Double the Draws, Double the Fun: An Introduction to Double Draw Poker

By David Huber
March 21, 2024

Double Draw Poker is a popular casino game in which achieving the best hands per traditional poker hand rankings can result in big payouts.

Similar to other jackpot-style casino card games like Caribbean Stud, players can typically win up to 500 times their original wager amount if they are lucky enough to make a jackpot hand.

There are some key differences between Double Draw Poker and Caribbean Stud, however.

In this article, we’ll explain how to play Double Draw Poker, give a general rundown of the bets that can occur while playing the game, and provide some basic strategy tips that will hopefully make your casino card game experience more fulfilling.

double draw poker

The Rules of Double Draw Poker

There are a total of three potential betting rounds in Double Draw Poker.

Before a hand is dealt, the player must make an Ante bet along with a Bonus bet. All bet amounts must be equal.

Once the Ante and Bonus bets have been placed, usually near the top of the betting area afforded to the player, five face-up cards are dealt.

These cards can be arranged in any way to make the best five-card hand that’s in line with poker hand strength.

However, as the name of the game suggests, players can draw up to two times per hand. The first draw opportunity occurs after the first five cards are dealt face-up to the player.

During this second betting round, the player can either decide to fold (and forfeit) the original Ante and Bonus bets or continue with the hand. If the player continues, another bet – in the same amount as the original Ante and Bonus bets – must be placed in the designated spot.

Once the first draw bet has been decided upon and placed by the player, up to three of the face-up cards can be chosen as discards.

In general, players will want to select discards based on made hands (like one pair or two pair), but this can vary depending on any possibilities to hit a huge Bonus hand that pays jackpot prizes.

Once the player has selected up to three cards to be re-drawn, the dealer removed those discards and deals a corresponding amount of new cards, face-up, to the player.

At this point, with three single bets already committed to by the player, a decision can once again be made to fold or continue with the hand. If the player folds, then all bets that have been placed so far are forfeited and the house wins.

But, if the player chooses to continue, one final bet will need to be placed. This bet must be for the same amount of the Ante, Bonus, and First Draw bets.

Once the final bet is placed, the player can choose to discard up on one card only. The discard (when applicable) will be replaced by a new face-up card provided by the dealer.

Once the Second Draw round has concluded, the hand is over and the bets on the table are either paid off for winning hands or lost for losing hands.

Sample Double Draw Poker Hand

PLAYER A placed $1 in the Ante bet circle and another $1 in the Bonus bet circle. PLAYER A has $2 total committed to the hand.

The dealer provides five face-up cards to PLAYER A.

Ac – Ad – Kh – 2d – 7c

After being dealt five face-up cards, PLAYER A has One Pair: Aces.

PLAYER A decides to continue with the hand, and places a $1 chip in the First Draw circle. PLAYER A now has $3 total committed to this hand.

PLAYER A decides to keep the two aces and discard the other three cards.

Ac – Ad – x – x – x

The dealer provides three new face-up cards to replace the three cards that were discarded by PLAYER A.

Ac – Ad – Ah – 3c – 5c

PLAYER A now has Three of a Kind: Aces – which is a good enough hand to win on all bets so far. The hand is also strong enough to automatically win a final bet, as long as PLAYER A does not discard any of the aces.

PLAYER A decides to continue with the hand, and places a $1 chip in the Second Draw circle. PLAYER A now has $5 total committed to this hand.

PLAYER A decides to keep the three aces, and chooses to discard the Three of Clubs. Remember, the second draw round allows the player to discard one card only.

Ac – Ad – Ah – x – 5c

The dealer provides one new face-up card to replace the Three of Clubs that was discarded. By PLAYER A.

Ac – Ad – Ah – Kc – 5c

PLAYER A shows down Three of a Kind: Aces.

Since the hand is strong enough to be a winner, the dealer will pay out the corresponding amounts of each bet.

Since the Ante and Draw bets all pay out 1:1 for any hand that is Two Pair or better, PLAYER A receives a $1 payout for each of those bets.

However, the payouts for Bonus bets can be much larger depending on the strength of the poker hand at the end of all betting rounds.

Usually, Three of a Kind will pay 1:1 for Bonus bets. So that means that PLAYER A will also receive a 1:1 payout on the Bonus bet for the Three of a Kind.

In total, PLAYER A committed $4 to the hand. Each of the four $1 bets were paid 1:1 by the dealer, so the player wins a total of $4 for the above example.

This means that if the player began the hand with a $25 chip stack, the player now has a total of $29 in chips and can decide whether to stand up from the table or play another hand.

double draw poker

Image credit: Samantha Clemens, Las Vegas Review Journal

Double Draw Poker Strategy: The Jokers

A standard 52-card deck is used when playing Double Draw Poker. This means that there are 13 cards of each suit (spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs): 2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-T-J-Q-K-A.

The ace can be used to complete A-2-3-4-5 straights as well as A-K-Q-J-T straights.

But one very unique facet of Double Draw Poker casino games is the use of the two jokers that come with the 52-card deck. So basically, there will be a total of 54 cards in the dealer’s deck before a hand begins.

One thing to note is that the two jokers are NOT wildcards in all situations. You can’t use a joker as any card in the deck.

Jokers in Double Draw Poker can only be used as Aces, or to complete a straight or flush (or straight flush or royal flush).

