Home | Contact | Sitemap

Lowball Draw 

               So far we have discussed many different variations of open poker. But one variation of closed poker is still widely played in some of the card games in California, where only closed poker was legal until 1987. This game is lowball draw, also known as California lowball or ace-to-five draw.
               The structure of lowball draw varies widely, depending on where game of cards is played and no-limit that is played. But most games have one or more blinds, and some games-especially those at the lower limits-require each player to make a small ante.

               The deck used for lowball draw consists of strategy tips 52 cards plus a joker, which counts as the lowest card not already in your hand. Each player is dealt five cards. There is then a round of betting, after which those players who remain can either stand pat-that is, not draw any cards or draw from one to five cards. A final round of betting then takes place. It two or more players remain after the final round of betting, the hands are shown down, and the lowest hand wins-with five-four-they-deuce-ace being the best possible hand. As in razz, straights and flushes do not count.

               Also, one additional rule is unique to lowball draw.  The “must bet sevens” rule. This rule states that if you have made a seven of better after the draw, you  must bet it or you forfeit any additional action. For example, if you make a seven and then check and call, you cannot win the after-the-draw bet, even, if your hand is good.

Tip No.1: Don’t fall in love with the joker. The best card to have in lowball draw is obviously the joker, and it definitely makes your hand stronger. But holding the joker does’t mean that your hand is automatically playable. Many other factors must be considered before entering the pot.

Tip No.2: In an early position, you need at least a seven-five to draw to if you don’t hold the joker. If you are in an early position, many players still remain to act behind you, plus you, plus you must act before they do after the draw. Consequently, to play in this spot, you need a fairly glossary. This restricts you to a one-card draw to at least a seven-five.

Tip No.3: If you have the joker, you can draw to any seven up front. Holding the joker makes a significant difference. You now can catch more cards that will make your hand, and you hold fewer cards that can pair. In addition, the fact that you hold the joker means that no one else can have it.

Tip No.4: Don’t play a pat nine up front. If you hold 9-8-6-5-4 in an early position, throw it away. If you are dealt 9-5-4-3-2 up front, usually play it as a one-card draw to a wheel. The only exception is when you are against the blind, who acts before you do, and he draws two cards. In this case, you can stand pat.

Tip No.5: You can draw to weak hands in the late positions, providing that you are the first player to enter the pot. There are two reasons for this. First, you are not as likely to run into a good hand. Second, if you do get action, it probably will be from one of the blinds, and you will have position over him after the draw. You can even play a two-card draw if you are first in from a very late position.

Tip No.6: When first in from any position, almost always raise. There are two reasons for raising. First, you may pick up the blinds if no one else plays. Second, in lowball, unless you start with a very strong hand, your edge over an opponent-even if he draws several cards-is not that great. Thus you don’t want to give anyone in the blind a free shot at you.

Tip No. 7: If someone else has already entered the pot, your minimum playing hand should be the minimum hand you would play if you were first in from that position. For example, if someone raises up front, you can call with


but you should throw away


Tip No. 8: Usually reraise with a draw to a six or better or with any pat hand that you are going to play. Any draw to a six or better is a poker strategy , and you should play it as such. However, the reason you re raise with some of your weaker pat hands is to drive out the competition, as these hands play best against only one opponent.

Tip No. 9: After the draw, be willing to bet your bigger pairs. When you make a hand like a pair of eights, the only way you can win is to bluff. So usually bet them, especially if you are first to act.
Tip No. 10: When you are first to act in a heads-up pot after the draw, usually bet if your hand is a nine or better. Exceptions to this are if your opponent did

Not draw any cards or if the action before the draw indicated that he was drawing to a very strong hand. You will lose a lot of these bets, but against typical Play, they will show a profit in the long run.

Tip No 11: When you are last to act in a heads-up pot after the draw and it is checked to you, usually bet if your hand is a ten-eight or better. Again an exception is if your opponent is playing a pat hand. Otherwise, these bets should show a profit over the long term.