Draw Poker: Variants, History, and Players

Poker is probably the most widely spread card game in the world, but there are many versions of the game out there. Draw poker is the name for a group of poker games that include players receiving hole cards and having the option to discard them and receive other cards instead. Among draw poker games, we explore Five Card Draw, 2-7 Triple Draw2-7 Single Draw, and others.

If you are not familiar with the concepts of draw poker, this guide will teach you how to play, what basic strategy to apply, and how to adjust to draw games, especially if you are coming from a Texas Hold’em background or a Stud poker background.

Draw Poker Variations

2-7 Triple Draw

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Badugi Poker

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Five Card Draw

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History of Draw Poker

It is well known that the roots of the game of poker stem from Europe and Asia, even though the game is considered an American one for the most part. It was in fact draw poker that was first invented and brought to the Americas in the 18th century, where the game was played with an extremely short deck of just 20 cards. Only face cards and aces were used in the original draw games.

Poker’s popularity was not very high in Europe but once it reached America it was adopted by the shady parts of society and the outlaws, who saw the game as one that took guts to play. This made poker both popular and veiled in mystery as games were often organized among people who were feared across the land.

The original form of draw poker did not include any draws, as five cards were simply dealt out to players and betting was done. There was no drawing and the maximum number of players to a hand was four since the 20-card deck could only support so many.

Introduction of Full Deck

It was the introduction of additional cards to the deck in the 1820s that saw the game of draw poker explode in popularity. Fewer people were playing the game and it was clear some changes needed to be made. This is when additional cards were introduced, making it possible for more players to play a hand and for draws to be made.

This is how Five Card Draw was introduced and for the first time, players could make hands like straights and flushes since there were now enough cards in the deck to do so. The popularity of draw poker grew in the wild west and the Mississippi boat casinos that often featured the game on their tables.

During the American Civil War, the game of Five Card Draw with a full deck of cards was commonly played by both the Confederate and the Union soldiers and there are many historic notes of this. Culturally speaking, the game was an important part of the era and it was at this time that draw poker actually made its way into the American culture for years to come.

Draw Poker in the Modern Era

In modern times, draw poker has lost a lot of its mojo, especially after the rise in popularity of games like Stud and Texas Hold’em. However, the earlier World Series of Poker competitions all included Five Card Draw tournaments and in the more recent years games like 2-7 Single Draw and 2-7 Triple Draw made their way into the elite poker tournament world.

While Hold’em has certainly suppressed draw poker in general popularity at the professional circuit, the game of Five Card Draw remains the one that most people learn at a very young age, likely because it appears so easy to learn and is less complex than some other forms of poker.

Top 3 Draw Poker Players

While there is no denying that draw poker is no longer the most attractive form of poker out there, there are still plenty of tournaments and cash games in which good draw games will go a long way. Since draw games are included in some of the mixed games competitions, the top players are all solid at draw poker as well. Here are the three best draw poker players who you may have heard of, even if you were first introduced to them as Texas Hold’em players:

Doyle Brunson

Known as the Godfather of Poker and Texas Dolly, Brunson was born in 1933 and played poker way before it was popular around the world. Often playing in private games in saloons and other unlicensed establishments, Texas Dolly made a living from poker with a group of other players at a very young age.

Many of the games that were played back in the day were in fact draw games, and Doyle Brunson’s first official WSOP bracelet came in a USD 5,000 Deuce to Seven Draw event in 1976. Since then, Doyle continued to compete at the tournament circuit and often played in draw events, with many amounts of cash to his name.

Another reason Doyle remains one of the best draw poker players in the world is the fact that draw games are a popular part of the mixed games played in high-stakes cash games that the veteran frequents, including the big game at Bobby’s Room, where the world’s elite players play on a regular basis.

Phil Ivey

Commonly referred to as the best all-around poker player on the planet, Phil Ivey is a phenomenon who has been playing poker since the early 2000s and beating all the best players from a very young age. While Ivey grew up in an era where Stud and Hold’em were already very popular, he has still managed to get plenty of results in draw poker as well, most notable of which is his 2009 WSOP bracelet in a USD 2,500 No-Limit 2-7 Draw tournament in which he defeated John Monnette for the title.

Apart from this result, Ivey has recorded many “in the money” finishes in various draw events as well as victories and final table appearances in mixed game events in which draw poker played a big part. With all the results and his performances in high-stakes mixed games, Ivey can very well be considered one of the best living draw poker players on the planet.

Daniel Zack

A name that many may not recognize as it is not a household name on the poker circuit just yet, Dan Zack is one of the young and upcoming players in the game of poker. Zack won his first WSOP bracelet at the 2019 WSOP in a USD 2,500 Mixed Triple Draw event, thus announcing to the world that he is an all-around player to be feared.

