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This picture would be even more appealing – and complete – with a colorful bouquet in her hands (to nicely complement her neutral gray ...

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semi-surreal

Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
United States
My avatar is actually me - at 2 years old.

I've started attending anime & comic conventions in 2015, around Chicago.
I have lots of cosplay photos both within my main Gallery + my so-called "Scraps" gallery.

Also, if you're a nerd like me, you'll surely enjoy various essays & journals I've written; they're mostly done in an objective/scientific style - with jokes & opinions sprinkled in for good measure.

Thank you so much for visiting my page!

5-card draw-poker: complete strategy
(or 5CD $trategy)


Initial Conditions  [and some rantings]:

Ideally, poker should be played with:

Ø  6 friends/relatives at the table (5 is OK, too – as long as you’re not drawing to 4-flushes/4-straights);
Ø  a medium ante in a low-limit game (such as a $1 ante and $5/$10 betting-rounds);
Ø  at home (not at a casino with blinds/rakes – and colluding strangers!  Nor within the modern craze of online/video/virtual depersonalization);
Ø  a maximum 3-card draw allowed – even for a lone Ace (so as not to have to “declare” any sort of hand, nor to risk running out of cards);
Ø  nothing “wild” (since it's arbitrary and pointless – and it significantly alters the normal value of standard poker-hands);
Ø  and a 52-card, well-shuffled, and properly-cut deck [preferably “Bicycle"-brand Autobike No.1: 1902 poker cards - most exquisite design ever].

          Additionally ... [I'm going to rant some more here] ... there should be no artificial constraints, such as the arbitrary “jacks-or-better” rule: any and all hands should be allowed to be played and/or to open the betting.  Nor should there be any arbitrary limits to the number of re-raises allowed for the table as a whole (such as the customary “up to 3 per round”): any & every player should be able to re-raise one nominal time per their turn.
     So, for the sake of consistency, every player should have all of their nominal rights at each turn: to check / bet / call / raise / re-raise / fold, as applicable and desired.  The number of re-raises would thus only be “limited” – naturally – by the number of active players on the table wishing to exercise their option to do so – not by some randomly predetermined quantity.

Alright, then ... strategy tips:


1)
  Immediately FOLD all hands that do not contain a pair or better
      
or, at least, one of the following:

      a 4-flush [4 cards of the same suit, without any (high) pair
           worth keeping];

      a 4-to-an-OPEN-ended straight [also called “double-ended”];

      a “royal cat-hop” (holding 3 cards of a royal flush).

AK or AQ or KQ (whether “suited” or not) are good starting-hands in Hold 'em – not in 5CD; that also goes for unsuited AKQ or AKJ or AQJ or KQJ silliness!

You should break up a pair of 10’s (or lower) to pursue a 4-flush;
break up a pair of 9’s (or lower) to pursue a 4-open-straight; and
always pursue – and raise on – the coveted four–straight–flush!


2)   For pairs, draw according to the advice in sections a-e, below … remember that for all pairs 88's to AA's, always discard/draw 3 cards – no exceptions (if you're a "tight-aggressive" player).
            Notice that some pairs have additional requirements; some of which consist of an Ace-“kicker” (for "loose" to moderately-tight players):

            a)   for JJ's to AA's, discard/draw 3 – and bet BIG, since the odds of winning the pot have begun in your favor.  Raising the stakes has the further benefit of DISCOURAGING anyone from “drawing cheaply” to improve their weaker hand (lest you lose to them after the draw)!

               b)   for TT's [pair of Tens], only play them if at least 1 of your 3 discards is higher than a 10, otherwise FOLD (DON'T keep any card or cards as kickers);

               c)   for 99's, only play them if at least 2 of your 3 discards are higher than a 9, otherwise FOLD.  An Ace (if you have one) may be substituted for the “two-higher-cards” requirement – but DON'T keep it (nor any other cards) as a kicker. 

               d)   for 88's, only play them if all of your 3 discards are higher than an 8, otherwise FOLD.  An Ace (if you have one) may be counted as being equivalent to “two higher cards” – but DON'T keep it (nor any other cards) as a kicker.

