Triple Draw Lowball is a very fun and exciting form of poker which has had some resurgence in popularity in recent years as sophisticated players have looked to expand their poker repertoires and mixed games have begun to become more prevalent. Triple Draw is well suited for both cash game and tournament formats, and is often featured in mixed games when players are looking to add something different than the usual Stud and Flop games. Triple Draw is most commonly played with a structured limit format, but it is also not terribly unusual to see it being played as Pot Limit or No Limit, and often produces bigger pots than almost any other game for similar stakes. While Triple Draw Lowball can be played in either ace-to-five or deuce-to-seven formats, it is played almost exclusively as the slightly more complex deuce-to-seven format in modern poker and it is that variation that this article will focus on.
It’s Always Best to Start with a Deuce
There are four ways to make a seven low in deuce-to-seven, and naturally you have to have a deuce in your hand to make any of them. Without the all-powerful deuce, the best hand you can make is an eight-six low, and you can’t even make the best ones of those! If you’re contesting the pot multi-way, then there is a good chance that your opponents have deuces in their hands, and thus it is very difficult to pick up a deuce while drawing. Therefore, unless you’re on a steal, you should mostly try to stick to hands that contain a deuce in them.
Beware the Straight Draws
In deuce-to-seven, hands like 3-45-6 or even 2-3-4-6 may look like very good drawing hands, but in reality the presence of a straight draw cripples them. With the former hand, the best hand you can hope to make is the worst possible 8-6 low, and you only have four outs to even that rather dubious holding. The second hand is a bit better with only the inside straight draw and containing a deuce, but since a five will make you a straight, you only have four outs to a seven low, and another four outs to the somewhat mediocre 8-6 low. This is why it pays to start with a hand with both a deuce and a seven (instead of a six) in it, because in that case you are always drawing to the nuts and will never have to face the perils of a straight draw during the hand.
Remember the Advantage of Position
Possibly more so than in any other form of poker, position confers a huge advantage in Lowball Draw Games. When out of position, you are left guessing as to whether your opponent has a made hand or is still drawing, and because of this you often have very difficult high stakes decisions to make on the second and third draws. Conversely, when you are the one in position, you are able to make fairly easy decisions on later streets about whether to draw or stand pat, armed with critical clues to your opponent’s hand strength by how many cards he has chosen to draw ahead of you. When you play in position, you can not only gauge the strength of your opponents’ hands more accurately, but you also will generally make more money with your good hands and lose less with your bad ones, as well as be able to bluff more effectively.
Don’t Slow Play
Most forms of poker have a time and a place for sandbagging (when you have a lock hand and play it weakly early on, in an attempt to entice action from your opponents to try to trap them into losing larger bets on later streets). While there is plenty of opportunity for various types of chicanery in Triple Draw Lowball, unfortunately there really aren’t many good times to attempt a slow play. Even if you are dealt a pat wheel – the best possible starting hand – you are probably better off putting in the last bet or raise on each street rather than slow playing, because the cat is going to be out of the bag as soon as you rap pat anyway.
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