OBJECTIVE OF LOWBALL POKER: Collect more points than other players by winning more rows (hands) and collect royalties.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2-8 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 52-card deck
RANK OF CARDS: Depends on hand ranking
TYPE OF GAME: Casino
INTRODUCTION TO LOWBALL POKER
Lowball or Low Poker are variations of poker in which the lowest hand wins. Any poker game can be reversed and played low, but Lowball poker, in particular, refers to Five Card Draw poker played low. Different Lowball variations use different systems of hand ranking, which can be referenced here. Hands of five different ranks, depending on if Ace is low or high, are better than hands with combinations.
This variant also is known as Ace-to-Five Single Draw Poker. It is a Five Card Draw Lowball variant using ace-to-five hand rankings. This means aces are considered low and straights and flushes don’t count. The highest card in the hand is used for comparison, so, the lowest hand possible is A-2-3-4-5.
Typically California Lowball is played with blinds, but it may also be played with an ante. The dealer pays the small blind and the two players directly to the dealer’s left put out the big blinds. The big blind is equal to the minimum bet.
Each player receives five cards, followed by a round of betting. If there is an ante, betting starts with the player directly to the left of the dealer. When playing with blinds, those count as initial bets, so the player to the left of the player to put out the last big blinds begins the betting. Big blind players may raise.
After the first round of betting is complete, players can discard as many cards as they please and the dealers passes them replacement cards. A second round of betting ensues. The betting begins with the first active player directly to the left of the dealer.
Lowball is a fixed limit game. However, some double the minimum bet after the draw.
The game can be played with Jokers. The joker is a fitter, and can be used to represent the lowest ranking card not in hand. For example, a hand with 10-7-3-A-Joker is 10-7-3-2-A.
KANSAS CITY LOWBALL
Kansas City Lowball also goes by the name Deuce to Seven Single Draw and Billy Baxter Lowball since he won this game several times at the World Championships. In this variant, aces are high and both flushes and straights count. Flushes and straights, remember, are bad hands in Lowball. Also, A-2-3-4-5 is not a straight, because aces are considered high. The best hand possible in Kansas City Lowball is 2-3-4-5-7.
This variant is much like California Lowball, the deal, draw, and betting are similar. This game, however, is not played with Jokers.
Once again, this variant uses Five Card Draw rules but employs ace-to-six ranking. This ranking considers aces low and straights and flushes are legal.
TRIPLE DRAW & DOUBLE DRAW
Triple Draw and Double Draw Poker are played exactly in the same manner as traditional Five Card Draw, with additional chances to draw (and improve your hand) as well as bet. This variant is played with blinds- a small put out by the dealer and two big blinds put out by the active players to the left of the dealer.
After the initial draw there are two or three other opportunities players have to discard, draw, and bet. In Triple Draw there is a total of 4 betting rounds.
If the dealer runs out of cards, the discarded cards are shuffled and act as the new deck.
At showdown there are two possibilities for evaluating hands:
- Deuce to Seven
- Ace to Five