       Examples:
  8-8-4-5-6 you FOLD, 8-8-2-9-10 you FOLD, 8-8-3-7-A you FOLD.

  8-8-9-10-K you PLAY: since all of the three cards that you will discard (9-10-K) are “higher than 8”.

  8-8-2-9-A you PLAY: the 9 is one card that's higher than an 8, plus, you have an Ace – which counts as the equivalent of “two” higher cards – effectively fulfilling the requirement of a total of “three” discards higher than an 8; thus, you will discard the 2-9-A and draw three cards to your pair of 8's.

    Note:   All of the aforementioned hands that were recommended as playable are SOLID; so as tempting as some of their respective discards (especially the powerful Ace) may be to keep as kickers, there's no need to.  Be content in the KNOWLEDGE that your opponents do not have those cards in their own hands – similar to the knowledge that a BlackJack card-counter has against the dealer.
              Plus, dumping the kickers actually improves your draw.
*knowledge is power*


  e)   for 22's to 77's [and sometimes 88's, if they don't have the appropriate discards], only play them with an Ace-kicker (if you're a loose to moderately-tight player), or else FOLD.  22's to 77's are otherwise weak pairs – especially with 4 or 5 opponents – since someone probably already has a high pair (JJ's to AA's), statistically.

  Note:   Using a kicker greatly increases the odds against you of making a 3-of-a-kind; so, it’s considered a relatively speculative play: for those who wish to stay in the action in the hopes of at least getting “aces-up” (2-pair with aces).  Whereas, tight players will only play medium or high pairs (in the exact manner suggested in a-d, above) – and never with any kickers.
      Moderately-tight players [the ideal players] are willing to play the weaker pairs with an Ace-kicker, because they consider the winning-odds (of 1 in 5) to be acceptable.  It also makes their game more versatile / less predictable!


3)
      Only on a 6-player table is it OK to “chase” with 4-flushes [a decent 19.2% of the time they come] and 4-open-straights [17% of the time they come], since the “implied/pot-odds” (the final amount that will be in the pot at the showdown) will generally come close to justifying the relatively unfavorable initial odds against you.
     It's also GOOD to show your opponents that your “table image” is not “too tight”.  They will thereafter respect/fear you more, due to your being unpredictable with “long-shots”.

            Note:   Everything else being equal, at a 6-player table you have a 1-in-6 chance – anyway – of winning pots (in general); which, coincidentally, are the same odds of winning with a straight-draw.  A flush-draw has even better odds: 1 in 5.25 approximately.
     Poker is called “gambling” for a reason: otherwise, invest your money in more conservative ventures.  It’s not fun worrying about “opportunity costs”, thereby patiently saving your stack to play “premium” pairs exclusively – unless you enjoy folding the vast majority of the time!



4)      Draw only 1 card to triplets/“trips” (3-of-a-kind) to make your opponents believe that you're only drawing to either a 2-pair hand or to some long-shot; whereas, drawing 2 cards will SPOOK them if your table-image is considered tight – so the pot you win will be undeservedly tiny.  Loose players, with ironic advantage, don't have to worry about spooking anyone: since everyone usually assumes they're “probably just drawing on a pair with an Ace-kicker” [or even drawing on a 3-flush or 3-straight].
     Another practical reason to only draw 1 card is to slow down raises and re-raises from other players who might have hands stronger than yours – since they’ll be hesitant to bet into you, lest you have a straight or better (statistically more likely on your 1-card draw than on a 2-card draw).


5)      On the very rare occasion [1 in 4165 initial hands] that you’re dealt “quads” (4-of-a-kind), draw for that 1 odd card – in order to “get value” by luring more bettors.  Look casual, and bet moderately in every round until the end.  This is called “slow-playing / sandbagging” with your “monster” hand.


Other Insights:

          The typical winning hand in 5CD is usually a medium/high 2-pair, sometimes trips; so play with that in mind and bet reasonably throughout the game.  Never bluff with nothing nor with weak hands; “semi-bluffing” is much more profitable: it keeps your opponents guessing – while maintaining your vitally-important respectable table-image (credibility).

