Invented Draw Poker Variants

Six-card draw poker

This is a version of draw poker with six card hands, invented by Jeff Cross. It's played pretty much the same way as Five-Card Draw, but with the following changes:

DUPLICATION: Since two standard decks are being used, players might receive two cards of identical rank and suit. This is used to break ties in hands, with a pair of identical cards being better than a pair in different suits. For example, the hand spadeA-spadeA-clubA-clubA-diamondA-diamondA would beat spadeA-spadeA-clubA-clubA-diamondA-heartA, and the hand clubJ-clubJ-spade7-spade9-spade5-spade4 would beat clubJ-spadeJ-spade7-spade9-spade5-spade4.

Michael Keller of World Game Review comments as follows:

Normally poker hands are ranked, as much as possible, on the frequency with which the hands occur on the deal. This is the case with standard five-card poker, although logic dictates that this principle is not universally followed in every variant (e.g. one pair ranks above no pair, even when one pair occurs more frequently). There are also paradoxes which make it difficult to set up a consistent ranking based on frequency (with wild cards, for example, it is often the case that triplets are more common than two pairs; reversing the rankings doesn't work either, since two pairs will then be more common because of the large number of hands containing a wild card and a natural pair, which will be classified as whichever hand ranks higher).

It is also reasonable to relax the frequency principle a bit if the same variant is played with different combinations of decks/wild cards. For example, if you sometimes play six-card poker with one deck and sometimes with two, it makes sense to use the same rankings for both even though the relative frequencies differ. Here are the counts of how many times each hand occurs with one and two decks - I have listed them in the ranking order for two decks, except that no pair as usual ranks lowest.

Frequency of six-card poker hands

                      One deck           Two decks
                      No jokers          No jokers
  Six of a Kind           ----                364
  Straight Flush            36              2 304
  Five of a Kind          ----             69 888
  Double Triplets        1 248*           244 608
  Four and Two             936            305 760
  Flush (6 cards)        6 828            436 992
  Straight (6 cards)    36 828*         2 356 992
  Four of a Kind        13 728          3 843 840
  Three Pairs           61 776          6 278 272
  Full House           164 736         21 525 504
  Triplets             732 160         82 001 920
  Two Pairs          2 471 040        215 255 040
  One Pair           9 884 160        738 017 280
  No Pair            6 985 044        447 042 816

  Total             20 358 520      1 517 381 580

For an extensive list of hand frequencies in multiple deck five-card poker, see Mark Brader's probability tables.


Contributed by Treetop Collier (

For 3-5 players - the following rules are for 4 players:

  1. Deal all players 6 cards down (batch of 3, batch of 2, 1)
  2. A single card is dealt into the center of the table, face down to form the 'trash' hand (If 3 players, deal 2 trash cards. If 5 players, deal none)
  3. Round of betting
  4. Everybody MUST either change 3 cards (no fewer, no more) or fold - round of betting
  5. Everybody MUST either change 2 cards (no fewer, no more) or fold - round of betting
  6. Everybody MUST either change 1 card (no fewer, no more) or fold - round of betting
  7. Each player must discard one card, face down, into the 'trash' hand to makes 5 trash cards. If any players have folded, more cards may need to be added from the deck to make up 5 cards in the trash hand.
  8. Showdown - best hand wins the pot
  9. Now the 'trash' hand is revealed one card at a time, any of the players failing to beat the trash hand must pay forfeit (e.g. in our game, that means they must ante the equivalent of half of their pot to buy in to the next hand).


  1. wild card - the first 'trash' card is dealt face up - its opposite color equivalent is wild (e.g. a black 3 is turned, so red 3s are wild). If more than one trash card is dealt in stage 2 (i.e. 3 players) then the player to the right of the dealer may turn one of the trash cards to determine wildcard
  2. instead of drawing new cards each change, players could 'pass' cards to his left
  3. the trash hand could form community cards and can be incorporated into each player's hand just like Cincinnati or Hold 'Em. A round of betting would follow the turning of each trash card.

