Deuce to Seven Triple Draw Guide
Deuce to seven triple draw, or 2-7 triple draw for short, is a popular variation of draw poker where the lowest hand wins. Some players also call deuce to seven low ball. 2-7 triple draw has gained popularity in some circles recently as an alternative to Texas hold'em. It can be an extremely fun form of poker to play.
On this page we take you through the basic rules of the game and provide you with a brief guide on how to play. This is followed by strategy advice to help you consider starting hands and how to play each hand in the most profitable way.
If you haven't played a low ball game before then it might take some time to get used to how hands are ranked, and if you've played then you'll soon find out that 2-7 triple draw is a little bit different from other low ball games.
Betting and table structure are similar to Texas hold'em and Omaha but it also has some similarities to 5 card draw and other forms of draw poker. If you're familiar with these games then it shouldn't take too long to get the hang of deuce to seven triple draw.
How to Play – 2 to 7 Triple Draw Rules
In 2-7 triple draw you use a dealer to determine the order of play. A player will be identified as the dealer by a white dealer button with the word 'DEALER' on it, or just a letter "D", or something similar depending on where you play.
From there the person to the left of the dealer is the small blind and to their left is the big blind. Once each hand is completed the dealer button moves to the next player on the left, as do the small blind and big blind.
To make sure there's action in every pot the blinds have to make a forced bet. The small blind is usually half the amount of the big blind and the big blind is determined by the table limits that you are playing at.
For example, if you are in a $2 / $4 limit game then the big blind is $2 and the small blind is $1.
Once you have the blinds in the middle the dealing will start with the small blind receiving their card first. The cards are dealt one at a time clockwise around the table. In this variation of poker each player is dealt five cards face down, also known as five hole cards.
Once every player has their five cards the first round of betting starts. The first person to act is to the left of the big blind and they have the following three options.
Players continue to act clock wise around the table until those remaining have called all raises.
At this point the first draw takes place. A player can choose to discard one to five cards and receive new ones from the dealer, or they can stand pat and keep the five cards they have. Once all players have indicated how many cards they would like they are then dealt these in the same fashion as the cards were dealt initially.
You then have a second round of betting, a second draw, a third round of betting and a final draw. Finally, there is one more round of betting and if multiple players are still remaining they will show down and expose their cards to see who has the better hand and wins.
Here's a quick summary of all that action.
- Each player is dealt five cards starting with the small blind
- 1st betting round, starting with player to the left of the big blind
- 1st draw, beginning with player to the left of the dealer
- 2nd betting round, beginning with player to the left of the dealer
- 2nd draw, beginning with player to the left of the dealer
- 3rd betting round, beginning with player to the left of the dealer
- 3rd draw, beginning with player to left of dealer
- 4th betting round, beginning with player to the left of the dealer
- Showdown (if required)
Now that you understand how each hand is played out including drawing and betting rounds, let's look at how hands are ranked.
As we touched on earlier 2-7 triple draw is a low ball game. This means the aim of the player is to get the lowest value hand. The biggest difference between this low ball game and others is that straights and flushes will count against the player.
Therefore if you get you'll have a straight, which is not a good hand. It's the same if you get a flush, which is five cards of all the same suit. Also in 2-7 triple draw the ace is considered high. This is how we get the name of the game, because 2 to 7 without a flush, or or the same cards with different suits, is the best possible hand that you can get.
Like other low ball games, the winning hand can be identified by mentioning the highest card and then low. For example, the hand would be considered king low. If someone had another hand with a lower high card then they would take the pot.
See below for some example hands showing who would win in a show-down situation.
This is because the first hand is eight low and the second hand is ace low. Remember ace is high in this game.
This is because a pair of nines is lower than a pair of tens.
These are both very strong hands, however the first hand wins as it is 8, 6, 5, 4, 2 low and the second hand is 8, 6, 5, 4, 3 low.
Why Play 2-7 Triple Draw?
If you're looking for an excellent variation of five card draw then you should go no further than 2-7 triple draw. It's a great game which is challenging, complex, and entertaining.
It has gained popularity recently due to the fact there is so little information available to players, meaning it is a truly natural form of the game. It's a little different than other low ball games given flushes and straights count and ace is high, and this really adds an extra layer of complexity and fun to the game.
The only information you have to your advantage is hand history, betting patterns, draw information, and body language and tells if you're playing live. This is what makes 2-7 triple draw truly awesome. You can also find 2-7 single draw occasionally, but it's quite rare. Deuce to seven betting limits can include fixed limit, pot limit, and no limit.
Deuce to seven triple draw strategies have the same major themes as Texas hold'em and Omaha, but include quite a few different things to focus on as well.