         Table image is what compels tight players – who play premium hands (that may beat you) – to fold … while enticing loose players to grow the pot for you – by gambling against the “lower end” of your range (of hands that you’re known to play).
Credibility  +  optimal range  =  greater profit.



Pre-draw Betting-Strategy:

Bet / Call with:

    Ø  4-flush, 4-open-straight, Quads  [draw 1 … slow-play];

    Ø  Low trips  or  High 2-pair  [draw 1 … slow-play];

    Ø  Medium pair  [with applicable discards, or the Ace-kicker for 88's (if necessary)];

    Ø  Low pair (ONLY with the Ace-kicker);

    Ø  Royal cat-hop (festively announce it to everyone: for better pot-odds)!

Raise with:

    Ø  “Pat”-hand  [except (drawable) quads];

    Ø  High or Medium trips – then “stand pat”;

    Ø  High pair  [tight-aggressive semi-bluff, like doubling-down in BlackJack];

    Ø  Medium or Low 2-pair  [attrition of others – especially of the tight players].


Post-draw Betting-Strategy:

Bet / Call with:

     Ø  made 4-flush, made 4-straight, original quads  [sandbagging];

    Ø  all Low trips, all High 2-pair  [always slow-play such hands – to prevent traps];

    Ø  Royal cat-hop (play it “blindly”: for even better pot-odds)!


Raise with:

     Ø  original pat-hands, new (only) Quads, other new monster (Full-house or Straight-flush) hands [re-raise, too];

    Ø  original High or Medium trips  [re-raise, too – as if pat] … but slow-play new trips (if you’ve improved a pair) – for concealment/trapping;

    Ø  Medium or Low 2-pair [if only 2 opponents left (with all: 33's-up thru JJ's-up); otherwise, just call if against 3 opponents (only with 88's-up thru JJ's-up) – and fold against 4 or more].

            As for “new” Quads versus “original” Quads
it’s because your body-language (tells) are different!
            Original  =  poker-faced shock [regulated throughout by your subconscious];
new  =  normal anticipation/excitement – as your opponents expect anyway.


Note:     Generally, fold all (unimproved) pairs – unless:

          (1)   you have AA to use as a bluff-catcher”, or

          (2)   you are allowed to check (zero bet), or

          (3)   you have a good read on your opponents.


                        * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Depending on the number of opponents heading into the showdown,
the following hands are the minimum required to stay in the game:

             1 opponent:       88

             2 opponents:     AA

             3 opponents:     88xx  (2-pair, eights-up)

             4 opponents:     AAxx  (2-pair, Aces-up)

             5 opponents:     888

Easy to remember eights or Aces!


             * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


For a six-player game, use the following definitions as your guide:

High trips:  QQQ – AAA

Med trips:  888 – JJJ   [888 is considered Med: since trips can't be "tied"]

Low trips:  222 – 777

High 2-pair:  QQxx – AAxx

Med 2-pair:  99xx – JJxx   [ in a 5-player game, JJ’s-up is “High” ]

Low 2-pair:  33xx – 88xx

 
High pair:  QQ – AA

Med pair:  88 – JJ   [ in a 5-player game, JJ is considered “High” ]

Low pair:  22 – 77

 

            The median winning hand is around Q’s-up; with A’s-up being fairly common on loose tables (due to kickers).  Since most players only raise with A's-up or better, that's why Aces are highly prized in five-card draw-poker!

            Be very confident (re)raising with hands 888+ since they’re strong.

            Standing pat on Medium & High trips allows you to "balance" your range against true pat-hands: since Med/High trips come around about 1% of the time – the same % (rounded up) as pat hands do; so, your opponents won't be able to know which category of winning-hand you've decided to stand pat with this time around!


       * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 
Royal cat-hops have decent aggregate odds of getting something substantial:
a high 2-pair, trips, a straight, or a flush; plus, they're exciting to play!