The inventor writes: "There are a couple of things I particularly like about this game: that extra card in your hand makes a big difference. With 5 card draw poker, there is usually a very obvious potential hand and so deciding which cards you need to change is relatively easy. With 6 cards, you often find you have 2 potentially good hands and so deciding which cards to change is more of a dilemma. Also, the chance of being beaten by the 'Trash' hand at the end of the game adds some fun and rubs salt in the wounds of already losing chips in that game - it adds 'degrees of losing' - you might not have won the game but at least you didn't get beaten by the Trash hand."

Jackpot Poker

Contributed by Matt Molver (

To play, deal everyone five cards. Place the deck in the middle and let everyone look at their cards. They may set one of their bad cards down in a pile by the deck and draw a card from the deck. Let everyone do that until someone gets a good hand and says, "I Call". Then everyone bids to see who has the highest hand. This game is just like five card draw, except everyone draws until someone calls. You may use two's as wild cards.

Freak of Nature

Contributed by Doble J.

The game is played the same as 5 card draw. Sixes are wild. Here's the catch: at the end of all the betting and the draw, if none of those who chose to stay in has a six then fives become wild. Again if no one has a five then fours become wild. And so on and so forth.

Assassin Poker

Contributed by Joel Lau (

Any betting formulas may or may not be used. Played Like 5-card draw except for one variation:

The twos (jokers may be used) are wild, but not in the normal way, if you receive a two in the deal (before the draw) you may if you wish turn it face up when trading it in - you won't want to save it - and receive an extra card, however only one extra card may be received regardless of the number of twos traded in. But, if your final hand has a two in it, as a result of the draw, or because you saved it, you are "assassinated", and automatically lose.


  1. The player does have the option of not revealing the two when drawing, so as not to receive an extra card and thereby lessen the risk of being "assassinated".
  2. A player who trades in one or more twos face up will have a six-card hand after being dealt replacent cards. In a showdown, the player chooses five cards to make the best poker hand, but must also show the sixth card to prove it was not a two.
  3. If you have a two in your final hand, you don't have to reveal it. You may continue betting, and if you convince all the other players fold you escape the assassination and win the pot without having to show your hand. However, you automatically lose any showdown.
  4. If it turns out that all the players in the showdown have twos, they all lose and the pot is carried forward to the next deal.

Low-Die, High-Die

A pair of 5-card Draw Poker variations contributed by Mike Thompson

In Low-Die, aces, twos, and threes are wild, but only if you have the card of the value on the opposite side of the dice (adding up to seven). That is, any ace in your hand is wild if you have at least one six in your hand, any two in your hand is wild if you have at least one five in your hand, and any three in your hand is wild if you have at least one four in your hand.

High Die is exactly like Low Die, except fours, fives, and sixes are wild only if you have a corresponding three, two, or ace in your hand, respectively.

It's possible to have wild cards of more than one rank - for example in Low-Die, if you have A-6-5-2-2 your ace and twos are wild, and you have four of a kind, or a straight flush if your 6 and 5 are the same suit.

Natural hands have definitely won this game quite often!

Before the players look at their cards, the dealer calls what draws are allowed, depending on the number of cards remaining. For example, in a 6-player game there are 22 cards left over, so up to 3 cards for each player. The dealer could call one 3-card draw, or a 2-card draw followed by a 1-card draw, or just a 2-card draw, or three 1-card draws, or any other combination, including no draw at all. If the dealer allows more than one draw, there is a new betting round after each draw.

Mike Thompson reports that this method of allowing the dealer to call the draw is widespread in Canadian Draw Poker.

Crazy 4 of Spades

Contributed by Ryan Turnbaugh

This is a 5 Card Draw Poker Game. It is played just like a normal 5 card draw game. You are dealt 5 cards. There is a round of betting. You are able to draw up to 3 cards (4 cards with an Ace). Another round of betting. Then any remaining players call their hands.

The difference is that the Four Of Spades is wild. If you have the spade4 in your hand it is automatically wild no matter what. But if you have the spade4 in your hand and have another four in your hand as well (the club4, the heart4 or the diamond4) that four also becomes wild. But if you have one of the non-Spade fours without the spade4 then it is just a four.

This variation is usually played "two to win" - you have to win two hands in succession to win the pot. The winner of the first hand does not collect any money but is given a token. If a different player wins the second hand the token is passed to the new winner. Only when the player holding the token wins the next hand as well does that player collect the pot, and the token is returned to the middle, to be taken by the winner of the next hand. This "two to win" method also works well in a normal 5 card draw game (Jacks or Better), since pots tend to be small.