The good news is you don't find many good 2-7 triple draw players so the games are ripe for profits for good players. If you take the time to learn the best strategy and practice you should be able to learn how to be a profitable player at deuce to seven faster than in many other forms of poker.
The tendency of most deuce to seven players is to see what happens on the first draw if they can get in the pot cheaply. If they can make their first draw for a couple bets or less they figure it's worth the gamble.
While it's true anything can happen on a draw the worse your starting hand is the worse your odds to improve on a draw.
The next thought poor players have is with three draws they can turn any hand into something good. This is also true, but the problem is it has to happen often enough to make entering the pot and chasing a better hand for three draws worth it the few ties you win.
If you win one out of every five times you start with a poor hand, will you win enough to make up for the other four times you chase a better hand? The answer is almost 100% of the time no.
You need to play your best starting hands and fold the ones that don't show a great deal of promise. Just like in Texas hold'em and Omaha, the player who starts with the best hand has the best chance to win in the long run.
The best starting hands are made hands with five unpaired cards that don't form a flush that are nine high, eight high, or of course seven high.
The next level of starting hands includes four low cards that aren't of the same suit. These hands only need a single card to be drawn on each of the three drawing rounds until you hit a pat low.
Marginal hands include those with three low cards. If these types of hands don't improve on the first draw they should usually be folded.
We realize that these starting hand suggestions don't offer many chances to play, but do you want to play a bunch of hands or do you want to win? The best players tend to play fewer hands than their opponents, not more.
This is especially true at the lower limits, but is pretty much the same at the medium limits too. As you advance to the higher limits of play and face better competition more games will be contested heads up. In heads up play you'll see some rather poor hands win pots when both players miss their draws. This doesn't mean you can play poor hands, but it does change the game from what you get used to at the lower and medium levels.
What it does mean is the average hand strength needed to win goes down as the number of opponents goes down. When five or more players stay in the hand until the final betting round the odds are high that at least one of them has a strong made low hand. If you missed your draw and have a pair, even a low pair like twos or threes, the odds of winning a big multi way pot are slim.
When every hand starts with a raise or two and only two or three players see the first draw you can often win with weaker hands at the end.
This is a tricky subject and one that's quite hard to make clear in writing. You almost have to play in these situations to have a chance to completely understand what we're talking about. Just because lesser average hands win at the upper levels because of fewer players in the hand, it doesn't mean you can play weaker hands. It means the opposite. You have to play even better hands to win.
We realize this is a short section but it's so important that we wanted to make sure everyone reading this gets it. Aces are terrible cards in deuce to seven. They're usually great cards in most forms of poker. If you play Omaha 8 you automatically look at an ace as a great low hand card.
Most poker players we know learned how to count outs by playing Texas hold'em. When they start trying to count outs in deuce to seven it takes a bit of adjusting but works out about the same in the end.
Here's an example.
- Your starting hand is 2h 3h 6h 8c 8h.
- You're going to discard the 8h and hope to draw any 4, 5, or 7.
- If you draw a 9 or 10 it may be good enough to win.
- You're hoping for a lower card on the first draw though.
- You have seen five cards, leaving a total of 47 possible cards to draw.
- You know the deck holds four each of 4, 5, and 7.
- You're hoping to draw one of those 12 cards.
- There's another 8 cards that may let you win (4 each of the 9s and 10s).
- Any remaining 2, 3, 6, or 8 are terrible.
- Any of the face cards or aces isn't what you want.
- That's 27 cards you don't really want.
- 20 decent to good cards compared to 27 bad ones offer pretty good odds.
- If you don't get what you need then there'll be:
- 20 good and 26 bad ones on the second draw.
- 20 good and 25 bad on the final draw.
It's important to note that the numbers change if you have four low cards but they're all the same suit. Now you only have three of each rank that can help you instead of four because another card of your suit makes a flush
In most poker games table selection is one of the most important ways to improve your profitability quickly. The way we explain table selection to new players is by asking them a question.
Do you think you'll stand a better chance of winning by playing at a table of players who're better poker players than you or at a table filled with players who aren't as good as you?
You always want to play poker with as many people as possible who are worse players than you.
While we stand by this advice as some of the best we've ever given, there's a problem with it when referring to 2-7 triple draw.
If you have a choice of tables you should play where the competition is poor, but you'll rarely have an option to play at more than one table. Most poker rooms don't offer deuce to seven triple draw and if they do only one table will run most of the time.
You can find mixed games that include it at some large rooms, but your best bet may be building your own game.
This creates a situation where you can control who plays so you can focus on surrounding yourself with poor poker players. Don't worry about wondering why bad poker players would play in your game because bad poker players tend to play in any game. They don't worry about table selection or finding players who aren't as good as them. All they want to do is play.
Reading Your Opponents
One of the big things that sets deuce to seven triple draw apart from more popular games like Texas hold'em and Omaha, and even 7 card stud, is you don't see any community cards or cards your opponent holds in her hand.
