2-7 Triple Draw: Introduction
2-7 (pronounced: Deuce-to-Seven) Triple Draw Lowball is a relatively young poker variant which is becoming more and more popular. Although it is rarely played in the low and medium limits, 2-7 Triple Draw is already an inherent part of the mixed high stakes cash games in Las Vegas. It is action-packed, easy to learn and who played and understood this thrilling game will yearn for more. In the following article we will introduce the exciting world of Triple Draw and explain the most important winning strategies.
How to play 2-7 Triple Draw?
2-7 Triple Draw Lowball is a button game, i.e. there is a dealer button as well as a small and a big blind. As the name suggests, 2-7 Triple Draw is a draw poker variant, where you can draw cards up to three times. It is usually played 6-max, thus with a maximum of six players. Although Lowball is mostly played with a fixed limit betting structure, i.e. the amount a player can bet or raise is fixed, but every once in a while you can also find pot-limit or no-limit games. To focus on all limit variants would go beyond the scope of this article. This is why we will concentrate on the most common limit variant. In pot-limit and no-limit different rules apply to some extent and decisions are considerably influenced by the size of the stacks.
Limit games are named after the size of the small and big bet. In a $2-$4 limit game the small bet would be $2 and the big bet $4. Accordingly, the small blind would be half the size of the small bet ($1) and the big blind would have exactly the same size as a small bet ($2).
In Deuce-to-Seven the player with the worst five card poker hand wins the showdown. For this reason all so-called made hands, thus e.g. straights, flushes or also a pair aren't good hands. Please note that the ace in 2-7 always plays as a high card, so that there is no straight A-2-3-4-5. This hand would be an ace-high: A-5-4-3-2.
First of all the blinds are posted by the two players to the left of the button, just like in Texas Hold'em. Then each player receives fives cards starting with the small blind.
The first round of betting begins. Each player can fold his cards, call a bet or raise. If nobody has bet yet, you can also check or make a bet yourself. The amount you can bet or raise is fixed and corresponds in the first two rounds of betting to the small bet and in the last two rounds of betting to the big bet. In most cases there is a cap in each betting round after four bets.
The first betting round is followed by the first draw and each player, starting with the small blind, has the opportunity to discard between zero and five cards and receives the same number of new cards in return.
The second betting round begins with the small blind or with the player who is sitting closest to the left of the button. It is followed by the second draw and each player left in the hand, i.e. that hasn't folded yet, can discard between zero and five cards again.
After another betting round there is a third draw under the same rules (hence the name Triple Draw). After the fourth and final betting round there is a showdown, which is won by the worst poker hand. The box below gives you a detailled overview concerning the hand ranking.
Hand ranking in 2-7 Lowball:
One Pair, Two Pair,
Flush, Full House, Quads,
The coinflip principle
Most players that are familiar with Texas Hold'em know that a pocket pair has a 50 percent chance of winning against two overcards up to the river. Situations like those where different hands with approximately the same chance of winning compete against each other are also called "coinflips", since from a probabilistic point of view they are comparable to fliping a coin. It is important to understand against which hands we have a 50 percent chance of winning in order to know if we are in front or behind. There are two coinflip situations you should keep in mind.
Coinflip 1: Jack high vs. one-card draw
In Deuce-to-Seven jack-high is a coinflip against an one-card draw, thus against a player who draws one card. Simulations show that the worst jack high hand (6-8-9-T-J) still is a small favourite against the best one-card draw (2-3-4-7-x). Given that we are playing the hand heads-up. Of course, a jack high doesn't have a 50 percent chance against two one-card draws.
Coinflip 2: 9-high vs. two one-card draws
If we aren't heads up or we are heads-up, but there are still two more draws to come, then a 9-high is a coinflip either against two one-card draws or against an one-card draw who can discard twice.
Coinflip 3: King high vs. two-card draw
Not quite as important, but at least as astonishing as coinflip 1 and 2, is coinflip 3. The best two-card draw (2-3-4-x-x) is still a slight underdog against the worst king high hand (8-T-J-Q-K).
The most important basic elements
The three most important basic elements in Triple Draw are:
The importance of position in this game can't be emphasized enough. There is probably no other limit variant, where position is as important as in Triple Draw Lowball. But why is position so important here?
First of all there is a completely new source of information - apart from the information you get during the betting rounds - which is dependent from your position at the table: namely, the number of cards that are discarded. This information alone is very powerful, since it tells a player exactly where he stands. If, for example, a player in front of him, who is out of position discards a card during the last draw, then he knows that he is a clear favourite with 2-5-7-9-T, if he stands pat and doesn't take a card.
Moreover, the "usual" position arguments, which also take effect in other variants, apply here as well. Being in position means that you have much more information available when it comes to making draw and bet decisions.
The next basic element in the hierarchy "significance" is aggression.
Aggression is very important in fixed-limit Triple Draw, as well as in all other limit games, in order to force an opponent out of the pot. A good 2-7 player plays selective, but when he enters a hand he plays it extremely aggressive by raising or reraising most of his starting hands before the first draw. The aim with good draws is to get heads-up as quickly as possible.
It is always an advantage to be able to read an opponent or to put him on a preferably limited range of hands. In Lowball it is much easier to use this ability than in other variants, since there are, apart from the information acquired during the draws and from the betting behaviour, neither a board (like in hold'em variants) nor personal cards (as in Stud), from which the way you play your own hand could be dependent. It is therefore easier to establish behaviour patterns such as „player A stands pat with each T-high or better". By the way each betting round (except for the last) is followed by a draw, which gives away the approximate strength of a player's hand (in relation to his previous betting behaviour).