Ryan writes: When you try and explain this game to other people while playing poker they usually get all annoyed with you and think it's a "stupid wild card game". But if they are willing to actually play it, a lot of them tend to enjoy it. This is because the chances of getting some insane hand with the limited wild cards is usually small. But once in awhile someone will hit big and get a few fours and mop up. So, in most hands the game is actually similar to a Suicide King Wild type of game, but every so often someone will hit the 4 Of Spades with other fours and clean up (if bet properly).

This game, of course could be called the "Crazy any kind of card" game. Just replace the spade 4 with any other card and the rules work the same. I chose 4's because I usually like low cards to be the wilds and 2's and 3's are already so commonly used as wilds that 4's seemed to be the logical choice.

Draw poker variants with open discards

Contributed by Bruce Leban , who writes: "I've always found draw poker a bit weird in that you're betting with very little information and I'm not good at pure bluffing. Here, in the first round of betting each player knows how many cards their opponents discarded and replaced. The second round is after players get to see their opponents face up discards which gives them information about what cards are available and what cards their opponents consider less valuable than the cards they're keeping."

Six-Card Open Draw Poker

Each player is dealt six cards. They discard up to four cards (face down) which are replaced. There is a round of betting. They then discard one more, face up, leaving a standard five card poker hand. There's a final round of betting after the face up discard. This game is limited to 5 players. (With more players, you could use two decks.)

Seven-Card Open Draw Poker

Each player is dealt seven cards. They discard up to three cards (face down) which are replaced, followed by a round of betting. This is followed by two rounds where each player discards a card, face up followed by a round of betting. This game is limited to 5 players. (With more players, you could use two decks.)

Five-card open draw (simple)

Same as standard five-card draw poker, except that after all players discard, the discards are turned face up.

Five-card open draw (sequential)

Each player is dealt five cards. Go around the table and each player has a chance to discard one card face down. After each player has had a chance to put a card down, all the discarded cards are turned face up. Then there is another round of discarding. (Players may of course change their mind about what cards to discard in the second round after seeing the first round of discards from other players.) A player who passes may not discard in a subsequent round.** Continue with further rounds of discarding, turning the discards face up after each round, until everyone passes. Then all discards are replaced. In this variation, you can have a round of betting after each round of discards.

Open discarding can be used with any other discard game, to create for example six-card open draw and seven-card open draw.

**Note: the reason players may not pass in one round and then discard in the next round is that otherwise the last player would have a big advantage: the possibility of passing in every round while others are discarding, knowing that there will be another round of discards. This player would then get to see all the others' discards before having to commit.

Five-card Double Draw High-Low

A variant for 3 - 5 players, contributed by Chris Hood

This is played like 5 card draw poker, but each player gets two opportunities to change out their cards. If the cards run out during the second draw, discarded cards are shuffled and reused. There is a betting round after the initial deal, a second betting round after the first draw and a third betting round after the final draw.

When all betting is done, all players who have not folded lay out their hands and the lowest hand and the highest hand split the pot.  Players do not declare high or low, so sometimes a player unexpectedly wins half the pot by having the lowest hand when all were going for high or vice versa.

When comparing hands for low, aces can count as low and straights and flushes do not count, so the lowest hand is A-2-3-4-5. Note that this same hand could at the same time win high.

Auction Flop Poker

Contributed Charles Magri , who writes: "This version of poker was inspired by a posting by Jean Roche in the newsgroup fr.rec.jeux.cartes entitled Poker aux enchères on 5th December, 2003." Here is a link to Charles Magri's own page on Auction Flop Poker.

Players have at the beginning an equal number of chips for play. A dealer is selected at random.

At the beginning of each hand, players contribute a fixed ante eg. 3 chips. The dealer distributes five cards to each player face down as in standard poker. The remainder of the cards form a stock pile.

Phase one

The players each look at their cards and may discard some of them face down into a central discard pile if they wish. Payments must be made to the pot according to the number of cards discarded:

The dealer does not replenish the players' hands as in normal Draw Poker. Instead the players complete their hands by buying cards from face up sets of cards dealt to the table in the next phase.

Phase two

The top three cards of the stock pile are now revealed. These are called "the flop" as in Texas Holdem poker but they are not shared cards. They can be used only by the player who bids highest for them.

