Texas Hold’em vs. 5 Card Draw

Texas Hold’em vs. 5 Card Draw

Texas Holdem Vs 5 Card Draw

In the ultimate battle between old-school cool and new-age popularity, we are going to compare the world’s most popular poker game, Texas Hold’em, to poker’s pioneering game, five card draw.

Comparing Texas Hold’em vs five card draw will pit the venerable poker games against each other, to decide once and for, which game is better! In order to decide which game is the best, first, we are going to tell you all of the ways that the games differ. Poker is poker, but these games are quite different, and those differences will help us make our decision as we look to crown one game the greatest poker variant of all time.

Let’s jump right into it, as we start out by telling you what makes Texas Hold’em different from five card draw.

What Makes Texas Hold’em Different from 5 Card Draw?

Outside of the hand rankings being the same, the similarities between Texas Hold’em vs 5 card draw are few and far between.

These are very different games as both games have distinct features and are played quite differently.

In this section, we are going to take a look at the different game structures, betting structures, hand values, and available action, when comparing Texas Hold’em vs five card draw.

Game Structure

When you look at how these two games are structured, if you didn’t know better you might not think both of these games were even poker, as they look almost nothing alike.

Texas Hold’em is what is known in the industry as a flop game. Flop games are games where players share community cards to make their best 5-card poker hand. Five card draw is not a flop game, it is a draw game, as the players don’t share any cards when it comes to making their hands.

When you are playing Texas Hold’em, there are seven total cards in play, with 5 cards being on the board, known as community cards, that can be used by all players, and 2 cards being in each player’s hand.

In 5-card draw poker:

Each player has five cards, and depending on the specific variant that is being played, players can then discard and draw new cards at least once, and sometimes up to three times. This is a fundamental difference and changes a lot about the strategy between the games. When you are playing 5 card draw, you get zero information about your opponent’s hands except how many cards they are holding and drawing.

Whereas in Texas Hold’em, you can see all but 2 of your opponent’s cards. These games are structured differently and that is by far the biggest difference between the variants.

Betting Structure

We just talked about the game structure being very different when comparing Texas Hold’em vs five card draw and those differences continue when you look at how each game is bet. Texas Hold’em is a versatile game that can be played as limit, no limit, or even spread limit.

5 Card draw is generally played as a limit game these days:

Although there are some maniacs out there playing no-limit 5 card draw, but those games are rare. The main difference between how these games are bet is the number of betting rounds. Let’s compare a standard 5-card draw high game to Texas Hold’em. In 5 card draw high, players get dealt 5 cards, there is a betting round, then a draw, followed by a final betting round. That’s it, two total betting rounds.

When you compare that to Texas Hold’em, where there is a betting round pre-flop, followed by betting rounds on the flop, turn, and river, you can see that in Texas Hold’em, there are a lot more opportunities to bet.

Please Note:

If you are playing a triple draw version of five card draw poker, you will get a couple of additional betting rounds after the second and third draws, but these games are fundamentally different when it comes to how the betting goes.

Hand Values

Obviously, if you are playing a version of 5 card draw that is lowball, rather than high, the hand values are going to be completely different. But even if you are playing high only draw, the hand values are still going to be quite a bit different.

When you are playing Texas Hold’em, making hands like straights, flushes, and full houses are fairly common. But if you are playing 5 card draw high, many times a single pair is good enough to scoop a pot. Making a hand like a full house is nearly impossible in 5 card draw and you can win hands with a high card if everyone is drawing and misses.

At the end of the day, bigger isn’t always better, but with the hand values being so far apart between these variants, I felt that it should be noted in this battle of Texas Hold’em vs five card draw.

Available Action

This final difference between Texas Hold’em vs 5 card draw is not really about the games themselves, but more about their availability. Texas Hold’em is hugely popular, and there are few places in the world where poker is legal, where you aren’t going to find a Hold’em table.

The same thing cannot be said about 5 card draw, as, after generations of being the top dog in the poker world, the popularity of the game has dropped off of a cliff in recent years. You would be hard pressed to find a 5 card draw cash game anywhere in the world these days, outside of very high limits and mixed games.

There are still some high-profile 5 card draw tournaments each year at the World Series of Poker, but outside of the WSOP, 5 card draw is a dying game at best and a completely dead game at worst.

Which Game Is Better: Texas Hold’em vs Five Card Draw

Personally, I like all poker games. Each game offers a unique playing experience and I prefer variety when it comes to playing cards. But when I am comparing Texas Hold’em vs 5 card draw this isn’t a remotely fair fight, as we are comparing the Cadillac of poker to a game that barely exists anymore.

Please Note:

As much as I personally enjoy playing draw poker, Hold’em is more popular for a reason. The game is faster, has more action, and is more widely available. Draw poker tends to be a slower paced game, with more thinking, and less action. Single draw 5-card draw games have few opportunities to bet and the game can be exceedingly hard to learn for new players, which has really stifled the game’s ability to grow as a new generation of poker players hit the felt.

In this heavyweight title bout between juggernauts of the poker world, we have a first-round knockout! Down goes 5 card draw, down goes 5 card draw!


Texas Hold’em is the reigning, defending, undisputed champion of the poker world! That’s not to say that mixing in some 5 card draw into your poker routine won’t be fun and potentially profitable, but Texas Hold’em is the best poker game in the world right now, and it’s not even close.

Are you hoping to get in on the Texas Hold’em action?

Make sure that you swing by TheSportsGeek’s online poker sites page, where we bring our reader’s exclusive offers at all of the top online poker rooms! Thanks for reading and good luck on the felt, playing Texas Hold’em!


Author: Lucas Carlson