Casinos for You
Take on 2-7 lowball poker with confidence by reading this complete guide with step by steps instructions and expert tips and tricks.
Did you know that 2-7 lowball poker made its debut on the 1973 World Series of Poker? Over the next 37 years, it made schedule 35 times, a testament to its popularity.
Today, it remains among the most sought-after poker games. Not surprisingly, it comes with many variants that you'll need to be familiar with if you want to enjoy the tables at some of the best casinos in the world.
A staple of card rooms, particularly in California, its popularity is a natural extension of the poker boom. To earn your street creds as a poker player, you'd better have your lowball strategy in order.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the basic rules for 2-7 lowball as well as some pointers for winning. While these tips won't make you the next Phil Ivey, they'll still help you slay at the tables.
Fundamental 2-7 Lowball Poker Rules
Like Texas Hold'em, 2-7 triple draw lowball (a.k.a. Kansas City Lowball or 7-5 low) is all about holding the worst conventional poker hand possible. In other words, get excited if you've got a 7-5-4-3-2 clutched in your hands, as long as it's unsuited. We call this hand a wheel.
As you've likely already guessed, straights and flushes count against you.
Most lowball games are six-handed, with each player dealt five cards at the beginning of the hand. Because 2-7 lowball is a "blind game," the player to the dealer's left puts in the small blind. Next, the player to the little blind's left puts in the big blind.
The player to the dealer's left starts with play moving clockwise around the table.
How Lowball Poker Play Proceeds
Players each receive five cards, one at a time facedown. After that, the first betting round starts with the player to the left of the big blind.
Following the betting round, players enter the first drawing round. The player to the dealer's left announces how many cards they'd like to discard. The dealer deals all cards consecutively to that player before moving on to the next one.
If a player chooses to keep their hand intact? This move is known as "rapping pat" or "standing pat." When a player decides to discard their entire hand, they'll get dealt four cards right away and the fifth at the end of the round.
If the last player discards all five cards, they'll receive four facedown. Then, the dealer will "burn" one by dumping it face down on the table before dealing the player their last card.
After all players have received their new cards, the second betting round starts. Again, the player to the left of the dealer goes first.
This pattern of how to play continues until one of two outcomes. Either all players fold except one, or the betting round at the end of the third drawing round comes to an end.
Deuce to Seven Lowball Rules for a Showdown
If you're in the game through the third drawing round, it's time to show your cards. The "worst" hand wins the pot. To determine the winner, hands get counted from the highest card down, with 7-5-4-3-2 (unsuited) as the best hand.
What happens if you have a straight in 2-7 draw lowball? While it doesn't kill your hand, it does lessen its value.
Any hand without a straight, flush, or pair will beat those with them. Any hand with a pair, no matter how low the cards, loses.
Remember that aces are always high. For example, 5-4-3-2-A isn't considered a straight. Instead, it's an A-5 high.
And if two players hold the same hand? They split the pot. Once the player with the best hand claims the winnings, the player to the dealer's left becomes the new dealer.
Variations of 2-7 Lowball Poker
Among the most common variations of lowball poker are Triple Draw and Razz. In some variations, aces can be either high or low. Straights and flushes may or may not count. No matter which variation, however, pairs always count.
- Ace-to-5 low games
- Ace-to-6 low games
- 2-to-6 low games
No matter which version of the lowball card game you play, the rules below will help you stay in the game.
In ace-to-5 low, the best possible hand you can get is A-2-3-4-5, known as the wheel in this format. Aces are low, and flushes and suits don't count.
Games based on this ranking include Razz and Ace-Five Lowball (a.k.a. California Lowball). Razz is a low version of Seven-Card Stud. You'll also follow these rules while playing Omaha Hi-Lo.
What's the best possible hand in ace-to-6 low games? A-2-3-4-6. Straights and flushes count, and aces are low. Also known as 6-4 low, you'll find these rules in London Lowball, the Seven-Card Stud version, too.
In 2-to-6 low variations, aces are high, and flushes and straights don't count. If you end holding a 2-3-4-5-6, congrats! You've got the best hand possible. (Just don't let your face show it.)
Lowball Poker Strategy
Now that you've got a solid handle on the rules for lowball poker and its variants, let's talk strategy. While we'll focus on 2-7 Triple Draw, you can apply these tips to any lowball game.
Two essential factors will impact your success with lowball poker:
- Hand range
In poker, there are several ways that we gain information. They include whether or not our opponents bet and the number of cards they draw. This second element provides us with valuable information.
For example, if an opponent raps pat, you can assume one of two things. They either have a made hand, or they're bluffing. If they draw three, then they're far from a winning hand.
Beyond that, however, it gets trickier.
Nonetheless, here's what we can glean from this. Never draw more than three cards. If possible, stick to two, or better yet, one.
Good starting hands include a "2" in them. Hands with a "3" as the lowest card are also playable to steal or defend the blinds.
As for hands to avoid? Watch out for those containing a "6."
Why? Because they easily build a straight with low cards. Do what you can to avoid this card.
Are you interested in more 2-7 strategy? Check out Bernard Lee's advice.
A Combination of Action and Short-Term Luck
With the 2-7 lowball poker guidelines above and a little practice, you'll quickly gain confidence in this fashionable poker variant. As you practice and hone your skills, you'll start to develop personalized strategies for success. Like acquiring a second sense when it comes to the best time to bluff or bow out.
Deuce to seven lowball games are exciting and entertaining. When you balance short-term luck with know-how, you'll enjoy success. You'll also start to see some decent returns.
Ready to try your hand at 2-7 lowball? Check out our list of the top online casinos.