The player to the dealer's left is known as the "First voice" and may either "pass" or bid "one" for the flop. Each player in turn, in clockwise order, can either pass or bid one higher than the highest bid so far (or open the bidding for one if all before him / her have passed). Players who have passed are permitted to bid if the turn comes round to them again. Players who already have five cards must always pass. This continues until the flop is "sold" to the player who bids the highest followed by passes by all other players. The winner of the auction then pays the price bid into the pot, picks up the flop, keeps at least one card from it, and discards any unwanted flop cards face down to the discard pile without revealing which they are. This process is repeated, the turn to be first voice passing to the left to the next player who has fewer than five cards, until everyone has a hand of five cards.

Note that

  1. During phase two you cannot discard any cards from the hand. You must keep all the cards you had at the end of phase one and any cards you added to it from previous flops.
  2. When you buy the flop, you must keep it separate from your hand until you have decided which cards to keep and which to discard.
  3. You cannot have a hand of more than five cards. Therefore if you already have (for example) three cards and buy a flop, you must discard at least one of the flop cards.
  4. Players who have five cards do not take part in any further auctions until the showdown.

If, for a flop, all players pass, then the first voice must decide whether to take the flop for nothing (which obliges him to keep at least one card from it) or pay 1 not to take it. If the first voice pays 1, the next player who has fewer than five cards has the choice of taking it for free or paying 2 not to take it, the next player would have to pay 3 not to take it, and so on around the table until someone takes the flop.

If the stock pile is exhausted and not all players have received their full hand(s), the discard pile is picked up, and shuffled to become the new stock pile.

NB: The last participating player gets to complete their hand for free by formally refusing to bid, then accepting the flop for free. Note that like all other flops, this flop cannot be rejected: if there are no other players with incomplete hands the last remaining player is forced to take at least one card from each flop until his hand is complete.


All players' hands are shown and the pot is divided as follows:

Dealer for the next hand passes to the left.

Bounce Back

A 5-card draw poker variant, also known as Boomerang, contributed by George Weissenberger .

  1. The deal passes clockwise after each hand.
  2. Round 1: After antes are laid, the dealer deals 5 cards down to each player (one card each, five times around). The players look at their hands and, beginning with the dealer, either bet (or call) or fold.
  3. Round 2: Beginning with the dealer, one or two cards may be discarded and replaced. The discarded cards are laid face-down in front of the player and the dealer deals the replacements from the deck. Another round of betting/folding occurs beginning with the dealer.
  4. Round 3: Each player may discard the same number of cards that they discarded in the first round and replace them by picking up the cards that they had previously discarded. Another round of betting/folding occurs beginning with the dealer.
  5. The players’ hands are revealed and the winner determined using standard 5 card poker rankings.

Uncle Bob's Left Nut

This game, also known as UBLN, was contributed by Grey Doffin .

It is simply Five Card Draw Poker in which at the showdown, the lowest card in each player's hand is wild for that player only. Ace is low only when used in a 5-high straight. For example, A-A-3-4-5 is a 5-high straight, with one wild ace used as a 2.


Contributed by Don Cunningham

5s or Fives is a five card draw poker game.

Each player antes and receives 5 cards face down. There are five draws of up to five cards each draw. In each draw, players discard as many or as few cards as they like and they draw and equal numnber of replacement cards, but they must pay a set amount to the pot for each card (the amount per card is usually equal to the ante). So for example with a $1 ante, you would pay $3 to draw three cards, and if you did this five times looking for cards to match your pair it would cost you a total of $15.

There is no betting until after all five draws have been completed, then one round of betting.

The twist is that the winning hand must contain a five. If the best hand does not contain a 5, then all players who did not fold ante up and play again.  So for example if there are just two players in the showdown and their hands are:

neither player wins and these two ante and play again for the same pot. Thus it is worthwhile for a player holding a good hand without a five to stay in to prevent another from winning the pot cheaply. Quite often this results in pots building up to 200 or more times the ante before they are won.

In the unlikely event of a tie, the player with the five takes the pot, if both players have a five and identical hands, split the pot

Because of the draws, it is more than likely that the cards will run out. When this happens, simply shuffle the discards and continue. [It would also be possible to use two decks, but this does alter the odds and strategies significantly, and raises problems about how to deal with hands containing identical cards.]