Apart from his draw poker bracelet, Daniel has already recorded an impressive number of great results in various draw poker and mixed game events, in great part thanks to his overall prowess in the draw poker strategy. While draw poker is not what it used to be, it will be interesting to see how young players like Daniel Zack work this to their advantage to win money in the limited number of tournaments that are available every year.

Top 3 Draw Poker Game Tournaments

We already mentioned that draw poker is not as popular as it used to be and the number of tournaments that are available every year is not as great as it used to be. Nevertheless, there is a number of events that still keep draw poker players happy, especially during the yearly World Series of Poker. Here are the three you will not want to miss out on if you enjoy watching draw poker games.

USD 10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Championship

The ultimate tournament for the lovers of the 2-7 triple draw, this elite event draws together the absolute best draw poker players in the world. The event is a high buy-in and high prestige one and usually gets a limited number of players thanks to the specific game being played.

However, among the top players, this is one of the tournaments that are highly coveted and top mixed game players never miss their chance at winning a bracelet in this elite field of poker peers. If you can only watch or play one draw poker tournament in a year, make sure not to miss this one.

USD 1,500 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw

Another popular WSOP event that does not require as big of a buy-in as the aforementioned one, the 1,500 limits 2-7 Triple Draw is one designed for the masses. With higher numbers of registrations and a bigger playing field, this one is perfect of draw players just getting into the game.

Unlike the USD 10,000 Championship event, the USD 1,500 event draws together a hefty field of draw poker aficionados. If you fall into this category and find yourself around Las Vegas in the summertime, consider jumping into this relatively cheap and extremely fun event.

USD 50,000 Poker Players Championship

The ultimate test for any poker player, the 50k Championship is the biggest regular tournament of the WSOP and one in which only the very best players compete. The tournament is played in a 10-game format, with withdraw games such as 2-7 Triple Draw and 2-7 Single Draw featured.

In order to take home the Players Championship bracelet, players must play draw poker games at a high level, along with other games such as hold ’em, stud, and Omaha. The tournament is reserved for poker’s elite and while you should certainly not consider playing this one, watching it on TV and learning about all the draw poker rules can be extremely entertaining.

Apply the Draw Poker Rules Online

Draw poker is certainly not as popular as some other poker games out there nowadays and finding draw poker online can be a bit tricky. However, signing up with the top-rated online poker sites we promote will give you a chance to get involved in some draw poker games as well as mixed games that contain draw poker as a part of them. Check out the best poker sites today, sign up for a free account, and start playing draw poker for real money from the comfort of your home.


Top Draw Poker Questions & Answers

How to play draw poker?

Draw poker is the name for a group of games in which players are dealt cards and can discard some or all of them to receive others. While every game has its own rules, the basic principle in all draw poker games is that you try to make the best hand by drawing new cards from the deck and discarding those that don’t match your hand.

Is draw poker a skill game?

While draw poker may appear as a gambling game to an unskilled bystander, the game is in fact very much based on skill. Players must understand draw poker odds and play in accordance with proper strategy to get the best results. While the outcome of every hand may be down to luck quite a bit, your overall results will only be good if you learn proper strategy.

Can I play draw poker online?

Yes! Various draw poker games are offered in lobbies of online poker sites in America. You can sign up with various poker sites to check out which draw games are available or have a look at our detailed poker site reviews which list out all the games available at every poker room out there.

Are there draw poker tournaments?

Yes! While draw poker tournaments are not as common as hold’em or Omaha ones, they do exist. Big tournament festivals such as WSOP organize events in various draw games as well as mixed games in which draw poker plays a crucial role.

Can I play draw poker for low stakes?

Draw poker is mainly played in higher stakes cash games and tournaments nowadays, mostly because only elite poker players still play it. That said, you may be lucky enough to find a low stakes game in an occasional casino and you can play draw games for low stakes at online poker sites.


Enjoy Your Draw Poker Today!

Draw poker may not be as popular as it once was, but it remains one of the purest forms of the game that was ever created. Live draw poker games are rare and hard to come by, but fortunately, a number of online poker operators still offer five card draw and 2-7 triple draw as a part of their rich portfolios. Sign up with one of them now and learn how to play these exciting and engaging poker games for low stakes and in an enjoyable atmosphere of the world’s finest gaming websites.



Meet Cosmin, a seasoned expert in the gambling industry. With over 4 years of experience in casino operations and a deep understanding of the inner workings of the industry, Cosmin is a leading authority on all things gambling. He specializes in strategy development, risk management, and maximizing profits. He is a regular speaker at industry events and has a reputation for delivering valuable insights and actionable advice to both operators and players. Whether you’re a seasoned gambler or new to the game, Cosmin’s knowledge and experience can help you increase your chances of success.