like sets as they are in poker. If this is not completely accurate it really doesn't matter, but it is fairly safe to say that Five Card Draw poker, the simplest and most fundamental of all the poker variations, was the first popular poker game. Except for different versions of Five Card Draw that limit the number of cards a player can draw to improve his or her hand, and other game procedures, here's how it was probably played then and basically how it is played now.

How Draw Poker Is Played

Simply stated, poker is a contest between players that bet something, be it money, plastic poker chips, or whatever they choose, that they will end up with the best poker hand. Let's say it's chips.

Poker Hand RankingsEach session of poker is a series of short games called "rounds" or "hands". The players can play as many rounds or hands of poker as they want. Between rounds in a poker session, players can leave at will and new players can enter the game. I have personally seen private games go non-stop for days.

In social and casino poker, there are quite a few rules of protocol and procedure that can vary from game to game. These involve things like decks with wild card jokers, bet and raise limits, opening bet requirements, play procedures and game etiquette. Since we are covering just the basics of Five Card Draw poker, we can skip over most of this.

To start off a game of Five Card Draw, each player puts a predetermined number of chips into the "pot", or the center of the table. This is called the "ante". The dealer then shuffles a standard fifty-two card deck and deals one card at a time, face down to each player around the table until everyone has five cards.

This is when all the players evaluate their hands and clockwise, starting at the dealer's left, either "check" to the next player, bet, call, raise the bet or "fold" their hands by giving their cards back to the dealer and losing only their antes. After all the bets are down and each remaining player has wagered the same amount of chips in the pot, they can then either play the cards they were dealt, or replace any cards they don't want with new down cards from the dealer.

Anytime during the betting procedure, any player that doesn't want to bet any more chips on his or her chance of winning can fold and get out of the hand. The player loses all bets made to that point.

After all the remaining players have drawn their new cards, there is one more round of betting. The player that made the first bet after the deal, called the "opener", can either bet by putting some chips in the pot, or "check" the betting opportunity to the next player in line. If all the remaining players, in turn, check their bets, the game is over. Everyone then shows their cards and the best hand wins all the chips. If, instead of checking, the opener or any player makes a bet, the other players, again in turn, must match the bet, raise the amount of the bet, or fold. When all the players still in the hand, have the same of amount of chips in the pot, the game is over and the best hand wins.

The winning poker hand is always the highest ranking combination of five cards. These are shown here on the left, in their order of power, with the best hands starting at the top.

Note: In video poker, straights and straight flushes do not have to appear on the screen in sequence order.

Also: Aces can be played both high and low in straight flushes and straights, i.e.: A K Q J 10 is an ace high straight. A 2 3 4 5 is a five high straight.

Five Card Draw - Jacks or Better

In this very popular version of Five Card Draw, the only players that can "open" the betting before the draw are the ones that have been dealt at least a pair of Jacks. After the betting round is opened, anyone can play.

If none of the players are dealt a pair of Jacks or better hand required to open, everyone gives their cards back to the dealer who then deals another hand with the pot increased by the amount of an additional round of antes. This continues until someone has a qualifying opening hand.

This has very little to do with the way Jacks or Better video poker is played, but it does explain a little about the game's origin.

Now let's take a look at the video game of Jacks or Better. The only important parts of this chapter to remember are the drawing to new hands procedure and the final hand descriptions and rankings.

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