What Is Lowball Poker?

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Jeffrey | Poker Articles, Poker Rules

Submitted by Dave, this article belongs to the Poker Rules series.

Lowball poker is the encompassing term used to describe poker games which use lowball hand rankings as opposed to the more conventional high hand rankings systems. When playing lowball poker the nuts is always a low hand such as A-2-3-4-5 or 2-3-4-5-7 but obviously it depends on which game you are playing and which lowball hand rankings system it uses. This article will look at the different lowball poker hand rankings and which games use them.

The most popular system of hand rankings where lowball poker games are concerned is the ace to five system. When playing using the ace to five hand rankings the holy nuts is A-2-3-4-5 also known as the wheel. Aces are low cards and never high cards whilst straights and flushes don’t count for anything. Hands are ranked using their highest card first so 6-5-4-3-2 would always beat A-2-3-4-7 at showdown.

Razz poker uses the ace to five hand ranking system and is by far and away the most well played lowball poker game. Razz became popular in 2004 and was added to online poker sites soon after the first Razz WSOP final table was televised. It’s not a difficult game to learn and if you can already play Seven Card Stud then you should have no problems getting to grips with Razz poker.

The deuce to seven hand rankings system is another lowball system and is used when playing 2-7 Single Draw and 2-7 Triple Draw. The best possible hand is 2-3-4-5-7 because Aces are always high cards and straights and flushes do count as high hands and therefore count against you. Again the highest card is used first to determine the winner.

2-7 Single Draw and 2-7 Triple Draw are both relatively popular online with Triple Draw much more popular in the ring game format and Single Draw more popular as a tournament game. Both games have events at the World Series of Poker and are growing in popularity online and offline as the poker boom continues.

There are two other lowball hand rankings system of note. The first is ace to six which is nearly the same as ace to five accept straights and flushes do count against your hand. The nuts is an unsuited A-2-3-4-6. London Lowball is pretty much the only game which uses the ace to six system. The second system you might encounter is the 2-6 lowball hand rankings. The best possible hand is 2-3-4-5-6, aces are always high cards and straights and flushes don’t count against your hand.

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