If you don’t feel like playing Hold’em or Omaha anymore, 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball might be an appealing option for you.
It’s become the de facto game of choice for the elite high-stakes games online and a new $1,500 event at the WSOP has helped a surge of interest in the game at the lower stakes.
It’s fun, complex and a great way to expand your poker knowledge while getting an edge on all the other newcomers soon to follow you to the game.
Our comprehensive beginner strategy series will give you all the basic knowledge you need to get into the game online. Find a complete guide to 2-7 Triple Draw Poker rules right here.
2-7 Triple Draw Strategy: Starting Hands
In 2-7 Triple Draw starting hands are just as important as they are in all poker games.
Keep in mind, as a rule of thumb, that you should never draw more than three cards.
Also: Ideally, one of your cards is a deuce (two).
How to Play "Pat" Hands
These are the hands you “stand pat” with, meaning you won’t draw even once.
The advantage of these hands is that they win pretty often; the disadvantage is that they give their strength away immediately.
If you hold 7-6-5-3-2 or 8-5-4-3-2, you should definitely not draw but bet as much as you can.
If you hold a 9-7, meaning a hand where the two highest cards are a 9 and a 7 as in the third example above, you might want to get rid of the 9 and draw to a monster with a 5 or a 6.
Hands that Draw One Card
There’s a pretty wide range of hands where you’ll want to only draw one card. This applies to all the hands that contain:
The next group to draw one card includes:
- 8-6-5-2 and so on up to 8-7-6-3
All these hands are often favorites to win the pot when they go to showdown.
With all these hands you should play aggressively and cap before the first draw, meaning you try to get in the fourth and last possible bet.
How you play after the first draw depends on the card you get and the number of cards your opponent is drawing.
Hands That Draw Two Cards
In the majority of hands, players draw two cards in the first round. The best hands that draw two cards in the first round of 2-7 Triple Draw are:
With all these hands you’re drawing to a seven high, and seven-high hands are the best in the game. The following group of hands is also strong, but not that easy to play. They are hands with a 6 in them, like 6-3-2, 6-4-2, 6-5-2, and 7-6-2.
The problem with these hands is the straight draw (see introduction) but they still have a lot of potential.
On the button you can also play hands like: 8-3-2, 8-4-2 and some hands without a deuce like 8-5-3 and 7-6-3.
Hands that Draw Three Cards
As in most poker games, tight-aggressive play is a good strategy for beginners. Get rid of your weak hands and only play hands that draw three cards in special situations. The hands you can play are:
All of them have enough potential to play them in the following situations:
- To steal the blinds
- To defend the blinds
For a steal, you also need position; to defend it’s the pot odds that justify a call of a raise. All other hands, where you would have to draw four or five cards, you shouldn’t play. Get rid of them and wait for a better one!
Key Takeaway for Basic 2-7 Triple Draw Strategy
It’s particularly important to hold a deuce in your starting hand. You want to draw from low to high cards and not the other way round.
As an example, it’s much better to hold 7-3-2 and draw to a 4 or 5 than hold a 7-6-5 and draw to a 2 or 3. You can play a higher number of hands on the button than in any other position.
Tight-aggressive play means that you play your hands actively and raise with them rather than call.
2-7 Triple Draw Starting Hands Table
|Pat Hands||Hands that Draw One||Hands that Draw Two||Hands that Draw Three|
2-7 Triple Draw Strategy: How to Play Draws
This is an important phase of your game as it lays the cornerstone for winning or losing the pot. For beginner purposes it can be separated it into three parts:
- General strategy
- Playing in position
- Playing out of position
General 2-7 Draw Strategy
The most frequently asked questions for beginners in 2-7 often revolve around:
- When to draw
- How many cards to draw
- Which hands we're drawing for
- When to check or bet
Unfortunately in poker there are rarely occasions where you can give one definite answer. But there are often basic rules and guidelines that help you develop your personal best strategy.
The first thing you need to pay special attention to is the number of opponents. In heads-up play an 8-high or 9-high hand might well be good enough to take down the pot.
If you have more than one opponent, though, a 9-8 or 9-7 is rarely good enough to win. Secondly, watch carefully for how many cards your opponent is exchanging.
The more cards he takes, the more likely his hand is not very good.