Two possible variations of this game:

  1. Fives are wild
  2. Twos are wild, fives are not, but you still need a five to win (this one is often called Fucked Up Fives)

Buck Thirty-Five

A variation of five-card draw poker for 4-6 players contributed by Alfred Carter

Five cards are dealt face down to each player, laid out as in the diagram below.

buck 35 layout

The players pick up and look at cards 1, 3, and 5 but are not allowed to look at the other two cards yet.  There is a round of betting.  Players then pick up and look at their card 2.  There is a round of betting.  At this point players will have those four cards in their hand.  Finally, players look at card 4 but it must stay face down on the table and must not be mixed with the rest of player's hand.  Card 4 and any others of that rank are wild for the player.  There is a round of betting.   Each player can exchange up to three cards, but wild card 4 cannot be traded.  There is a final round of betting.

High hand wins, or the game can be played High/Low split, according to prior agreement.

Editor's note: For convenience and to avoid accidental exposure of cards, players may prefer to deal just three cards each initially (1, 3 and 5), then card 2 after the first round of betting, and finally card 4, the wild one, after the second round of betting.


  1. Cards 2 and 4, and any others matching, are wild in the player’s hand.  In that case, cards 2 and 4 should not picked up after being looked at. They cannot be traded in draw.
  2. Cards 2 and/or 4, and any others matching, are wild in the player’s hand only if either matches card 1, 3, or 5.  Cards 2 and 4 should not be picked up when looked at.  They cannot be traded in draw.
  3. If there are no more than 5 players, allow cards 2 and 4 to be traded as well, for a fee for each one traded.  Charge fee for the first, and double fee for the second.  These new cards take the place of the exchanged cards face down on the table.
  4. Any variant can be made High/Low split.  Low is determined as per house rules.  This will probably lead to less trading of cards in the game.

Mississippi Gonorrhea

A two-card high-low split pot draw game contributed by Robert Dier .

Each player is dealt 2 cards, one face down and one face up.

There are three opportunities to exchange cards, known as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Each time the player can opt to exchange his or her down card for a new down card, or the up card for a new up card, or go to the library and get a full "book", exchanging both cards for a new up and a new down card.

After the deal and after each round of exchanges there is a round of betting.

The pot is split equally between the best high and the best low hand. Aces are always high so the best high hand is A-A and the best low hand is 2-3. However, a pair of 7's wins the whole pot against any other hands ("hog pot").


Contributed by Dana Collins

J-Lo is a combination of two games:  Jacks or Better and Deuce to Seven Lowball.

Each hand is played exactly like Jacks or Better.  The difference is that if no one opens, the hand is not thrown away and wasted.  The game switches to Deuce to Seven Lowball.  If every hand has an opener, you’re just playing Jacks or Better.  If not, you’re not wasting time shuffling a “non-hand”.  You’re playing a hand of lowball where no one really has “good” cards.  This keeps the game moving because every hand of cards gets played.   Since we started playing this around 2007, we never play just plain Jacks or Better anymore.

The game is even better with a picture of Jennifer Lopez (the original J-Lo) in a bikini in the center of the table.


This is an adaptation by Jeff Cross for the standard 52-card pack of the variation invented by author Chris Wooding for his Tales of the Ketty Jay book series, described in the appendix to the first book Retribution Falls. It has some elements of both Draw and Stud Poker.

After all players have placed an ante, three cards each are dealt face down and there is a round of betting begun by the player to dealer's left.

Then the dealer deals to the cntre of the table twice as many cards as there are active players. Half these cards are dealt face up and half face down. Beginning to dealer's left each surviving player in turn picks up one card - either a face up card or a face down card which is not shown to the other players - and adds it to their hand. Then there is a second round of betting beginning to dealer's left.

After this each surviving player in turn picks up another card - again either a face up card or a face down card - and there is a final round of betting beginning to dealer's left.

In a showdown the highest hand wins using normal Poker ranking except for a special property of the Ace of spades. If a player holds the Ace of spades with at least two other Aces they automatically win the hand against any other combination, even a royal flush, but a hand containing the Ace of spades with only one or no other Aces automatically loses to all other hands.

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