WSOP: Five Card Draw (1978 to 1982)

[SS] “Five Card Draw is another old game whose popularity has faded”, Stan the Stat continued. “The American classic was contested at the World Series of Poker from 1978 to 1982, initially with a $5,000 buyin before dropping to $2,000 and then $1,000.”

[LL] “Five Card Draw was the first poker game I learned as a kid just around that same time”, Leroy the Lion added. “I still have the sheet of hand ranks that I tediously hunted and pecked on a manual typewriter. We played penny ante, so it was basically just for fun, and I’m pretty sure I was horrible at it. Fortunately, so was everyone else.”

[FF] “I’ve never played it. Should we try it in our side game?” Figaro the Fish wondered.

[RR] “I don’t think so. It requires too many cards to be played by more than five or six people. And there just isn’t much going for it. You have to figure out what people have based on just one or two bets and the number of cards they draw. And it’s usually played as Limit Poker. Not very exciting.”

[SS] “I agree. The Moneymaker generation of poker players didn’t miss much by not learning Five Card Draw. Don’t worry though, I’ll get to a bunch of better games you’ll like better soon.”

Game Name Five Card Draw Poker (a.k.a. Limit Draw High)
Game Type Draw
Game Limits Limit
High or Low High
WSOP Years 1978 to 1982
Buyins $1,000 to $5,000
Largest Field 36 (1981 $1,000 event)
Notable Champions Lakewood Louie (1978 & 1979), David Sklansky (1982)
Basic Rules Antes only. Each player is dealt five cards, and there is a round of betting. Each player can draw from zero to five cards, and there is a second round of betting.
History Five Card Draw dates back to at least the 1830s, shortly after the 52-card deck became common, allowing the addition of a draw to a simple 5-card betting game. Wild Bill Hickok was shot in the back in 1876 while playing Five Card Draw.
Notes Home games sometimes limit draws to three cards, four if the player keeps an Ace. Most video poker games in casinos play Five Card Draw.

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