LOWBALL DRAW

So far we have been discussing many different variants of open play poker.

But one variant of closed poker has still been widely played in some of the cardrooms in California, where only closed poker had been legal until 1987.

This game would be lowball draw, also known as California lowball or ace-to-five draw.

The structure of lowball draw would vary widely, depending on where the game was being played
and the limit that was being played.

But most games have had one or more blinds, and some games particularly those at the lower
limits have required each poker player to make a small ante.

The deck used for lowball draw has contained the standard fifty-two cards, plus a pitch joker,

Each poker player has been dealt five cards. Then there would be a round of betting, after which
those players who have remained could either stand pat that is, not draw any cards or draw from one to five cards.

A final round of betting has then taken place. If two or more poker players have remained after
the final round of betting, the hands have been shown down, and the lowest hand has won with
five-four-trey-deuce-ace having been the best possible hand.

As in razz, straights and flushes have not counted. Besides, one additional rule has been exclusive to lowball draw: The ‘must bet sevens’ rule.

This rule has stated that if you were to make a seven or better after the draw, you would have
to bet it or you would be deprived of any additional action.

For instance, if you have made a seven and then have checked and called, you couldn’t have
won the after-the-draw bet, even if your hand was to have been good.

Tip No. 1: You shouldn’t fall in love with the joker.

The best card to have in lowball draw would obviously be the joker, and it categorically would
make your play poker hand stronger.

But holding the joker wouldn’t mean that your hand would automatically be playable. Many other features would have to be considered before entering the pot.

Tip No. 2: In an early position, you would need at least a seven-five to draw
to if you weren’t holding the joker.

If you were to be in an early position, many poker players were still left to act behind you, plus you were to have to act before they would after the draw.

Therefore, to play in this spot, you would need a fairly good poker hand. This would limit you to a one-card draw to at least a seven-five.

Tip No. 3: If you were to have the joker, you could draw to any seven
up front.

Holding the joker would make a major difference. You now could catch more cards that would make your poker hand, and you would be holding fewer cards that could holdem pair.

Likewise, the fact that you would be holding the joker would mean that no one else could have it.

Tip No. 4: You shouldn’t play a pat nine up front.

If you were to be holding a nine, eight, six, five, four in an early position, you should throw it away. If you were to be dealt a nine, five, four, three, and deuce up front, usually you should play it as a one-card draw to a wheel.

The only exception would be when you would be against the blind, who would act before you would, and he would draw two cards. In this case, you could stand pat.

Tip No. 5: You could draw to weak hands in the late positions, providing that you would be the first player to enter the pot.

There would be two different reasons for this. First, you would not be as possible to run into a good poker hand.

Second, if you would get action, it most likely would be from one of the blinds, and you would have position over him after the draw.

You could even play a two-card draw if you were to be first in from a very late position.

Tip No. 6: When first in any position, you should almost always raise.

There would be two reasons for raising. First, you could pick up the blinds if no else were to play. Second, in lowball, unless you were to holdem poker start with a very strong poker hand, your edge over a rival even if he were to draw several cards would not be that great.

Hence you wouldn’t want to give anyone in the blind a free shot at you.

Tip No. 7: If someone else were to have already entered the pot, yourminimum playing hand would have to be the minimum hand you would play if you were first in from that position.

For instance, if someone were to raise up front, you could call with

but you would have to throw away

Tip No. 8: Usually you should re-raise with a draw to a six or better or with any pat that you would be going to play.

Any draw to a six or better would be a strong poker hand, and you would have to play it as such.

Still, the reason you would re-raise with some of your weaker pat hands would be to drive out the competition, as these hands would play best only one rival.

Tip No. 9: After the draw, you should be willing to bet your bigger pairs.

When you were to make a hand like a pair of eights, the only way you could win would be to bluff. So typically you should bet them, particularly if you would be the first to act.

Tip No 10: When you were to be the first to act in a heads-up pot after the draw, usually you should bet if your hand were to be a nine or better.

Exceptions to this would be if your rival would not draw any cards or if the action before the draw was to pointing out that he was drawing to a very strong poker hand.

You would lose a lot of these bets, but against typical poker players, they would show a profit in the long run.

Tip No. 11: When you would be the last to act in a heads-up pot after the
draw and it were to be checked to you, usually you should bet if your hand would be a ten-eight or better.

Again, an exception would be if your opponent would be playing a pat playing many hand. Otherwise, these bets would have to show a profit over the long term.