The start of the game
When playing Deadwood Poker, every player is dealt three cards face down – these are called your 'holster cards', which are symbolic of two holsters you wear on your belt, and one underneath a pant leg. After the three cards are dealt there is a round of betting where you can Check, Bet or Fold. This stage of the game is known as the pre-duel. How you should bet is dependent on those holster cards, or starting hand. If you are unsure about the value of different poker hand combinations it may be worthwhile checking out our poker hand rankings page.
When all the betting has finished two shared cards are then dealt face up in the middle of the table. This is called The Duel. During this round of betting there are no time limits. You can Check, Bet or Fold.
5♥️ A♠️ - The Duel Cards
During the game
The Quick Draw
After the duel cards have be laid down, then a third shared card – called the Quick Draw – is dealt. During the Quick Draw, you only have 15 seconds to Check, Bet or Fold. If you don't then you automatically have to fold.
5♥️ A♠️ 7♣️
The Shoot Out
Once the betting has finished after the Quick Draw card has been laid, a final shared card – the fourth community card, called the Shoot Out is put down – and then a final round of betting happens. Again during the shootout you only have 15 seconds to Check, Bet or Fold. If you don't then you automatically have to fold.
5♥️ A♠️ 7♣️ K♦️
Your best Deadwood Poker hands will be made by using your three holster cards and the four cards in the middle to make the best possible five card poker hand.
So, for example, if you have 9-9-J and the shared cards are 9-9-A-5 you have four-of-a-kind. If the shared cards were J-Q-K-7 you would only have two nines.
Sometimes the best Deadwood Poker hand is made by the four shared cards on their own. If they were 10-10-10-10 and you had 9-9 your holster cards would not play as there is a four-of-a-kind of higher value already showing.
End of the game
There are two ways a hand can end. One is when the players in a hand turn over their holster cards and the player with the best hand wins. This is known as a showdown. The other is that someone will bet enough that everyone else folds. This is how most hands end in Deadwood Poker and that's the magic of the game – you don't always need the best hand to win.
Now let's recap...
Okay, let's go over how a Deadwood Poker hand works using only poker slang and see if you can keep up:
Firstly, you are dealt your holster cards
Then, there is a round of betting
The players remaining see a duel
Then, there is another round of betting
You see a quick draw card
Another round of betting
You see a final shoot out card
One more round of betting
Finally, the best five card hand wins
Clear? Excellent. If not, have a read of our Poker Terms.