Single Draw Lowball is known as an old-timer’s game but has recently regained a bit of popularity due to the advent of draw games on internet poker sites. On the rare occasions when a Single Draw game is spread in a brick and mortar casino, it is not uncommon to hear the familiar joke of “There are six guys playing in that lowball game, and between them they have over five hundred years of poker experience.” Single Draw Lowball can be played in both the ace-to-five and deuce-to-seven variants, and is typically seen as a cash game unless it’s part of a very generous mix of 10 games or more. This game can be played with structured betting limits or with a big bet structure, and both types offer many interesting situations and bluffing opportunities for the ambitious poker player.
Following the tips below will certainly help you maximize your profits at the Triple Draw tables.
It is Very Difficult to Complete a Two Card Draw
Many novice players get excited when they see three low cards in their hand, but the truth is that if you’re playing a hand in which you plan to draw two cards, then you had better be raising before the draw, as you are essentially bluffing. Even if the three cards you are keeping are the best three possible, you’re still a considerable dog against any reasonable one card draw, and a huge dog against a made hand. If you do in fact draw two cards and are lucky enough to make a strong hand, then you might as well go for a big bet, because no one is likely to give you much credit for a real hand.
Don’t be Afraid to Steal Before the Draw
Single draw can be played with antes but is more commonly played with blinds. In either case, if everyone has folded to you in late position, you should frequently attempt a steal raise before the draw. This is because it is difficult to be dealt a strong hand in this game and knowledgeable players are going to want to hold something good in order to call you, especially out of position. In fact, Single Draw Lowball games are sometimes played with both blinds AND antes, and if this is the case in your game, then the pot is so bloated it can often be correct to attempt a steal raise from the button almost regardless of your cards.
This is Not a Game for the Meek
Because it is so hard to be dealt a very strong hand or to make one with only one draw, and because there are no exposed or community cards in this game, there are a great many bluffing opportunities for the enterprising player. Before the draw, any late position raise or reraise is really quite suspect, and big bluffs after the draw are also not at all uncommon. Realistically, any time that both you and your opponent are drawing, if you are going to act first then you’re probably better off betting the majority of your hands, with the good hands obviously for value, and as a bluff when you catch a pair or a paint card. More so than in most other forms of poker, it really pays in Single Draw to develop specific reads on your opponents so that you can make educated guesses on their bluffing frequencies after the draw. If your “strategy” is to just fold every time someone makes a big bet when you have a weak holding, then you are going to be dead meat in this extraordinarily aggressive game.
“Snowing” refers to a rather fun type of bluff that is specific to draw games, in which you stand pat with a weak hand, and then fire a big bet after the draw, hoping to get a fold from your opponent. Getting caught snowing occasionally can help you get paid off when you are dealt very strong pat hands, but it should only be used sparingly since most opponents will find it very odd that you are making a big bet after standing pat, and will often call you out of curiosity or suspicion. Probably the best times to try this rather daring play are when you are up against an unusually tight opponent, when you are up against a new player who is unlikely to understand such a sophisticated play, or in deuce to seven when you hold many of the key low cards in your hand so that it is more difficult for your opponent to make something strong himself.
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