Because of this you have to figure out other ways to determine the possible hand strength of each opponent. You'll still be guessing about a range of possible hands in most cases, but you still need to narrow the possibilities down as far as possible.
One way to do this is learn as much about each of your opponents and their playing tendencies as possible. You do this by watching how they play even when you aren't involved in the hand.
The more you know about a player's tendencies and how they play in certain situations the better your chances to win against them when you're both in a pot.
The next big clue to the possible strength or your opponent's hand is how many cards they draw on each drawing round. If they draw two or more cards their hand isn't very strong, but if they draw a single card they're more than likely drawing to a strong pat hand.
Any time an opponent doesn't draw and then checks to you only bet with your best hands. The first time this happens to you it may surprise you, because most of the time when a player stands pat on a draw they fire a bet into the pot.
It's often a sign of a bluff when an opponent draws two or more cards and then raises your bet. Drawing two cards is a sign of weakness and if they suddenly start betting aggressively it can mean they hit two perfect cards, but more than likely they missed and are trying to buy their way out of a bad situation.
This doesn't mean you should keep raising unless your hand is very strong, but you should almost always call a single wager in this situation.
You need to always pay attention to how your opponents bet in different situations. Some players only raise with a pat hand and others will always call a bet on the final round even when they miss their draw. If you know things like this about many different opponents it will make you extra bets and save you bets in the long run.
If you know your opponent always calls a bet on the final hand you know it's a bad idea to bluff. Simply check the hand down and see who wins.
When you know an opponent only raises with a pat hand and you face a raise after the final draw when you paired you can save yourself a bet and fold.
Don't go overboard on this though. Unless you're 100% sure the player won't raise without a pat hand it can be costly to fold to a single wager on the last betting round. The pot is usually large enough that you only have to win 10% or less of the time to make the correct play.
Don't miss any opportunity to learn more about your opponents. It may be more fun at the moment to watch the cocktail waitress or visit with your neighbor when you aren't in the hand, but it won't be more profitable.
Planning the Hand
One area that separates losing poker players from winning ones is how they approach each hand. Most poker players don't spend time thinking about a hand and / or what can happen as it develops.
It's a much better idea to plan for every possible outcome starting before you receive your hand. The first thing you need to consider is your position compared to the dealer button. Your position changes which hands should and shouldn't be played and how you play the hand after you decide to willingly enter the pot.
Late position is the best and most profitable because you have the advantage of seeing how all of your opponents play their hands before you have to act. You get to see how many cards each opponent draws on each round. This can be a great advantage, especially on the final draw.
If you're in a heads up hand and your opponent draws two cards on the final draw and you have a made king high hand what do you do?
The odds say you should stand pat because drawing two cards runs a good chance of pairing one of your opponent's hole cards.
But what if your opponent stands pat on the final draw and your king high hand has a second highest card of seven? Further, what if you know your opponent never stands pat on a hand less than five unpaired cards. You'd want to draw one replacing your king in hopes of improving to a better hand. The odds of your king high pat hand being good in this situation isn't good.
Another advantage to being last to act during the hand involves a greater ability to control the size of the pot. You can call or raise prior bets or check or bet in situations where hands are checked to you. This lets you build bigger pots when you have the best chance to win and keep pots smaller when you don't think you're a favorite to win.
The next time you get to see a winning player at the deuce to seven table start keeping track of how many hands they play and the percentage of hands they play from early, middle, and late position. In the short run random starting hand distribution can make it seem like they play more hands in early position, but if you're able to watch them play over a long period of time you'll almost certainly see they play more hands from late position than anywhere else. You'll also probably see they willingly enter fewer pots than most players.
If neither of these two things is true then we doubt they're really a winning player.
This statement alone tells you enough to know how to be a winning deuce to seven low ball player at lower limits even if you forget everything else on this page.
If you enter the pot fewer times than your opponents and play more of these hands from late position than other positions you'll instantly start winning more.
By playing this way you'll only play your very best hands from early position, including the blinds, and even when you play a few more hands in late position you'll still have a better hand on average than most of your opponents.
After your plan starts with considering your position, you need to decide what you plan to do with each type of hand you can receive. We're not saying your plan can't change, but you need to know what hands you're willing to play from each position and those you aren't willing to play.
Next you need to plan on what you'll do if an opponent raises. If you're still in the hand at the first draw plan what you'll do if you make your hand and if you miss. This may sound simple, but if you've already decided your course of action you'll be less likely to betray the strength of your hand and more prepared to maximize your profits or minimize your losses.
It can take a great deal of experience before you're able to completely plan out each hand, but with practice you can reach the point where nothing surprises you. It's worth the effort to reach this point.
