2-7 Triple Draw - long an under-appreciated gem among poker variations - is finally seeing its moment in the sun. A lot of poker's nosebleed action has found itself at the 2-7 Triple Draw tables lately and poker's stars are diving in full force -- be it Gus Hansen, Phil Galfond, Phil Ivey, Viktor Blom, Niklas Heinecker or Sebastian Ruthenberg. Since the game is on the lips of everyone in the poker scene these days it's a good time to learn the basic rules of 2-7 Triple Draw and pick up a couple of useful 2-7 poker strategy hints.
Read on for a closer look at all the essential rules of 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball poker from the betting structure to how a round of 2-7 Triple Draw progresses. Start with our handy 2-7 instructional video below!
2-7 Triple Draw is a Limit Game
2-7 Triple Draw is usually played as a fixed-limit game (just like Limit Hold’em) so there's a small and a big bet. These are twice the blinds and denote the name of the game.
That means in a 50c/$1 game the blinds are 25c/50c. Bets are then 50c in the first two betting rounds and $1 in the second two betting rounds.
If you’ve never played limit poker you might need some time to adjust to the different betting structure. Every hand is limited to four bets which dramatically lowers the fold equity. Read more about Limit betting here:
2-7 Triple Draw - Deal and Game Play (Video)
In 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball (sometimes known as Kansas City Lowball), the goal is to make the worst conventional poker hand. That's right - you're looking for the lowest five-card hand possible, not the highest.
The lowest hand possible in 2-7 Triple Lowball is:
- 7-5-4-3-2 (Unsuited)
2-7 Poker Rules - Betting
2-7 Lowball is a "blind game," meaning the player to the left of the dealer puts in the small blind and the player to the left of the small blind puts in the big blind.
Starting with the player on the left of the dealer and moving clockwise around the table, every player is dealt five cards facedown, one card at a time. Once all players have five cards, the first betting round starts with the player to the left of the big blind.
Once the betting round has completed, the players enter the first drawing round. Starting with the player on the dealer's left, the player announces how many cards he would like to throw away from his hand and receives new ones in return.
The dealer deals all of the cards to that player at once before moving on to the next player. A player can choose to keep his hand intact and not throw away any cards at all. This is known as standing pat or rapping pat.
If a player chooses to discard all five cards, the dealer will only deal them four new cards at once. The fifth card will be dealt after all other players have received their cards
If the player discarding all five cards is last to be dealt cards, the dealer will deal them four cards at once, then "burn" one card (discarding it face down on the table) before dealing hte player his fifth and final card.
Once all players have received their new cards the second betting round begins, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. This pattern repeats until either:
- Only one player is left, the rest having folded
- The players have completed the betting round after the third drawing round
To learn more about betting rounds or blinds, head to this article:
2-7 Lowball Poker Rules for Showdown
- Once all betting is complete the best 2-7 Lowball hand wins the pot
- Hands are counted from the highest card in the hand down
- The best possible 2-7 Lowball hand is 7-5-4-3-2 (with all five cards NOT of the same suit)
- Straights, flushes and pairs DO count against you
- Having a straight does not kill your hand but lessens the value. For example any hand without a flush, straight or pair will beat any hand with a pair, regardless of how low the cards are
- The ace is used only as a high card
- Because the ace is a high card 5-4-3-2-A is not considered to be a straight but an A-5 high
- Any two players holding the same hand split the pot
- Once the player with the winning hand has received the pot the player who was to the left of the dealer becomes the new dealer for the next hand
More 2-7 Poker Rules and Hand Rankings
The two most common variations of lowball poker are Triple Draw and Razz. Depending on the variation, the lowest hand can be ranked in a few different ways.
Aces can be regarded as either high or low and straights and flushes can either count or not. (Pairs always count though.)
Ace-to-5 Low: The best hand possible is A-2-3-4-5 which is called a "wheel." Aces are low and straights and flushes do not count. Games that use this ranking include California Lowball (also called Ace-Five Lowball) and Razz, which is the low version of Seven-Card Stud. This is also used in Omaha Hi-Lo.
Ace-to-6 Low: The best possible hand is A-2-3-4-6. Aces are low and straights and flushes count. It is also called "6-4 Low." This is used in London Lowball, which is a Seven-Card Stud variation.
2-to-7 Low: As explained above the best hand possible on 2-7 is 2-3-4-5-7. Aces are high and straights and flushes count. It is also called "7-5 low."
