5 Common Forms of Lowball Poker
Lowball poker is any form of poker where the lowest hand wins. Out of all poker variants, lowball is probably the least spread form of poker in live and online poker rooms. However, there are several variants of lowball out there and you should have a basic understanding of all of them if you want to be a well-rounded mixed games player.
Today, we will go over the most common forms of lowball poker and how prevalent they are in modern-day poker.
Razz is Seven Card Stud played for low. There’s no qualifier, so the best hand is a wheel or A-2-3-4-5. Aces are always low in this game and suits don’t matter. Otherwise, the game is played like Stud, except that the high cards bring it in and the lowest hand opens subsequent betting rounds.
Razz can be found at larger online poker rooms like PokerStars but is rarely spread in smaller rooms. It is most prevalent in mixed games like HORSE and 8-Game. In live poker, you won’t see Razz much outside of the World Series of Poker or in mixed games.
California Lowball is another name for A-5 Lowball. It is a lightly spread draw poker variant based on Razz rules. The best hand is a wheel and aces play low. It is rare that you will see A-5 lowball spread in online poker games.
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California Lowball can be found in a few live poker rooms, particularly in California. However, it is a dying game. In tournament play, you will generally only see the game offered in Dealer’s Choice games or in the rare Mixed Lowball tournament.
Kansas City Lowball
Kansas City Lowball is another term for 2-7 lowball. It’s another lowball Draw poker variant but straights and flushes count against you. Also, aces play high only. The best hand in the game is 7-5-4-3-2, also known as a wheel or #1. The game is generally played in a Triple Draw format and is often referred to as Triple Draw lowball.
Triple Draw is spread fairly regularly at larger poker sites like partypoker, 888poker, and PokerStars. You’ll find both cash games and online poker tournaments for the variant. In live poker, you’ll see the game in many 8-Game or Dealer’s Choice tournaments. You’ll also see the variant spread during the World Series of Poker.
Another lowball Draw poker variant is Badugi. It is a four-card poker game where the object is to get one card in each suit. This is called a Badugi hand. The lowest Badugi wins, with the winning hand being A-2-3-4. If nobody has a four-card Badugi, then the best three-card hand wins. Badugi is another triple draw variant of poker.
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Badugi is much more prevalent in online poker than in live poker. You can find cash games and tournaments at PokerStars and select larger poker rooms. In live poker, you generally only see it spread in Dealer’s Choice games. It is played in cash games at higher stakes but hasn’t quite garnered enough of a following to be offered regularly at lower stakes.
NL 2-7 Lowball
The final variant of lowball we will cover is No Limit 2-7 Lowball. This is a single draw 2-7 variant that is much more popular with the NL crowd. It has the same rules as 2-7 lowball but you get a single draw. The betting is No Limit, so there’s a lot more bluffing in the game than in standard lowball.
This game is popular at the World Series of Poker with at least two standalone tournaments spread each year. Otherwise, you don’t see it a lot in live poker. It is available regularly in online poker at larger poker sites with NL 2-7 Lowball tournaments having the biggest following.