Five Card Draft

A Game Rules Guru original poker game invented by Steve Wannall.

Number of Players



A standard deck of 52 playing cards, jokers removed. Card values from low to high rank: 2-A, card suits from low to high rank: clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades.


Each player is dealt one card face-down, followed by one card face-up to start.


After the first two cards have been dealt, the player with the highest value face-up card opens a round of betting. In the event that two or more cards are tied for highest value, priority is given to the highest suit. When the betting has resolved, the dealer deals a flop of cards face-up on the table equal to the number of players still in the hand +1 (for example, if there are 6 people in the game and 2 of them fold on the first round of betting, the flop would contain 5 cards…one card for each remaining player plus one extra. If all 6 players stayed in, the flop would be 7 cards.). Once the flop has been dealt, players now take turns “drafting” cards from the flop to put in their hand. The draft begins with the player showing the lowest value card. That player selects any one of the face-up cards from the flop and places it face-up with his or her other two cards. The draft then passes to the player showing the next lowest card. This continues until each player involved in the hand has drafted a card (leaving 1 card left on the table). A round of betting follows. This round of betting starts with the player now showing the best 2 face-up cards (for example, if no one is showing a pair then the betting begins with the person showing the highest value card. If two or more people have the same value high card, the priority is resolved by the highest “kicker” or second card showing. If there is still a tie for highest hand, it is resolved by suits. If there are paired cards showing, the highest pair wins priority.). After this round of betting, there is another flop of cards equal to the number of players still in the hand (they are added to the leftover card from the first flop). Players once again draft a single card for their hand, starting with the person showing the weakest 2 cards. This process continues…a round of betting, followed by a flop, followed by a round of drafting, until each remaining player has a 5-card hand (with one face-down or in the “hole”). One undrafted card will always be left on the table. There is a final round of betting followed by a showdown.


Draft the winning poker hand! As always, the highest ranking poker hand will win the pot. Building the highest hand can be pretty tough for a number of reasons. For starters, you don’t know what your opponents’ hole cards are…although you can make an educated guess based on the cards they choose to draft. Also, if it becomes apparent that a player is trying to make a certain hand, it may become necessary to “counter draft,” or take a card that you don’t necessarily need in order to prevent your opponent from making their hand. Be warned though…this is a game tailor-made for bluffing!

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