Lowball simply refers to any draw-type game played for low only, that is, the lowest/worst poker hand wins. Common variants are A-5 and Deuce-7. These games can sometimes be found in casinos and are available at online poker rooms. The number of draws vary but usually there are either three draws or one draw.
In A-5 lowball, the best hand is 5432A. This is called "a wheel". Straights and flushes do not count against you.
In Deuce-7 lowball, the best hand is 75432. This is also called "a wheel" for this game. Aces are high, with 2s being the lowest card. Straights and flushes count against you, so if you make 75432 but they're all the same suit, that's not the nut low anymore; in fact it's a terrible hand.
The winner in these games is determined by comparing the hands. The first player with a card lower than her opponents wins. For instance, look at these Deuce-7 hands:
The winner is Player 3 since the 5 is lower than Player 2's 6. The 85 beats the 86, the other cards don't matter.
Now, take this example in the same game:
Player 1 wins this hand. Player 2 has a pair of jacks with is a "better" poker hand than Player 1's ace-high, thus it's not as good since this is lowball. Player 3 has a straight and since straights counts against the player in Deuce-7, his hand is too high to beat the ace-high hand of Player 1.
Where to play
- Ultimate Bet spreads triple draw in both A-5 and 2-7 variations, and seems to be pretty active.
- Foxwoods has been known to post a list of interest, although it's not known whether the games actually went.
- Many high-stakes players play lowball, if the stories in Card Player and the like are any indcation. For some reason Phil Hellmuth columns jump to mind.
- Lowball was once one of only two legal poker games to play in California, but with the opening up of Hold 'em, it has gone out of vogue. Still, a few card clubs still spread it, mainly for oldtimers who grew up playing Lowball and don't want to change. See clubs marked with a B on the California part of the Casino page.