Lowball Poker Rules
Lowball Poker Rules - How to Play Lowball Poker
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Lowball is a form of poker that is similar in hand ranking to the low end of Omaha Hi/Lo. The object of the game is to get the lowest possible poker hand. Lowball is not offered at all casinos, but it is an exciting draw game. The action only contains two betting rounds and one draw phase. 5 Card Draw players will find the structure of Lowball to be identical with the hand ranking being completely opposite.
Lowball is a pretty straightforward draw game. Each player is dealt five cards. From those five cards, the player must decide whether or not he wants to stay in the hand. The action will begin with the player sitting to the left of the big blind. The small blind and big blind sit in that order to the left of the dealer.
The first round of betting goes around (all betting goes clockwise), and then we enter the draw phase. During the draw phase, each player can choose to discard any amount of their cards. If you choose to discard no cards, this is referred to as standing pat. The dealer will give you an equal amount of new cards to the amount that you discarded.
After the draw phase, the second round of betting occurs. This is the final round of betting. Lowball is a fast-paced game with only one draw phase and two betting rounds. Players used to games such as 2-7 Triple Draw Poker may find this dramatic down-size in draw phases a little difficult to get used to at first.
However, just like in 2-7 Triple Draw, straights and flushes do not count against the low value of the hand. Therefore, A-2-3-4-5 is the best hand in Lowball. This hand represents a five-card 5 high hand.
The object of Lowball is to have the lowest hand. You have to be careful of your hand selection when you're choosing starting hands. If you're not on a nice draw from the start, you're better off not even bothering to call the bet. You'll be wasting money trying to complete the unlikely.
Bluffing is very common in Lowball because very rarely are people just dealt the nuts - most players are drawing to it. If the pot's right and they have position, players will bluff a lot in Lowball. There are no community cards, so it's all about knowing your opponents. Once committed, a lot of players have a hard time letting go, especially if they're the ones firing off the bets.
Don't be afraid to fold. Your position makes a difference so be sure to choose your hands and betting accordingly.
Playable Starting Hands
The best starting hands are hands where you don't have to draw. If you're sitting with a 5, 6, 7 or 8 high hand, you have an optimal hand. If you have to draw more than one card you should never play the hand in early position. The later the position, the more leeway you have to play a little more loosely or aggressively depending on the action before you.
Lowball is a fun poker game that requires some skill, patience and the ability to be able to read your opponents. Being able to make the right reads as to your opponents success or failure during the draw phase is crucial. You may want to use the stand pat tactic where you call the first bet, stand pat and bet following your opponent's check. This is a position tactic. Overall, be aware of your position and choose your hands wisely. If you're beat, get out of the hand. Don't be afraid to fold 'em.