In 5 Card Draw you only get two rounds of betting however how you integrate your betting into your card plan is essential to your strategy. Betting is how you and your opponents indicate what cards you claim to have and in a game where you don’t get to see any cards except your own until the showdown your betting strategy is vital.
To start with you should only be playing a strong hand in the first round.
The stronger your hand is the more sense it makes to raise because you are going to do that anyway. Although this may send out a signal that you are holding a strong hand in 5 Card Draw there tends to be plenty of players who keep going to the draw in the hope that they will make a significant difference to their hand. However, your position relative to the dealer is very important before you consider betting. The closer you are to the blinds the less chance you have to learn about your opponents before committing yourself. If you are holding a mediocre hand you want to see what happens around the table first. So rather only call until you get an idea of what you are up against. In general, the nearer you are to the blinds the tighter your game should be when it comes to betting. Also, avoid getting caught up in a round of raising unless you are holding a very strong hand. If there have been two raises already at the table then you are better off calling. If you win the pot you are still making chips and if you don’t then you just saved yourself some money.
If you are late at the table, that is, far from the blinds, then take advantage or your position. If everyone else calls then you can still raise even with an average hand because it looks like the others are holding tight for the draw. A raise in this position can scare off the opposition and win you the pot without any further action.
As much as your own betting habits are important so are your opponents. Keep an eye out for loose players who always call before the draw so that they can try their luck at improving their hands. If you a good hand but not necessarily a certain winner you should still raise if there are only a few player still in the pot and one of them is a loose player. After all, there is a good chance that he hasn’t got anything just like every other round where he kept going with a no hoper.
Most of the time the player holding the best hand before the draw tends to still have the best hand afterwards. If your opponents were limping along calling your raises before the draw they probably aren’t too confident in their own hands. Assuming you have a strong hand, and you shouldn’t be raising before the draw if you haven’t, then keep raising afterwards. It is unlikely that they pulled ahead.