We know we've already covered the ability to control the size of the pot when playing from late position, but there's another situation where it's important to control the pot size. When you play limit deuce to seven triple draw you only have to face a bet based on the table limits. But if you're playing pot limit you can face a bet the size of the pot. Even if the pot only receives one pot sized bet and call per round it can get quite large by the end.
That's why it's even more important in pot limit play to understand where your hand is in comparison to your opponent's hands and build the pot when you're favored and keep it as small as possible when you're not.
Casual poker players don't usually think too much about bankroll management. They have income from somewhere else so they either have enough to play poker or they don't. In addition, they don't usually track their winning and losing sessions so they don't really know how much it costs them to play poker in the long run.
The simple fact is if you're a losing player it doesn't matter how big your bankroll is because it won't ever be enough. Once you start playing break even poker you can have a bankroll large enough to handle the natural fluctuations, but do you have any idea how big it needs to be?
The answer depends on many things including your overall ability and the natural variations from the poker game you play, but the most important thing is making sure you have enough to play without worrying about it in any profitable game that presents itself.
Professional advantage gamblers try to amass a bankroll large enough that they can play in any game where they can find an edge.
Your goal needs to be the same for your deuce to seven triple draw play. If you ever have to think about the size of your bankroll while playing you need to play at a lower level.
It's hard enough to win on a consistent basis without worrying about winning or losing in the short term. When you make the right play more often than not you'll win money in the long run. In the short term anything can happen because of short term variance, but keep putting your money in when you're a favorite and in the long run you'll be a winning player.
Controlling Your Tells
The only information your opponents have about the strength of your hand is what you give them. If you stand pat after the first or second draw you send the message you have a strong hand.
When you bet and raise you also indicate a strong hand.
On the other hand, if you draw two or more cards it indicates you have a weak hand and are drawing to improve at least two cards.
It's difficult not to give away information in these instances, but in other areas you can protect some of your information.
The first things you must control are your voice, facial features, and body language.
Practice talking in a monotone voice at all times while you play poker. If your voice falters when you announce a draw, bet, call, or raise it can give away information about your hand to your opponents. It's fairly easy to speak in a monotone voice if you stay conscious of it every time you play.
Your face can also give a great deal of information away if you let it react to the cards you receive in your starting hand or in a draw. Just like your voice, practice keeping your face the same no matter what happens in your hand.
The final thing to control is your body language. The natural tendency is to slouch or sigh when a hand doesn't go the way we want and some players tense up or shake when they hit a big draw or hand. Once again, practice how you react to every hand so you look the same when you miss a draw and when you hit one.
When you play at a table with at least a few good players who pay attention to their opponents you can sometimes use some of the things we just talked about against them.
The key is to be subtle and not overdo it, but if you practice you can send incorrect signals in big pots.
The next time you're in a big pot with a good opponent who pays attention decide to let your shoulders slightly slump when you hit a big draw. Just let them slump for a second and then act like you caught yourself and straighten up quickly. You have to do all of this in a subtle way, but if you can pull it off your opponent will likely think you missed your draw.
You can also let out a small sigh but you must be careful this doesn't look like you meant to do it. Anything you do that's over the top will probably work against you.
It doesn't do any good to bet and raise aggressively and then draw two or more cards. Your opponents know your hand needs a great deal of help when you draw two or more cards so why would you waste your money by betting like a maniac?
Folding on the final round of betting against a single opponent is almost never a good idea. The only exception is if your opponent didn't draw a card on the final round and you paired on your final draw. Even when this happens you still should call in some situations.
Compare the amount in the pot to the amount of the bet you must call. Then try to determine a range of hands your opponent could possibly have. If you can win against a higher percentage of possible hands than the odds the pot is offering you need to call.
If you're playing in a $20 / $40 game with $400 in the pot and you're facing a $40 bet you have to put 10% in the pot. That means you have to win at least 1 out of every 10 times you make the call to break even. If you have a chance to win more than 1 out of 10 times you'll turn a profit making the call in the long run.
What hands could your opponent hold that you can beat?
If they didn't draw on the final round the worst hand they probably have is a small pair, but usually they'll have a set low, even if it's a high one.
But, poor players tend to bluff all the time so if your opponent isn't very good it's hard to tell what they hold. They could just as easily be on a two round bluff, showing strength by not drawing when they have a weak hand.
A strong player may also be acting the way they are because you've shown weakness and they're playing you instead of the cards.
Deuce to seven triple draw offers an interesting change of pace to the same old tired Texas hold'em games that seem to dominate poker rooms.
It's a game where good players can quickly take advantage of weaker players, which can make it more profitable than Texas hold'em for some players.
Once you completely understand the rules, learn the strategies and tips covered on this page, you'll be ahead of most of your opponents at the deuce to seven tables.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: November 2015
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