Basic Draw Poker Rules
Draw Poker games are any games where players get at least one opportunity to discard a certain number of cards from their hand in exchange for new cards from the deck. It gives each player the chance to get rid of cards that are doing nothing to help their overall hand and hope for something better. The draw of cards also allows the possibility for other players to guess what kind of hand that player has. A player who draws one card, for example, is probably trying to complete a flush or straight, as opposed to a poker player who draws three cards who is probably only holding a pair, but one can only guess.
The dealer determines how many cards players will be allowed to draw from the deck, and how many opportunities players will have to draw cards from the deck. "Two draws of two cards", for example, means that players will have two opportunities throughout the course of the game to draw as many as two new cards from the deck each time. "One of three, one of one" would mean that on the first draw, each player can draw as many as three new cards from the deck, and on the second draw, as many as one new card. When determining draws of cards, the dealer must make sure that there will be enough cards in the deck should each player choose to exercise their maximum allowed number of cards on each draw.
The sky is the limit with Draw Poker games. The dealer can designate that any card of his or her choice (before looking at his or her hand, of course) is wild. "Twos and Threes are wild", for example. A player dealt a Two or a Three can make that card any of the 52 cards in the deck he or she chooses. The point to bear in mind is that the more wild cards there are, the better a hand will need to be in order to have a fighting chance in the game.
'Deuces Wild' will produce some fairly modest hands, whereas 'Acey Deucey One-Eyed Jacks, and the Man with the Battleaxe' (count 'em, that's 11 wild cards in total, out of a deck of 52 cards), or worse yet 'Pregnant Threes' (TWELVE wild cards altogether) will produce some very competitive hands where, most likely, nothing less than a four of a kind will cut it. In Roll Your Own, each poker player chooses which card in his or her hand will be wild. In Kings and Little Ones, Kings and the smallest card in each player's hand is wild.
Typical poker Draw games involve at least two betting rounds, one before and one after each draw. Two draws would involve three rounds of betting, one before the first draw, one between draws, and one after the second draw. There is always one more betting round than there are draws. Because the dealer can call any stipulation he or she likes, some tables play Draw games with only one betting round, after the draw. However, betting rounds are what keep players "honest" and make sure they are paying their dues in order to stay in the game...you can rarely bluff or scare somebody out of a game with one betting round only.
Pay for Your Draw:
This is a feature that can be added to any Draw poker game. It helps increase the pot and tends to keep hands lower, which is especially helpful in draw games that include wild cards. When the dealer calls this feature, he or she also calls the price of each card drawn. If, for example, the price of each drawn card is a quarter, and a player decides to draw 3 cards at the appropriate point in the game, then that player would have to throw 75 cents into the pot. A maximum draw can still be called by the dealer, but players must now pay for each card that they wish to draw from the deck.
When this feature is added to a Draw poker game, the game is played as normal up until the showdown. At that point, each player lays their hand face-down before them. On the count of three, each player reveals one card of their hand. The highest card showing opens a betting round. On the count of three again, each player reveals a second card from their hand. Best hand showing opens a betting round. This continues for a third and a fourth card, after which the best hand showing opens the fourth and final betting round.
In essence, this adds a Stud element to the Draw game. As this adds four betting rounds to the game, it is best used in poker games that do not have enough betting rounds, such as Pass the Trash. One variation of Roll 'Em is that less than the entire hand is rolled off; for example, the dealer may specify that each player only roll off 3 of the 5 cards in their hand. Yet another variation is Seven Card Draw, where each player rolls off five of their seven cards; the cards that they roll off need not necessarily be ones that they use in their five card hand at the showdown.