In Draw Poker each player is dealt five cards, face down. The undealt cards are set aside for later use and there is a betting interval. Then each active player in turn may discard one or more cards, if he so wishes, and the dealer gives him replacement cards from the top of the pack. There is another betting interval, followed by a showdown in which the highest hand among the active players wins the pot.
In the first betting interval, the eldest hand (player at dealer’s left) has the first turn to bet. He may either check or bet; and if he checks, each player after him has the same options, until any player opens by making the first bet. Thereafter each player in turn must call, raise, or drop, until the betting interval is over.
In the most popular form of Draw Poker, called JACKPOTS, a player may not open unless he has a pair of jacks or any better hand. In another popular form, called PASS AND OUT (see below), a player may open on anything but in each turn must either bet or drop; there is no checking.
In these forms of Draw Poker, it is customary for each player to ante one white chip (chip of lowest value) before the deal. If no one opens, everyone antes again (the chips from the previous ante remaining in the pot) and there is a new deal by the next dealer in turn.
The draw begins when the bets have been equalized. The dealer picks up the cards left over from the original deal. The first active player to his left may discard one or more cards, naming the number he discards, and the dealer gives him that number of cards from the top of the pack. If a player does not wish to discard and draw, he knocks on the table or otherwise signifies that he is “standing pat,” When the first active player to the dealer’s left has exercised his right to draw; the next active player in turn to the left dis-cards and draws, and so on until the dealer Cor, if he has dropped, theactive player nearest his right) has drawn. Now another betting interval begins.
llie player who opened has the first turn to bet. He may either bet or check. If he checks, the next active player to bis left has the same options, If the opener has dropped, the first active player to his left has the first turn to bet. Once a bet is made, each active player in turn thereafter must either drop, or call, or raise, until the bets are again equalized. When the bets are equalized (or when every player has checked), the second betting interval is ended.
The showdown follows the second betting interval. Every player who has not previously dropped must place all five of his cards face up on the tahle. It is helpful if each player announces the value of his hand as he does so, as by saying “Three sixes,” or “Kings up” (meaning two pairs, the higher of which is a pair of kings), but such announcement is not required. If a player does announce his hand and has more or less than the values he announces, he need not stick by his aanouscement. It is a tradition of Poker that ”the cards speak for themselves.” A player may announce three of a kind when in fact he has a full house, and at any time before the pot is actually gathered in by another player he may correct Ms announcement. A player may not throw away his hand without showing it simply because a previous player has announced a higher-tanking hand; every player who is “in on the call” must expose his full hand face up on the table in the showdown.
When the hands are shown in the showdown, the player showing the highest-ranking poker hand takes in the pot, all thecards acre assembled and reshuffled, the players ante for the next pot, and there is another deal by the next dealer in rotation. ; ,: …… . .
OPTIONAL HANDS. In some Draw Poker games, hands other thaii the standard ones are counted in the showdown. What combinations of cards are so counted depends upon the locality in which the game is played and the preferences of the players. The most popular are Usted here:
A big tiger is a hand in which the king is the highest card, the eight is the lowest card, and there is no pair; a little tiger is a hand in which the eight is the highest card, a three the lowest card, and there is no pair; a big dog is a hand in which an ace is the highest card, a nine is tile lowest card, and there is no pair; and a little dog is a hand in which a seven is the highest card, a deuce is the lowest card, and there is no pair. A big tiger beats a little tiger; either tiger beats a dog; and a big dog beats a little dog. All these hands beat a straight but lose to a flush.
When it is necessary to break a tie as between big tigers* little tigers, big dogs or little dogs, the rules are the same as for breaking ties between any two hands which contain no pair or better.
This is Draw Poker except that there are no minimum requirements for opening the pot and in the showdown the lowest-ranking poker hand* instead of the highest, wins the Pot.
In Lowball, the ace ranks low only, never high. Straights and flushes do not count. The “bicycle”—5-4-3-2-A—is the lowest possible hand, whether it is composed all of one suit or of two or more suits. Since aces are low, a pair of aces ranks lower than a pair of deuces.
Very often Lowball is played in connection with regular Draw Poker. If a deal of Draw Poker is passed out, eldest hand picks up the turn again and Lowball is played. A player may check if he wishes, but if no one bets there is still a showdown after the dealer has spoken the second time, and the lowest-ranking hand takes the antes. This game is sometimes called JACKS BACK.
Other Forms of Draw Poker
BLIND AND STRADDLE, also called BLIND OPENING, BLIND TIGER, TIGER (and by other names, including ENGLISH POKER, AUSTRALIAN POKER, and SOUTH AFRICAN POKER), is a relatively early form of Draw Poker and is still much played.
There is no ante by each player, though the first bet, which will be called the “blind” here is often called the ante, and in many games the dealer antes one chip, which does not count as a bet Before the deal, eldest hand must put up one chip as a blind bet; the player at his left must put up two chips as a blind straddle; and each player in turn thereafter may, but need not, double the last previous blind bet as an additional straddle. Usually a limit is placed on straddles, so that there may be no more than three straddles, and the largest blind bet before the deal is eight chips.
Five cards are then dealt to each player, and the players look at their hands. The player to the left of the last straddler must either place a voluntary bet of double the amount of the last straddle or must drop out; there is no checking, and no player is permitted to stay in the pot Without betting, or calling if there has been a bet previously. When the turn comes around to the ante (eldest hand) again, he may count the amount of his blind opening in figuring how many chips he need put in to call or raise; the same is true of the obligatory straddler and any voluntary straddler.
When all bets have been equalized, there is a draw, and then the active player nearest the left of the dealer must make the first bet in the second betting interval (or, of course, may drop) .When the bets are equalized in this betting interval, there is a showdown,
STRAIGHT DRAW POKER is the game described above as Pass and Out. It is also called PASSOUT, BET OR DROP, and by other names. Each player in turn, in both the first and second betting intervals, must make a bet (anywhere from the minimum of one white chip up to the limit) or must drop. A player need hot have a pair of jacks or better to make a bet of more than one white chip. (In some places, checking is permitted in the second betting interval but not in the first.) This was the earliest form of Draw Poker.