2-7 Triple Draw Poker Basics
As with most poker games, 2-7 Triple Draw Poker is played by two to six players using a standard deck of 52 cards. It is what is known as a lowball poker game which means that the aim is to make the lowest five-card hand possible. However, it does not use the same poker hand ranking as you find in other lowball games, such as Razz or Hi-Low games like Stud or Omaha.
The aim is to form the lowest possible five-card hand and the hand rankings are explained below. While they may take some getting used to, they are not particularly complicated. As with many other forms of poker, 2-7 Triple Draw can be played in Fixed Limit, No Limit and Pot Limit versions. However, Fixed Limit is the most common and it is what this guide shall focus on.
Fixed Limit means that a player must place all bets or raises in a pre-determined increment, which is related to the stakes of the table. For example, in a €1/€2 game, in the first two betting rounds, the bets must be raised increments at the low end of the stakes, i.e. €1, so the bet starts at €1, is raised to €2, re-raised to €3, and so on. In the final two betting rounds the bets are raised in increments of the high end stakes of €2, i.e. bet €2, raise to €4, re-raise to €6, and so on.
How to Play 2-7 Triple Draw Poker
The game uses the same setup as Texas Hold’em, which means that the two players to the left of the dealer place the small and big blind bets. The blind bets are not very big, and are simply there to get the betting started and ensure that there is some money in the pot.
Once the blinds have been placed, the dealer deals out five cards to each player, one at a time, starting with the player in the small blind position. Once the cards have been dealt, the first betting round begins with the player to the left of the big blind.
As is common in poker games, players have three main betting options:
- Fold: The player abandons the hand and any money they have bet. The player’s cards should be kept face down so that the other players do not see them.
- Call: This is when a player matches a bet already placed in the betting round. In the first betting round, it will match the blind bet, unless another player has already raised.
- Raise: This is when a player matches the current bet by calling, and then increases it by raising. After the bet has been raised, all the other players must match it, fold, or raise again.
When the first betting round is complete, the first draw takes place. All players who are still active in the round have the chance to discard as many of their cards as they wish, from one to five, or they can choose to stand pat, which means that they do not exchange any of their cards.
Once all the players have declared how many cards they wish to discard, the dealer begins with the first active player to the left of the button collecting their discarded cards into the muck and replacing them with the new ones. The dealer works around the table until all the players have had their cards replaced.
There is then a second round of betting that begins with the first place still active to the left of the dealer button.
Once the second round of betting is complete, players once again have the chance to discard as many of their cards as they wish and have them replaced. This works in exactly the same way as the first time. It is followed by a third betting round. However, in this round and the next, the big bet is in place, so in a €1/€2 game, the betting increment would be €2.
If there are still players remaining in the hand at this point, then they have their final opportunity to discard cards and have them replaced. Once again, there is no limit on how many cards a player may discard. After this draw is complete, the final betting round takes place and it is followed by the showdown.
If at any point during the draws there are not enough cards remaining in the deck for all players to get new ones, then the dealer will take cards from the muck, reshuffle them, and use them to complete the drawing.
As long as there are at least two players left in the hand after the final betting round, the showdown takes place. The winner is determined using the 2-7 Triple Draw hand rankings and if more than one player has the same winning hand, then the pot is split equally.
2-7 Triple Draw Poker Hand Rankings
As mentioned above, 2-7 Triple Draw has different hand rankings to almost any other form of the game. The goal is the make the lowest five-card hand possible, but it does not use the same rankings as other lowball forms of poker.
To begin with, in 2-7 Triple Draw Poker, the Aces count as high cards not low cards, making them undesirable. If you are dealt an Ace in 2-7 Triple Draw, it is not a card you would usually want to hang on to.
Furthermore, straights, flushes and full houses count against players. If you are dealt a straight for a flush then you do not have a five-card hand, regardless of the card rankings, and you will lose to other combinations.
This means that the best possible hand is 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 (not in the same suit), as this is the lowest possible five-card hand that does not contain a straight, and it is this hand that gives the game its name.
When comparing hands, the game does use the same rules as Razz poker. The player with the lowest card at the high end wins. For example, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 would lose to 3, 4, 5, 6, 8. Furthermore, any five-card hand will always beat a non-five card hand. For example, a hand as weak as 8, 9, J, Q, A is still better than 2, 2, 4, 5, 6. Any four-card hand will beat a three-card hand, and so on.
This does take some getting used to, as it is the opposite of the most famous poker hand rankings. However, it won’t take you long to understand and in some ways it is simpler than the standard high rankings.
2-7 Triple Draw Poker Strategy
Because this game is so different to other forms of poker, the strategy is entirely different. However, there are some basic points that will help you get started.
The first thing you need to learn is how to identify a strong starting hand. This is quite complicated but there are some basic things you can remember:
- Never play a hand that requires you to draw more than three cards in the first round.
- Hands you can play that require you to draw three cards are those that contain a deuce and another low card between 3 and 7
- Hands worth playing that require two cards to improve are usually those that contain a 2 and two more low cards.
- Almost all 8-low and better are hands that you want to play when you just need to draw one card.
If you are lucky enough to be dealt a 7 or 8-low on the first deal, then you should not be drawing. Keep the hand as it is and try to get as much money into the pot as possible.
You also need to understand that the strength of your hand is dependent upon the number of players in the pot. For example, if you are facing just one player, a hand like a 9 or 8-high will often win. However, against multiple players the odds of you winning decrease significantly. It will take you some time to practise this, so it is best to try to find a place where you can play for free.
You will also need to study the role of the different positions. If you are the last to act, you can see how many cards your opponents are discarding, which gives you a vast amount of information. It will allow you to put pressure on players with weak hands, and they will struggle to hide the fact that the hand is weak, as they need to draw to improve. You will also have a better idea of how likely you are to win with your current cards. For example, if you have a hand like 9-8 and both opponents took three cards, you know that your best strategy is to stand pat and keep betting. Once again, this is something that you will begin to understand better with experience.
There is much more that you can study about 2-7 Triple Draw Poker, and there are many resources to help you do so. However, you should now have a good idea of how to get started playing, and can start having lots of fun with this unique poker variant straightaway.