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How to Play 52 Draw Poker


FIFTY-TWO DRAW POKER: A variation of 5 card draw poker with the addition of 2 common board cards. Each player is dealt 5 hole cards. Two cards are placed face down on the table. After a round of betting 1 of the cards is turned face up, another betting round and the second is turned up. Players may now discard and draw up to 3 cards to their hole cards. May be played high-low split.
Players have two options to make their hand:
1. Use all 5 hole cards.
2. Use 3 hole cards and both common board cards .
Important: Using 4 hole cards and 1 from the board is not permitted.

Summary of action
Deal 5 hole cards to each player. Place 2 cards face down on table.
Reveal 1 card.
Reveal 2nd card.
Draw cards (maximum 3 per player).
High only or Hi-Lo Cards Speak: Showdown
High-Low Declaration: Declare

Playing Tips for 52 Draw Poker


The first and most important thing to remember in fifty-two draw poker is that you must play either the five cards in your hand or 3 from your hand and both of the board cards. You can never play 4 from your hand and just one of the board cards.

Position is important in 52 draw poker. Because of the opportunity to draw cards, players in late position have an advantage. They get to learn how many cards the players ahead of them draw before they have to make their own draw. That is valuable information for reading your opponents' intent to play high or low. As an example, suppose the board contains at least one high card like K, Q or J or any pair and everyone before you draws 2 or 3 cards. This means the winning low hand is almost certainly not going to be made using the 2 board cards. Therefore, you should consider standing pat with just about any low hand. Standing pat will signal you have a very good hand. And, the odds are against an opponent drawing 2 or 3 cards to make a good low. Whenever you are in late position to draw you should be keeping this move in mind, as it is important to show strength by betting or raising before the draw in order to make your standing pat believable. However, if two or more players make a 1 card draw they probably have a draw to a better hand than a ragged low and you should probably draw to improve. Against a single opponent drawing one card you may wish to still stand pat to see what happens next. You are hoping they fold to a bet or raise. If they call or raise you are most likely up against a decent low and if you continue depends on the strength of your hand. Never announce your drawing decision until it is your turn.

Because 52 poker offers the opportunity to draw cards, one might be tempted to play just about any starting hand, even something like A2. Fight that temptation. You should really have at least 3 cards in your hand, or cards with multiple potentials in order to play. Consider using the same starting hand selection that you would use in 5 card draw, because that is basically what this game is. Bear in mind that, in contrast to 5 card draw, you may have radically different drawing odds to some hands. For example: with 2 suited cards in your hand and both of the board cards that same suit you can draw 3 cards to hit just the one card you need to make a flush (about a 50% chance). A similar situation occurs when holding 2 pair by using both board cards and 2 hole cards. With a 3 card draw it is about 25% that you will make a full house. But, be careful. Other players may have these same draws, so your flush or full house better be big.

Starting Hand Selection


By keeping the requirement noted above in mind, it is fairly easy to identify the types of starting hands you’d like in 52 draw poker:

A pat high hand: straight, flush, full house or 4 of a kind. Bear in mind that these are long shots. The chart below outlines your chances of being dealt those hands.

Trips is also a good starting hand. If the board pairs, you have a full house. But, be cautious if the board pair is of a higher rank than your trips. You also have the opportunity to improve by drawing. Depending upon the board cards, trips may even stand up by themselves. But, if the board cards are coordinated (eg suited or connected) or both higher than your trips, play them cautiously and be prepared to fold if you do not improve.

A pat low hand: Generally at least an 8 low, but, obviously, the lower the better. The 2 board cards have a major bearing on what you will probably need to win. If both of those 2 cards are 7 or under, your pat 8 low is probably not enough. But, if one or both of the board cards is higher than your highest card you are usually in decent shape. When playing for low you always want your 5 card hand to be better than the best hand that can be made using the board cards. For example, with a board of 87, you want to have no worse than 86 for low.

High Hand Probabilities


Approximate probabilities of being dealt these HIGH hands as your 5 hole cards

5 Card HandPercent ProbabilityOdds Probability
Straight Flush0.0015%64,973:1
4 of a Kind0.024%4164:1
Full House0.14%693:1
3 of a Kind2.11%46:1
2 Pair4.75%20:1
1 Pair42.3%1.4:1

Low Hand Probabilities


Approximate probability of being dealt these low hands as your 5 hole cards.
5432A as the best hand. Straights and Flushes do not disqualify low hand.
6432A as the best hand. Straights and flushes disqualify low hand.

5 Card Hand5432A % Probability6432A % Probability
Any Other 6 Low0.16%0.12%
Any 7 Low0.59%0.55%
Any 8 Low1.38%1.33%
Any 9 Low2.76%2.71%

The probability of being dealt any single unpaired 5 card hand is slightly less than 0.04%