This makes quite a bit of difference in terms of Double Draw Poker strategy, as you CAN’T use a joker card to complete a Three of a Kind, Four of a Kind, or Full House – unless the card needed is an ace.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples of jokers in play.

PLAYER B: Jh – Jc – JOKER – Qh – Kh

In this case, PLAYER B would have only One Pair: Jacks. If this is PLAYER B’s hand with one more draw round remaining, then proper Double Draw Poker strategy would require PLAYER B to discard the Jack of Clubs.

This is due to the 50:1 payout on the Bonus bet if a player makes a Royal Flush using one or more jokers. So, when placing the Second Draw bet, PLAYER B would discard the Jack of Clubs in hopes of receiving either a Ten of Hearts, Ace of Hearts, or another joker to complete a Royal Flush.

PLAYER B: Jh – x – JOKER – Qh – Kh

If the new card provided by the dealer after the Second Draw bet has been placed is the Th, Ah, or the other joker, then the Bonus Bet will pay handsomely.

If the new card is another heart (that’s not the Th or Ah), then the player still makes a Heart Flush and can collect 1:1 on the Ante and Draw Bets along with a 3:1 payout on the Bonus Bet.

Your hope here is obviously to hit a Royal Flush, and PLAYER B has three total outs to do so.

Double Draw Poker: Bonus Bet Payout Table

The Bonus Bet payout table in Double Draw Poker is everything in terms of house edge.

The greater the payouts on the Bonus Bet are, the smaller the edge that the house will enjoy over any player.

Here is a sample table of what a player might expect for a Double Draw Poker game in terms of Bonus Bet payouts.

Bonus Bet Payouts

Less than Two Pair: LOSE
Two Pair: Push
Three of a Kind: 1:1
Straight: 2:1
Flush: 3:1
Full House: 5:1
Four of a Kind: 20:1
Straight Flush: 50:1
Wild Royal Flush: 50:1
Natural Royal Flush (no jokers): 100:1
Five Aces: 500:1

The best possible hand in Double Draw Poker is Five of a Kind: Aces. This hand can be completed either by having all four aces plus a joker card, or three aces and both of the joker cards.

Since jokers can only be used as aces or to complete a straight or flush, the only Five of a Kind hand that’s possible is with Aces. If a player has four jacks and a joker, that hand will be graded as Four of a Kind.

Ante and Draw Bet Payouts

Less than Two Pair: LOSE
Two Pair or Better: 1:1

As explained above, the Bonus Bet payouts are where a player can quickly achieve a big win when lucky enough to make a huge hand.

Double Draw Poker Strategy: When to Fold

When the correct Double Draw Poker strategy is used, players will only be folding their starting hands about 2% of the time. A folded starting hand will result in the player losing both the Ante bet and the Bonus bet.

Basically, a player will be folding all starting hands that do not contain a single pair, “two to a straight flush” or two consecutive straight cards.

Example: Qh – Tc – 7d – 5h – 2s

This starting hand in Double Draw Poker should immediately be folded, which means that the player will forfeit the Ante and Bonus bets, but won’t be forced to continue with the hand and make subsequent draw bets.

Example: Qh – Jc – 7d – 5h – 2s

The player should continue with this hand since there are two consecutive straight cards present. This means that the player will be discarding the 7d-5h-2s and keeping the Qh-Jc.

The case for folding before the second draw bet is much clearer.

If – after completing the first draw round and receiving three or fewer new cards from the dealer – the player finds it impossible to make a hand of Two Pair or better, then the player should fold. The inability to make a Two Pair or better hand should consider one new card from a potential discard.

Example: Qh – Jc – 7d – 5h – 2s

In this example, the player has ZERO chance to make a hand of Two Pair or better IF the first Draw Round has already concluded.

Remember that the player can only discard up to one single card for the final Draw round, so the best a player could hope to do by discarding one card is to make One Pair. That won’t be good enough to collect on any bets, and this hand is a 100% loser if the first draw round has already occurred.

Example: Qh – Qc – 7d – 5h – 2s

In the above example, the player can still get rid of a single card and have the potential of making Two Pairs or Three of a Kind.

Since card values are not important in Double Draw Poker (except for aces and royal flushes), the player can correctly choose to discard either of the non-paired cards for the final Draw round.

Example: Qh – Qc – x – 5h – 2s
Example: Qh – Qc – 7d – x – 2s
Example: Qh – Qc – 7d – 5h – x

Of course, if the player has already seen one or more of a single card value during the Single Draw betting round, then the player will want to discard that value specifically (because there will be less chance of that card pairing).

Double Draw Poker House Edge

The house edge in Double Draw Poker is entirely dependent on the Bonus Bet pay table, and any variations in how Bonus Bets are paid will impact the overall house edge.

While Double Draw Poker may seem like a casino game that has a relatively small house edge compared to other games like roulette, players should be reminded that most Double Draw Poker hands will require a total of four bets for the same denomination.

Have fun the next time you’re at a casino, and try out Double Draw Poker if you’re looking for a fun card game that allows for the use of jokers.



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David Huber poker author
Written By.

David Huber

David Huber has been involved in the poker industry for close to two decades: initially as a professional online poker player and later as an editor, consultant, writer, and forum manager. Known as “dhubermex” online, David’s poker-related work has been heavily published across numerous websites since 2004.

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