Learn to play A-5 and 2-7 Lowball Poker rules for beginners.
The first poker games most of us learn are 5 Card Draw and Texas Hold’em. Those who learn at a younger age tend to start with 5 Card Draw, as it teaches us basic playing skills and fundamental poker hand ranks, without too much extraneous thought going into it. Texas Hold’em is the natural progression of that, and the most popular poker variant in the world today.
With these lessons aside, there are many more games to be learned. Lowball poker games are one type that serious players tend to gravitate towards later in their skill-building progress. If you’re familiar with both 5 Card Draw and Texas Hold’em, you’ll have no trouble learning how to play lowball poker.
We’ll start by explaining the most common lowball rules, followed by a brief description of some popular lowball games.
Types of Lowball Poker Rules
There are three basic lowball poker formats; Ace to Five (A-5), Deuce to Seven (2-7), and 8 or Better (8B). The A-5 or 2-7 notation denotes the lowest—and therefore best—possible hand. The term 8B refers to the highest qualifying low land.
A-5 Lowball Poker: In this version of lowball poker, the Ace is the lowest card in the deck, and straights and flushes do not count against you. Therefore, A-2-3-4-5—known as “The Wheel” in high/low games—is not a straight. It is, instead, the best hand you can be dealt.
2-7 Lowball Poker: In this edition, the Ace is seen as the highest card in the deck, and all standard hand ranks apply (straight or flush will count against you). The lowest possible hand one can receive is 2-3-4-5-7 (mixed suits). The next lowest would be 2-3-4-6-7, followed by 2-3-5-6-7, and so on.
8 or Better Lowball Poker: This format is generally applied to games in which players are competing for a High and Low hand. The term 8B means that the low hand may not contain any card higher than an 8. The worst possible hand that still qualifies would be 4-5-6-7-8 in A-5 poker games, or 3-5-6-7-8 in 2-7 poker games.
Lowball Triple Draw Poker
Most commonly played as 2-7 Triple Draw, this game is an extended version of 5 Card Draw. Blinds are usually applied, sometimes with antes. Each player receives 5 private cards, followed by a betting round. Those who call the blind/bet may exchange cards for new ones—this being the first “draw” phase. Two more betting rounds and draw phases occur before the showdown. The best hand that applies to the lowball poker rules in use wins.
PLO8B is an acronym for Pot Limit Omaha 8 or Better. The game is so popular, it’s a featured staple of the World Series of Poker, and almost every other major poker festival on the planet. It’s also available at every online poker room worth mentioning.
The game is played with a Pot Limit betting structure, and is a combination of two games in one. First is the traditional game of Omaha Poker, wherein players use 2 of 4 hole cards, and 3 of 5 community cards, to compete for the highest hand. The winner of this hand wins 50% of the pot.
Next, players again use 2 of 4 hole cards and 3 of 5 community cards, this time creating the best possible A-5 lowball poker hand. If any hand qualifies (8 or better), the lowest hand wins the other 50% of the pot. If not, the high-hand winner takes 100% of the pot.
In PLO8B, The Wheel (A-2-3-4-5) is considered the best hand. It is a strong hand to compete for the high pot, and is guaranteed to win, or at least tie, for the low pot.
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