5 Most Common Forms of Lowball Poker
Lowball poker is a fun variant of poker where the lowest hand wins. It is essentially poker in reverse. For those looking to play something a little different than Texas Hold’em or Omaha Poker, this could be a fun diversion.
Today, we will go over the five most common forms of lowball poker you will find at live and online casinos. We are going to focus on games you will have a chance of seeing in both cash games and poker tournament formats.
Kansas City Lowball
Unless you’re an old-school poker player, you may not have heard the term Kansas City Lowball thrown around too much. Instead, you know it by its traditional name, 2-7 Lowball. In 2-7 Lowball, you make your worst five-card hand but straights and flushes count against you. This means that the lowest hand is 7-5-4-3-2, also known as a #1.
Generally, this game is played in Triple Draw format and with limit betting. It is an action game that can be very swingy depending on your strategy. It is played much more in cash game settings than in poker tournaments.
California Lowball is also known as Ace to Five Lowball. This game uses the same rules as Razz for low. This means that the lowest hand is the A-5 wheel. Also, flushes do not count against you. If you want, you can call this Five Card Draw Razz.
This is another game that’s played in Triple Draw format with limit betting. Unless you’re playing Dealer’s Choice or some form of Mixed Lowball tournament, you are almost always playing this in poker cash games.
Up to this point, we have focused exclusively on five-card games. Badugi is a four-car lowball game where the object is to make a hand with one of each suit. Yes, that means the best hand has one diamond, one heart, one club, and one spade. A hand with all four suits is called a Badugi.
This game is a bit different in that if only one person has a Badugi hand at showdown, they are an automatic winner. If more than one player has a Badugi, then the lower Badugi wins. This game uses Razz rules, so an A-2-3-4 Badugi is best.
This game lends itself to both cash games and tournaments online. However, in live settings, you will generally only see it in cash games. Sometimes you will see it offered in mixed games. This is one game that I wish that the World Series of Poker would add as a standalone game.
NL 2-7 Lowball
This game is much more conducive for poker tournaments. Unlike traditional 2-7 Lowball, this game allows for only one draw. Also, it offers NL betting. This allows players to transfer concepts of NL Hold’em to Lowball poker. This game is found more often in poker tournaments than cash games, especially at the World Series of Poker.
This is perhaps the most hated form of lowball poker in the world. Razz is Seven Card Stud played for low. The game only counts the rank of cards and the lowest hand is A-2-3-4-5, also known as a wheel. It also has a couple of different rules from standard Stud games.
First, the high card is the bring-in on Third Street rather than the low card. Next, action is opened on subsequent streets by the low hand. There are also no double bets on fourth street, similar to what you see in Stud Hi-Lo.
This game is generally spread in mixed cash games and tournaments like HORSE or 8-Game. On occasion, you will find some Razz tournaments, but it is almost exclusively in mixed poker games.