Trees Poker is a fun twist on the classic game of Five Card Draw. It’s not a game you’ll find in any casino, but it’s popular at home games because up to ten players can play at a time, and the trading aspect of the game can get pretty crazy.
The one difference between Trees Poker and Five Card Draw is that in Trees Poker, you don’t discard your cards and then get new ones from the deck. Instead, you trade your cards with other players at the table.
There are no requirement to trade, but if you do trade, there are two rules. First, you can't mention what cards you are trading. Second, you have to always trade equal numbers of cards with your opponents. You can’t give your opponent two cards for one.
Antes and Deal
The antes and deal in Trees Poker is played in the same manner as in traditional Five Card Draw. Each player begins by paying an ante equal in size to 10% of the size of the lower betting limit.
The dealer then gives each player five cards face down, beginning with the player to the left of the dealer. These cards are dealt one at a time so that the first player gets a card, the second player gets a card, and so on until each player at the table has five cards.
If a full-time dealer is used in the game, a small disc called the “dealer’s button” can be used to represent the position of the dealer. The dealer’s button should move one seat to the left at the beginning of each hand.
First Betting Round
After the players have a chance to look at their hands, a betting round begins with the player to the left of the dealer. The player to start the betting may check, place a bet, or fold. The betting action then continues to the left around the table. All bets during this round must be made in increments of the lower betting limit.
Any time a player makes a bet or raise, the rest of the players at the table must at least match that bet or fold. If a player wishes to fold, that player forfeits any previous money contributed to the pot but does not have to pay the current bet.
This is where Trees Poker differs from 5 Card Draw. Instead of discarding cards and getting new ones, the players may now trade their cards for the cards in other players’ hands.
There is no limit on the number of trades that can be made as long as each player always ends up with five cards. The trading continues until no more deals can be made. And remember – the players cannot reveal the cards they intend to trade.
Second Betting Round
After the trading round is finished, there is one last round of betting. Once again, the betting begins with the first player to the left of the dealer. This time all bets must be made in increments of the upper betting limit.
If there are two or more players remaining after the last betting round, they now reveal their cards. The player with the best five card poker hand wins the pot.