By Gerald Hanks
Gerald Hanks is from Houston Texas, and has been playing poker since 2002. He has played cash games and no-limit hold’em tournaments at live venues all over the United States.
In this lesson we will examine the basics of 2-to-7 Triple Draw, which is a form of lowball and is sometimes referred to as “Kansas City Lowball”. In this game players have the opportunity to discard and draw to try and improve their hands – although the objective of 2-to-7 Triple Draw is to make the best low hand.
In 2-to-7 Triple Draw, aces are always high and flushes, pairs and straights count against a player’s hand. Under these rules, 2-3-4-5-6 is not a winning hand (because it is a straight). Players must break up their pairs, straights and flushes and hope to draw low cards to improve their hands.
As the name suggests, the best possible hand is 2-3-4-5-7, also know as a “seven-low”:
It can be any combination of suits (without making a flush) and these are the lowest five cards that don’t contain a pair or make a straight or a flush.
The typical setup of 2-to-7 Triple Draw is as follows:
After the deal there is a round of betting. At the end of the first betting round, the first active player to the left of the dealer button can choose to draw cards to improve their hand. The player can also choose to “stand pat” and keep the hand as it is. Each player is in turn afforded the same opportunity of drawing cards.
After the first drawing round, another round of betting occurs, starting with the first player to the left of the dealer button. Once the players have called all the bets, players can choose either to draw again or stand pat.
After the second drawing round in a fixed-limit game, the minimum bet doubles. The remaining players draw a third time, followed by a final betting round. The remaining players then go to a showdown, with the winner taking down the pot.
In summary, there are three drawing rounds and four betting rounds (one before the initial draw). In a fixed-limit game the opening two betting rounds are small bets, and the betting doubles for the third and fourth betting round. The game can also be played with just one drawing round, and that version of the game is called 2-to-7 single draw.
2-to-7 Triple Draw rules dictate that the player counts from the highest card in his hand down to the lowest. It’s also much easier to work out your hand is you count backwards from the highest card rather than up from the lowest.
Here are some examples:
This would win against the following hand:
The first hand wins because it has the lowest high card (a nine vs. a ten).
If two hands share high cards of the same value, the next-highest card breaks the tie. For example:
Is lower than:
If hands share the same two highest cards then the winner would be determined by the third, fourth and then fifth card if necessary.
As with many lowball-type games, the drawing strategy may appear counterintuitive to players accustomed to games where high cards, straights and flushes are winning hands.
Players accustomed to Texas Hold’em and other stud games often encounter obstacles when making the transition to draw poker, primarily due to a lack of information about their opponent’s cards. Players therefore need to rely on the betting patterns and drawing habits of their foes. When a hand reaches a showdown you will get to see the hands your opponent plays. This is critical information that will help shape your strategy – provided you have been observant and studied your opponent’s betting patterns, drawing habits and other subtle clues.
With the widening popularity of poker games like Texas Hold’em and Omaha, players can easily forget about the other varieties of the game. For players looking for a break from their regular game, 2-to-7 Triple Draw can prove both an entertaining distraction and a fascinating challenge.