Today I want to cover a poker variant that you rarely ever see on TV. Brick and mortar poker rooms rarely spread this variant except as part of a mixed game or special tournament series. Nonetheless, you can still find 2-7 Triple Draw poker games going online across all stakes, and there are even some nice tournaments that occasionally run. So the variant IS played; might as well learn about it and become good at it.
With plenty of fun to offer and even with some players not knowing all of the game’s rules at the lowest stakes, 2-7 Triple Draw may prove profitable to learn and broaden your poker experience. This article will provide you with a few solid tips to push you in the right direction and ensure that however rarely or often you play, you’re more likely to be profitable in the game.
2-7 Triple Draw has a unique hand ranking system
Hand values in 2-7 Triple Draw are unlike those found in almost any other game. Although this is lowball poker, Aces play high, and making straights and flushes is bad, regardless of card rankings. So, the first thing you need to do to get started is to learn how hand rankings work in 2-7 poker.
Your goal is to make the best possible low hand without it being a straight. Since aces are high, the best possible combination is 2, 3, 4, 5, 7. This can definitely be a bit confusing at the start, and it will take some time to get used to. So, you shouldn’t be playing for any serious stakes until you fully understand this “bottom-up” hand ranking system.
As mentioned, straights and flushes count against you. A hand such as 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 is horrible in 2-7 Triple Draw. Although it looks like a 7-6 low, it’s not. As a straight, you can only beat worse straights, flushes, and full houses with it. All other hands, even Ace-high and King-high ones, are better, so don’t get excited if you hit a full-house in this game.
Learn why position is everything in this game
You really want to play as many hands as possible in position in 2-7 Triple Draw and stay tight when out of position. This may be true for most poker variants, as you can see in Vision GTO Trainer, but the power of position cannot be overstated in this variant.
As the in-position player, you’ll have the benefit of seeing how many cards your opponents draw. This information will tell you a lot about the strength of their hands and how likely it is for your hand to be winning at the moment. Thanks to this, you can tailor almost a perfect strategy, betting when you are almost certain you’re ahead or when you know their hands are so weak they can’t call.
Since 2-7 Triple Draw is played with a fixed betting structure, you probably won’t get many opportunities to “buy” position by raising. Players acting after you will still continue with decent hands, so you need to make most out of those times when you’re on the button or in the cutoff.
While mostly you want to be only playing good starting hands that have a couple of low cards, you can lower your requirement when you have position. Note that many professional players also practically mandate that you at least have one of the four deuces in your hand when starting out; otherwise it’s often an “insta-fold”.
Bluffing too much won’t get you far
While playing aggressively in position when you have plenty of information to fall back on is correct, trying random bluffs won’t get you far in this game. With a fixed betting structure, don’t expect players to give up easily, especially at lower stakes where everyone loves to take random hands to a showdown.
Of course, sometimes, you will find a decent bluffing spot, and you should take advantage of these situations when they arise but don’t go about trying to actively create them, especially if you’re still learning the game yourself.
The simple truth is that playing a solid fundamental strategy and building big pots when you have big hands will usually be more than enough to make you a winner in small-stakes cash games and tournaments. Trying fancy moves may be entertaining, but it won’t be too healthy for your bankroll in the long run.
In general, your best bluffing spots will come around on the final betting round. When you miss your draw, but there is a possibility the opponent bricked out as well, throwing out a bluff can be worth a try. By this point in a hand, the pot will usually be of a decent size, which means that even if your bluffs don’t work that often, they’ll still be profitable overall.