The professional-level competitive poker game called 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball was first introduced at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in 2007. Some 209 players paid $1,000 each to vie for shares of the $721,804 prize pool. The championship was won by Rafi Amit of Holon, Israel, and he was joined at the final table by Americans, a German and a Frenchman, making this one of the WSOP’s most international debut events.
The game is a derivation of 2-7 Draw Lowball, which had already been on the WSOP schedule for several years by that time. Like its predecessor, the game’s object is to obtain the best low hand possible, but with two additional rounds for drawing cards and betting to make each hand even more competitive.
The rules of 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball generally follow those of 2-7 Draw Lowball. Flushes and straights count against low hand values and Aces are always high. That means the very best low hand of all is an unsuited 7-5-4-3-2, hence the name “2-7” or “Deuce to Seven.” It is played with a standard 52-card deck, which may be reshuffled during play if an insufficient number of cards are available for drawing.
Each hand of 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball begins with two forced bets known as the “blinds.” The player seated immediately to the left of the dealer button must post the “small blind,” which is a nominal amount based upon the table’s minimum betting requirement. The player seated to the left of the small blind must then post the “big blind,” an amount equivalent to double that of the small blind.
After the blinds have been posted, each active player receives five cards dealt face down. No cards are exposed. Players evaluate their hands and a round of betting takes place, beginning with the player seated to the left of the big blind, a position referred to as “under the gun.” Wagering is conducted in a clockwise rotation around the table, with each player given the opportunity to call, raise or fold.
After the first betting interval, all of the players remaining in the hand now have the opportunity to “draw” cards, attempting to improve their hands by discarding some of the cards they were originally dealt and obtaining replacements. Anywhere from one to five cards may be discarded and replaced. If a player is content with the original five cards, he or she may choose to “stand pat” and draw no cards.
Following the draw, a second round of betting occurs, beginning with the first active player to the left of the dealer button, who has the option to check, bet or fold. If there is no bet made, the next player in succession has the option to check, bet or fold. If a bet is made, all players thereafter may raise, call or fold. The betting continues clockwise around the table until there are no more raises.
Now a second round of drawing cards ensues, followed by a third round of betting in the same fashion as the first. Then, there is a third round of drawing cards and a final round of betting under the same provisions. Quite often, there is only one player who survives this grueling process to claim the pot. However, if two or more players remain at the end, a “Showdown” takes place. The last player to have made a raise shows his or her hand first, followed by the other active players in clockwise rotation. Whoever holds the best low hand wins the entire pot. Should identical winning hands be shown, the pot is split equally amongst the players holding them.
As noted above, three drawing rounds may deplete the deck of available cards for drawing at some point. In such cases, the remaining cards in the original stub are mixed with all of the cards discarded by inactive players to make a new stub. Play continues from that point and additional reshuffles may occur if required. Because the discards of active players are not part of the reshuffling, no player ever receives back a card previously discarded.