2-to-6 Low: The best possible hand is 2-3-4-5-6. Aces are high and straights and flushes don't count. This form is very rarely used.
2-7 Triple Draw Lowball Strategy
As in all other poker games two factors are essential for your 2-7 Triple Draw strategy:
Let’s start out with position. Apart from the information we get from our opponent betting or not, we get added information from the number of cards our opponent draws. This is only the case in draw poker.
This second part of information can be extremely valuable. If your opponent stops drawing (he “stands pat”), it usually means he has a made hand – unless, of course, he’s bluffing.
If, on the other hand, he draws three cards he is far away from a made hand.
To find his proper hand range is a lot more difficult. But your first basic rule should be:
- Never draw more than three cards - two, if possible.
These are the top six starting hands in 2-7 Triple Draw:
- 1) 2-3-4-x-x
- 2) 2-3-7-x-x
- 3) 2-3-5-x-x
- 4) 2-4-5-x-x
- 5) 2-4-7-x-x
- 6) 2-5-7-x-x
Which brings us to the second basic rule:
- Good starting hands have a “2” in them
Hands with a “3” as the lowest card – like 3-4-7-x-x or 3-5-8-x-x – are playable to steal or defend the blinds.
Of course, the number of players in the hand is also significant.
Here's your third rule:
- Be careful with hands that contain a “6”
The problem with these hands is you can easily get in trouble by building a straight. Look at a hand like 3-4-5-6-x.
At first glance this looks like a pretty good hand but it's actually terrible as both the deuce – the lowest card in a game of triple draw, as the aces are high – and the seven make a straight, which would count against you.
Every straight with low cards must contain a six, which is why you should try to avoid this card.
How to Make Bets in 2-7 Triple Draw
Limit poker is a lot different from other poker variants in several respects. Two of them are:
Let’s illustrate what this means in practice:
In a 50c/$1 game Player A raises to $1, the small blind folds and the big blind calls. There's now $2.25 in the pot.
Players draw, the big blind checks and Player A bets. Now the big blind raises to $1 and Player A calls. There's now $4.25 in the pot. Players draw again and now the big blind bets out.
Even before the third and last draw Player A gets 5.25:1 pot odds – unthinkable in a No-Limit game. What this means is that Player A can assess the strength of his hand pretty well and thus decide if a call is correct.
Also the big blind has a lot less fold equity than in a No-Limit game; in other words it's much harder to bluff. In practice, you should always bet with your good hands. Any player drawing to beat you must pay the maximum.
2-7 Poker Hands at Showdown
The special appeal of 2-7 Triple Draw is contained in the relative value of different hands. It happens very often that two or more players draw three times so that in the end no player quite knows where he or she stands.
Of course if you hold the nuts - 7-5-4-3-2 offsuit - you do. But then that doesn’t happen very often.
As a general statement you can go with the rule:
- An 8-high or 9-high hand heads-up is in most cases good enough for a showdown.
Of course, a hand like 9-5-4-3-2 is a lot more valuable than a hand like 9-8-7-5-3. On the hand-ranking list for 2-7 Triple Draw, the first nine-high hand is number 19, while the second one is only in 48th position!
Did we mention Isilidur1 plays 2-7?
Bluff catchers are ten- or jack-high hands – in case your opponent has a hand like 8-7-4-2 and is drawing for a six, five, or three, he will often end up with a high-card hand (queen, king, or ace high) or even a pair, which are both very weak hands.
On the river – or after the third draw, in this case - you are always faced with the question of betting one more time or not.
If you have a monster – 7-5-4-3-2, 7-6-4-3-2, 7-6-5-3-2, 7-6-5-4-2 – you should always bet. If not, this well-known rule of thumb applies: Bet if a worse hand than yours can call you.
If this is not the case, you should switch to check-call mode and hope that your opponent is going to bluff.
A Game of Action & Short-Term Luck
These 2-7 poker guidelines are more than enough for you to start out. Try to get a little practice in and you'll soon get a feel for this fashionable poker variant.
Next you'll be able to start developing strategies on your own, like how to pull a bluff on someone. 2-7 has a lot of action, is fun and depends a lot on luck – short-term. Master it and you can bank on some pretty decent returns.
If you want to try out some 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball for free you can access the free games on PokerStars and get an up to $600 bonus by clicking the link below:
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