Difference between Draw and Stud Poker

If you’ve decided you want to learn to play poker, you might be surprised to find out that learning to play poker means learning to play several different card games. Poker actually doesn’t refer to a specific card game but has many variations and types. Some poker games, like Texas Hold’em, are great for newcomers to the game to practice their chops on. Other games, like Eight or Better High Low Stud are definitely for more advanced players. Before you can learn your London Lowball from your Badugi, however, you should brush up on some poker playing basics. A good place to start understanding poker games is to understand the difference between draw poker games and stud poker games.

Draw poker games are just what they sound like; they involve players drawing a set number of cards that make up their entire hand and are kept from other players. Players then place bets based on the cards they have drawn. One common variation of a draw poker game is the Five Card Draw, in which players each have five card hands with which to make their bets. In draw poker, players are allowed to swap out some of their cards if they don’t like their hands; how many you can swap depends on the rules of the exact game you are playing.

Draw poker is a very common starting place for new poker players. It differs from other poker games because all of a player’s cards are kept a secret from his fellow player, unlike stud games and community card games. Because all of the cards are secret, draw poker games offer the best opportunities for bluffing in poker. Although draw poker is the kind of poker most people think of they picture poker games, it is dying out in casinos and in poker tournaments. It is still played often in private, home games. Popular draw poker variants are Badugi, California Lowball, and Four Before.

Stud poker works a little differently. In stud poker games, players receive a mix of cards their opponents cannot see and face up cards. The cards are dealt one at a time; the exact number of face up cards versus face down cards depends on the rules of the variation of stud poker you are playing. Unlike draw poker, players cannot change out any of their cards. Different players are allowed to start the betting in each round of stud poker, which allows a certain amount of bluffing to take place. A confident better who has weak cards on display may make their opponents think they must be hold strong face down cards.

Stud poker varieties are becoming increasingly popular in casino settings, and are among the most popular games in online poker. Seven Card Stud is by far the most common stud poker game in play today. Other popular incarnations of stud poker include London Lowball, Eight or Better High Low Stud, and Six Card Stud.

Choosing between draw poker and stud poker is largely a matter of personal preference. If you’re a new player, draw poker is easier to play and a good way to get your feet wet in the game. If you’re a little more seasoned, advancing from a draw game to stud game will give you the chance to hone your skills. Stud games are easier to find in casinos and online, but if you prefer draw, you can always organize draw poker nights in your own home. If you want the best of both worlds, play a game of rotation poker, which combines draw poker and stud poker.


Darnell V. Denman
Poker Player

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