The approximate odds of drawing to a winning hand (generally Q’s-up or better in the showdown) while holding the following, are:

4-open-straight-flush:            1 in 3 [ wow – that’s why you should raise with it! ]
4-closed-straight-flush:        1 in 4 [ still excellent odds! ]
High pairs (AA – JJ):              1 in 3.5 – 4.5 [ beloved by tight-players ]
Pair + Ace-kicker:                 1 in 5 [ moderately-tight/loose; average odds ]
4-flush:                                   1 in 5.25 [ moderately-loose
  necessary for variety ]
4-open-straight:                   1 in 6 [ loose; should only draw to Q-high or better
  – for the sake of playing fewer such hands
  (to save money)]
Royal cat-hop:                     1 in 7.5 [ “for entertainment purposes only” ]


       * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Composition of a versatile game-strategy (at a 6-player table):

Premium Pairs (QQ – AA):                        9.752%  [ of all initial hands dealt ]
Medium Pairs (w/applicable discards):    9.090%  [ includes all JJ; some 88A ]
2-Pair or better :                                7.625%
Low Pairs with mandatory Ace-kicker:    4.681%
4-Flush draws (all & 4-Straight-Flush):    4.515%
4-Open-Straight draws (Q-high +):        2.975%

Total
:                                                            38.637%  [ 2 out of every 5 rounds ]

This means that a reasonable player will FOLD over 60% of all hands dealt!
So, in every 3 out of 5 rounds, he gets to observe the others – for tells!

 

            * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


            All betting strategies should occasionally be varied – so that you don’t become predictable.  As with Low 2-pairs, for example: you generally would raise / draw 1 card / raise again; which could also be done with, let’s say, High Trips.

            Thus, by balancing your various betting schemes, your tight opponents (with their usual good hands) will be hesitant to bet into you – while your loose opponents (with their usual weak hands) will be intrigued enough to gamble with you.  That’s the whole point of balancing…and of maintaining a moderately-tight/loose respectable table-image!

 

            * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


For every 132 hands you’re dealt [average weekend]…
you’re expected to fold 81 of them – and play only 51!

Those 51 good hands [38.6% of all] will be comprised of:

13        Premium Pairs  (QQ – AA)
12        Medium Pairs  (with “applicable” discards, or "88A")
10        Two-Pair hands or better  [includes 1 PAT hand!]
6          Low Pairs + Ace-kicker (mandatory)
6          Four-Flushes 
[for sure 1 of them will win a BIG pot!]
4          Four-Open-Straights 
(Q-high or better only)

So…it takes PATIENCE to become a winner at poker.

 

            * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

In the percentages listed above, about HALF (25 out of 51) of your playable hands will be 88’s – AA’s  (solid pairs).
That’s how the money’s made!

'nuf said.

  • Listening to: Gamblin' Man - by Smashing Satellites
  • Reading: Beyond Tells - by James McKenna
  • Watching: Buffy and Charmed [on DVD]
  • Playing: solitaire poker - both tight and loose
  • Eating: yummy gyros (with 30% lamb meat)
  • Drinking: Turkish coffee - see my recipe in Journals

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:icondisheveledpastels:
Disheveledpastels Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thank you so much for the watch! it rlly means a lot<3
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0pal-heart Featured By Owner May 22, 2018  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thank you for the :+devwatch: and the + llama emoticon 
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AprilDraven Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the Watch Kaori Smile Icon
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xPastel-Starsx Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Hey, how are you?
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:iconsemi-surreal:
semi-surreal Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm celebrating the autumnal equinox today, in record-setting 94-degree weather in Chicago -- while sitting indoors doing computer-class homework!

Hopefully you're having moar fun at the beach or somewhere nice.
beachside juice bar TTOCI 2 GIF 1 palm tree icon TTOCI 1 GIF 
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:iconxpastel-starsx:
xPastel-Starsx Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
94? This is winter for me. 


(I'm from Houston)
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:iconsemi-surreal:
semi-surreal Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
haha, then dress warmly if u venture outside!
*and pack some pepper-spray for the thugs*
Jungkook Jacket Swag 
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erarebirth Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the watch! :)
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SakuraWindChime Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy birthday! I hope you've had a great day :D
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seo123 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
Hey happy Birthday and hope you have a great one :)
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:iconsemi-surreal:
semi-surreal Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
ah, thanks for remembering; I'll try to make it a productive one!
*while sitting in front of the TV*
TV  
 
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