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Five Card Poker

People’s opinions often differ when it comes to the history of poker. The likely name of the game is either derived from the French word "poque", or from the German word "pochen" (to knock). However, it is not entirely clear where the game initially originated. One thing is for certain, however! Most players will agree that Five Card Poker was one of the first and most influential versions of the game and has been around for more than 100 years now. Originally the game was only played with a deck of 20 cards where four players placed bets on whichever player had the hand with the highest value. It soon spread to Mississippi riverboats in the United States of America, where gambling was a common pastime during long voyages. Soon after, poker spread to the rest of America, and the 52-card English deck of cards was used for the first time.

What is Five Card Poker and how is it different?

Five Card Poker is often considered to be the most basic version of the game. It used to be a lot more popular than it is today, but you can still find it at many online casinos and poker sites. The biggest difference to more modern takes is its simplicity. Most of the rules and card values stem from either the Five Card Poker game or Stud Poker. As a result, the game won’t feel that unfamiliar to most players. On top of that, it’s an excellent game for beginners as it teaches you the most basic poker strategies and rules. So, let’s explore the classic table game a bit further…

How to play – Five Card Poker rules

The Five Card Poker rules are fairly simple. As with many other poker games, there is a small blind and a big blind. The two players to the left of the dealer start the mandatory betting round by putting down their blinds. Pay close attention to how high these blinds are, as they largely determine how much money you need to bring to the table. If you have a small budget, choose a poker table with low blinds. And, of course, larger budgets can accommodate larger blinds.

Players who don’t place blinds make bets after the cards have been dealt. In this poker variant, each player immediately receives five cards. These are dealt face-down so that you cannot see any of the other players' cards. There are no community cards available in Five Card Poker. 

Place your bets

After all the hands are dealt, the first betting round follows. You can check, call, raise, or fold. Your action depends on how strong your five cards are or whether you want to bluff or not. This always starts with the player that is in the small blind followed by the player to the left and so on. When each player declared their actions the game moves on to the “draw round”.

Each player now indicates whether they want to exchange cards from their hand for new ones. You can replace as many cards this way as you desire. It is even possible to exchange your whole hand in case you don’t like any of your cards or don’t see any potential forming a strong hand with it at all. In case you were lucky and received a really strong hand, it is also possible for a player to not exchange any cards at all – you can just hold on to what you’ve got.

The draw is followed by the second betting round. The minimum bet is now twice that of the first betting round. This means you have to bet at least twice the value of the big blind. Everyone is given another opportunity to check, call, raise, or, of course, fold. Once all bets have been settled, all players remaining in the pot must show their hands. The person with the best hand wins the round. If several players have hands with a similar value and no one winner can be determined, the game ends in a tie and the respective players split the pot amongst themselves. 

Five Card Poker hand rankings

  1. Royal Flush – Five cards in a sequence starting with an ace in the same suit
  2. Straight Flush – Five cards in a sequence, all in the same suit
  3. Four of a Kind – Four cards of the same rank
  4. Full House – Three of a kind with a pair
  5. Flush – Any five cards of the same suit, but not in a sequence
  6. Straight – Five cards in a sequence, but not of the same suit
  7. Three of a Kind – Three cards of the same rank
  8. Two Pair – Two different pairs
  9. Pair – Two cards of the same rank
  10. High Card – When you can't make any of the hands above, the highest card counts

Five Card Poker strategies and other helpful tips

When playing Five Card Poker online, you should always keep your position at the table in mind. This is also true for almost every other poker variation. The worst positions are the blinds, as you are always first to act and have an informational disadvantage compared to the players that are following you. The most lucrative position is the “button”, the player to the right of the blinds. The player is the last to act, which is considered to be an immense advantage. Limit the amounts of hands you are playing in early positions and try to focus on strong hands instead. 

GoodLuckMate’s best tips for playing Five Card Poker:

  • Don't play too many hands. This mistake is often made in Texas Hold'Em as well.
  • Players blindly stare at small pairs and draws, and will quickly lose a significant portion of their stack.
  • Your position is very important. Use it to your advantage.
  • Do you have one pair in your hand? Trade three cards. 
  • Do you have three of a kind in your hand? Trade two cards. 
  • Do you have two pairs in your hand? Trade one card.

Play Five Card Poker at online casinos

You have the choice of playing at a multitude of Five Card Poker casinos and poker sites. Most commonly, the game is played as a cash game variant against other players, but it is also possible to play against the house in RNG games or live dealer games. However, in that case, the rules are adjusted accordingly. On top of that, there are options to play free Five Card Poker online against real players, as well as for playing games with random number generators. At some sites, you can sign up for so-called freerolls, too, where you get a chance of winning real money without having to invest anything yourself. This is especially great if you want to learn how to play Five Card Poker. It is also worth mentioning that most video poker machines generally play like a typical Five Card Poker game.

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