Moving on with the history lessons I have been giving we will talk about the history of another well known variant of poker called five-card draw. As I said a couple articles back, Texas Hold’em is currently the most popular variant of poker. This is a recent development and five-card draw held that title for a number of years before Hold’em caught on.
The game was very prominent in the 1800’s and is most often associated with the Wild West. This game, picked up by every man with an itch to gamble and drink, was the most popular in backroom casinos and offered a wide venue of entertainment to an already interesting and hard way of life. You see it featured in all the western movies and a person would likely question where the poker game was in a saloon when watching a shootout or some other standard western movie motif.
The original variant of five-card draw had only one round of betting and offered no exchanging of cards. There were not enough cards for this to be possible and that also limited the possible hands a player could get. This offered little more than luck as far as cards went and a marginal amount of skill when bluffing and appropriate betting occurred. This later changed when the full deck was introduced. With the new deck came some new rules. The most notable was the drawing of cards after the deal if a player is unhappy with their hand. This allowed for more rounds of betting as well as more skill to be introduced into the playing.
The game started to lose momentum when other variants started to show up. Seven card stud was the most notable of these games to take the limelight away from five-card draw. This game offered new and unique variants on poker and draw just couldn’t keep up. We do have to respect draw even with its diminished value as a tournament game. It was the game that opened up to all the exciting and well known variants we play today. I, for one, learned how to play five-card draw first and it gradually led into my love of the game today. I’m sure many others have the same experience and feel the exact same way.