Let’s look at a sample draw poker hand from start to finish. In this example, you will be in the privileged position of knowing what all of the players have in their hands. Of course, in a real game you will know for sure only what cards you hold and will have to speculate about the holdings of other players. However, as already stated, there are clues which will give you an indication of the strength of an opponent’s hand. Clues already mentioned are the pattern of betting and the number of cards a player exchanges, Other clues can be gleaned from a player’s body language (see the chapter on Reading Your Opponent) or from what you know about the player, i.e. what strength of hands he usually plays etc. So let’s get on with the sample hand. In this game there are four players (A, B, C, D). Their hands before the draw are:
A K(hearts), 7(diamonds), 5(diamonds), 4(clubs), 3(spades) – This is a worthless hand of very low value
B 2(diamonds), 2(clubs), 2(hearts), K(hearts), 5(spades) – This hand has three 2’s, which is very good starting position.
C Q(spades), J(spades), 9(spades), 7(hearts), 4(spades) – This hand is not worth anythig yet but if he could exchange the 7(hearts) for another spadethen he’d have a flush
D A(spades), A(clubs), 8(spades), 8(clubs), 4(clubs) – This hand has 2 pairs, aces up, which is a very strong starting position, although it is weakerthen player B at the moment. This hand aces and eights is called "Dead man’s hand".
Player A is dealer, so player B is first to act and opens for £10. Player C has the drawing hand, so calls the bet. Player D has a very strong starting hand and so he raises £10, It is unfortunate for player D that he does not know what player B is holding, otherwise he would not have raised (indeed he might not even have called), Player A, with his very poor hand, folds. Player B, with a very strong starting hand, re-raises. Player C (with his drawing hand) now has a decision to make: should he call the bet hoping to draw the flush and probably win the pot or should he cut his losses and fold? He knows there is a risk that he will be caught between two players who are re-raising each other so he could lose a lot of money which makes him cautious. On the other hand, he is a player who is at the game to gamble and so he decides to take the risk and call the bet (which is now £20 to him, the £10 raise and the £10 re¬raise). He also knows that the one bet and three raises rule applies in this game, so the maximum he would have to put in is £40. Next it is player D who has a decision to make. If he knew for sure that player B had three twos, his correct course would be to fold, but he is not sure. He calculates that player B has a strong hand but it might only be two smaller pairs than he holds. He could re-raise again in this position, but decides that a call is the wisest course.
This leaves three players after the first round of betting, B, C and D. They now have to decide how many cards they should draw. Player B could keep his three twos and draw two cards or keep his three twos and one of the other cards as well and draw only one card, This latter course is what he decides upon, reasoning that by drawing only one card he will make his opponents think that he has only got two pair thus deceiving them about the true strength of his hand. Player C has little choice; he throws the 7(hearts) away hoping to get a spade. Player D has a choice. He could do the obvious thing by keeping his two pair and taking one card – he would be hoping to draw another ace or an eight, giving him a full house. Alternatively, he could ‘stand pat’, that is take no cards, again in the hope of disguising the value of his hand. He would be hoping that the other players would think he had a very strong hand indeed and would fold as a result of him making a bet. However, he has seen that the other two players have each drawn one card, so he in turn draws one card because he does not want the other two players to think he has a very strong hand. He wants one or other to call his bet, if he decides to make one.
The cards drawn by each player are as follows:
Player/Cards kept Cards drawn
B 2D, 2C, 2H, KH 5D – Player B swapped one 5 for another 5, it’s still a strong hand but he now thinks it’s beatable.
C QS, JS, 9S, 4S 9D – Player C has thrown away a 7H but got back a 9D. Hiss hand os now a pair of 9’s, not very strong at all.
D AS, AC, 8S, 8C 6H – Player D has thrown away the 4C but got back a 6H, again it’s no improvement but it’s still a fairly strong hand.
In the final betting round, player B is cautious and checks. Player C could bet here trying to make the other players think that he has a strong hand; possibly they might think he has drawn a flush or a straight. If he did bet here the bet would be described as a’bluff’, that is, he would be betting with a weak hand hoping that the other players would fold allowing him to win the pot. However, player C considers that he would not get away with the bluff and also checks. Player D is encouraged by the fact that the other twoplayers have checked. He counts this as a sign of weakness on their part and thinks it is possible that he has the best hand. However, he knows that both of his opponents are capable of checking a good hand in the hope of ‘trapping’ him and getting him to bet with an inferior holding. Players who use the trapping technique a lot are, not surprisingly, called’trappers’. So player D decides to be cautious and check. The dealer tells all of the players to turn over their cards and player B wins with the best hand of three twos.