Also, remember what cards you are throwing away. If you start with a hand like 7-7-5-2-2, not only are you drawing to the nuts you're also taking a seven and a deuce out of the game that no one else can have.
When should you bet, then? If you have the initiative, keep it if the draw has made your hand better.
You can check if that is not the case. Once you’ve gathered some experience, you can start taking over the initiative with bets or checkraises.
Playing in Position
Position might be even more important in 2-7 Triple Draw than in Hold’em or PLO. Not only do we get information about whether our opponent is checking or betting, we also learn how many cards he mucks before it's our turn.
This is a major advantage -- especially regarding how strong your hand has to be to win.
Let’s say we have a 9-7 hand. If our opponent takes three cards, we can keep the nine. We should certainly get rid of it if our opponent only takes one, because our 9-7 is probably no good.
Betting in position is not a complicated strategy:
- If you have a made hand or you’ve drawn less cards than your opponent, you should bet.
If your hand doesn’t get any better and/or you're exchanging the same number of cards, you should check behind.
Playing Out of Position
Your playing style here is pretty much the opposite of when you're in position. As there are only 52 cards and 2-7 is usually played on 6-max tables, you should really only play strong hands in early position.
Sadly, these don’t come up very often. The result is that you will often play from the blinds when you are out of position.
From that position you will mostly check to your opponent and try to get more information from him.
If your hand is made after the second draw, a check-raise can often get you more value. In many cases you will get another raise or bet because your opponent doesn’t give you credit for a really strong hand.
However, if you are out of position, and your draw didn’t help, you will have to make a decision about your hand going to the second draw when the bets double.
If you still have to exchange two cards after the second draw, you should generally not call the next bet but give it up.
Play on the River
After the third draw there is either a showdown or one of the players makes the others fold. You’ll usually find yourself in one of two scenarios:
- Your draw didn’t come in
- You have a made hand
Contrary to No-Limit Hold’em, where you can often take down the pot with a large overbet, there are not many chances to bluff in 2-7 Triple Draw.
If you’ve been drawing to a big hand, the pot is probably so big that your opponent will get extremely good odds for a call.
But this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to bluff. There's always the possibility your opponent missed his hand, too, or doesn’t have a really good hand.
Example A - Your Draw Doesn't Come In
You hold a 7-5-4-2, so you’re drawing for a 3, 6 or 8. Unfortunately, on the third draw, you get a 5.
With a pair of fives in your hand you’ll almost never win the pot at showdown. Let’s say there's $7 in the pot and your opponent has also taken one card on the third draw.
In this situation a $1 bluff can actually work. You only have to win one-in-eight hands to make this move profitable - and it's possible your opponent was drawing to a worse hand and hit a pair, too.
Even if he now has a lower pair than you do he'll probably not be able to call your bet. This can even work out of position.
You can also try to bluff-raise, but this is very risky, as it rarely successful and always expensive.
In general, you shouldn’t try to bluff very often and don’t bluff hands that have showdown value anyway.
Example B - You Have a Made Hand
If you have a made hand the question is always if you should bet out or not, or if you should call or not. The most important information for you is what happened during the draws.
If your opponent is not drawing a third time you should probably not bet anything worse than a 9-6 or a 9-5. Heads-up, sometimes a jack high is still good enough to win the pot. However, you shouldn’t bet it because a weaker hand is not going to call.
It is more advisable here to check through or maybe call one bet. 7-high hands you should of course always raise; 8-high hands most of the time, too.
As in all Limit games play on the river is of great importance as this is where you can win – or lose - additional bets.
Golden 2-7 Strategy Rule(s) Apply
The last betting round in 2-7 Triple Draw differs significantly from NLHE and PLO, mainly due to the structure of limit poker.
However, the 2-7 Triple Draw Golden Rule:
- You should only bet if your opponent might be willing to call with a worse hand
is valid here, too.
Bluffs are rare, but not impossible.
No Simple Recipe for 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball
2-7 Triple Draw is a fascinating game characterized by a lot of swings. Be aware of this before you begin.
There is no simple recipe for 2-7 Triple Draw as there is none for any poker game.
As a rule of thumb, we advise you to start as a solid player. Play tight-aggressive and select your hands carefully.
As a beginner, get some experience on the lowest levels before you start moving up!