One of the most popular Five Card Draw variants is 2-7 Lowball. It happens to also be one of the most popular lowball games in poker.
Once a staple of card rooms, especially in California, its popularity dropped following the Poker Boom. However, when mixed games started to regain popularity online, so did Lowball.
Nowadays, you can't consider yourself a well-rounded poker player unless you can play Lowball poker.
Basic 2-7 Lowball Rules
Learning 2-7 Lowball is quite simple. The object is to make your lowest five-card hand.
Straights and flushes count against you and aces are always high in this game. As such, the lowest possible hand is a non-suited 7-5-4-3-2, also called a wheel.
The structure of the game is quite simple. Lowball games are usually six-handed and each players gets dealt five cards at the start of each hand.
A button marks a dealer position and small and big blinds are posted just like in Texas Hold'em. Betting action proceeds the same as it would in Hold'em.
There are two forms of Lowball, NL Single Draw and Limit Triple Draw.
If you are playing Triple Draw, there are three drawing rounds with a round of betting after each.
Players can draw up to five cards or they can Stand Pat.
In NL Single Draw, there is only one drawing round with a round of betting afterwards.
The rules for showdown are the same in both NL and Triple Draw. The player with the lowest five-card hand wins the pot.
Starting Hand Strategy
When first starting out with Lowball, you will want to stick with hands that require as little drawing as possible.
For triple draw, you want to stick with hands that require you to draw no more than two cards.
Your best option is to stick to three or four card sevens or eights (meaning the highest card in your hand)
Holding an open-ended hand is not ideal as you take away outs. For example, if you hold 3-4-5-6, your only out to a solid hand is an eight.
For NL Single Draw, you really want hands that allow you to draw just a single card since you only have one shot at your draw.
In this game, you're going to look for four card sevens, eights and even nines. If you are dealt a made jack or lower, don't be afraid to play it aggressively.
Push Your Made Hands
Lowball is a game where you don't want to slow play your made hands. This is obviously more applicable to Triple Draw than NL.
If you have a made hand before the last draw, bet it aggressively. This will help push out players drawing to weaker hands or those that still need multiple cards to catch their draw.
Don't be afraid to push a made nine or ten against a player that is clearly still drawing, especially if they are drawing at least two.
Playing your made hands weakly will give your opponents a chance to outdraw you.
Granted, there are times they may still call you down and try to outdraw you. Just smile and rake in the chips when they miss.
Call A Single Bet in Triple Draw With Made Hands in Most Spots
Triple Draw Lowball is a game where players will often represent a hand at the end, especially if they were only drawing a single card.
Other players will also bluff much more frequently in Triple Draw due to the difficulty of making a solid low hand.
When you have a made hand of ten or lower in Triple Draw, don't be afraid to call a single bet at the river, especially if this player is known to frequently bet the river.
Obviously, you want to trust your reads, so if you are against a tighter player that you know will only bet at the end with a solid hand, and then you can fold.
However, you will discover that many times that a river bet by an aggressive player is a bluff or they are betting a weak low like a King or Queen.