2-7 Single Draw
2-7 (Deuce to Seven) Single Draw is a form of draw poker, sometimes referred to as ‘Kansas City Lowball’. Lowball games reward the best low hand, making it the opposite of games likes Hold’em and Stud, in which the highest hand wins. Like board games Hold’em and Omaha, the game is played with blinds and a button, and is also sometimes played with antes. In Single Draw, each player has the opportunity to discard and draw cards once, though you may ‘stand pat’ (not discard any cards) on the draw.
How to Play 2-7 Single Draw
First, it’s important to understand that the hand rankings are different in 2-7 than in other low games. In 2-7, straights and flushes count against your low hand, and aces are always high. So the best possible hand is: 7, 5, 4, 3, 2. The following 2-7 hands (not a complete list) are ranked from least powerful (#1, which will rarely win the pot) to most powerful (#16, the nuts):
- J, 7, 4, 3, 2 (all the same suit – a flush)
- 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 (a straight)
- 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 (a lower straight)
- 5, 5, 5, 6, 3
- 2, 2, 7, 6, 5
- A, 9, 6, 4, 2
- A, 8, 7, 4, 2
- A, 5, 4, 3, 2 (not a straight – ace-high)
- K, J, 8, 7, 4
- T, 7, 5, 4, 3
- T, 6, 5, 4, 3
- T, 6, 5, 4, 2
- 9, 7, 6, 4, 3
- 8, 6, 4, 3, 2
- 7, 6, 4, 3, 2
- 7, 5, 4, 3, 2
Draw games are played using forced bets known as ‘blinds’, with the player sitting to the left of the dealer button posting a small blind, and the player to their left posting the big blind. The small blind is usually equal to half the size of the big blind. Lowball is also sometimes played with an ‘ante’, which is a small forced bet posted by each player in addition to the blinds.
Each player is dealt five cards face down. There is then a round of betting, where you have the option to either call, raise, or fold. Players still left in the hand after the first round of betting now have the opportunity to draw. This means you can try and improve your hand by discarding some of the cards, and being dealt new ones to replace them. Click the cards you want to discard, and then hit the ‘Discard’ button. You can discard all five cards if you wish. If you feel that you already have a strong hand, you can opt to ‘Stand Pat’. This means that you are choosing not to discard any of your cards. When the draw is complete, another round of betting ensues, with players having the option to bet or fold (if a bet has been made before the action is on them). If no bets are made, players also have the option to check. If more than one player is still left in the hand at this point, a showdown takes place, with the player holding the best hand taking the pot.
So the sequence of action is:
- Five cards dealt to each player
- Betting round #1, beginning with player to left of big blind
- Discard/Draw, beginning with the player to the left of the button
- Betting round #2, beginning with the player to the left of button
- Showdown (if necessary)
In draw games, it is possible for more cards to be needed than are remaining in the deck. In this case, the cards are reshuffled, and play continues using the new deck. For more information on reshuffling in draw games.
Showdown – Determining the Winner
The player with the best five-card 2-7 hand wins the pot. After the pot is awarded to the best hand, a new game of 2-7 Single Draw is ready to be played.
If two or more hands have the same value, the pot is equally split among them. There is no rank of suit for the purposes of awarding the pot. Please remember, this is different from other forms of low or high/low poker, where an ace can be played either high or low. In 2-7, an ace is always the highest card.
In Lowball, most hands that are usually strong in games like Hold’em are weak. Pairs, trips (three of a kind), straights and flushes are always considered to be high hands, and so do not qualify in Lowball. If a hand has no pair, the player with the highest ranking card loses. For instance, if one player has 9-6-5-2-3, this hand beats 10-9-6-2-3. In 2-7 games, aces are always high, and are therefore not good. This means that a player holding J-9-7-3-2 beats an opponent with A-9-7-3-2. The best possible hand is 7-5-4-3-2 of different suits. This is because the hand is low, has no ace and is not a straight or a flush. It’s for this reason that the game is called 2-7 Lowball.
Find out how the different hands compare in Texas Hold'em, Omaha and other games.
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