Lowball is a form of five card draw poker where the lowest hand wins. Popular forms of lowball include Ace to Five – or California Lowball – and Deuce to Seven – or Kansas Lowball. Rules are similar to standard poker, with some notable variations.
Antes and Blinds
The game is traditionally played with at least one blind, though there may be more. An ante may be added. The blinds and antes are determined by the betting structure of the game.
Best Possible HandsIn California Lowball, the best possible hand is 5-4-3-2-A.
In Kansas Lowball, the best possible hand is 7-5-4-3-2, not of the same suit.
MisdealsIn lowball, the same rules that govern a misdeal in Texas Hold’em apply. If any of the following circumstances apply, and are noticed before two players take action on their hands, a misdeal is declared.
- The first or second card of the hand is dealt face up or exposed due to dealer error.
- At least two cards have been exposed by the dealer.
- At least two extra cards have been dealt in the starting hand.
- The wrong number of cards has been dealt to a player. The button can get one more card to complete a starting hand.
- The button was in the wrong position.
- The first card was dealt to the wrong position.
- Cards were not dealt in the proper order.
- Cards were dealt to a player not entitled to a hand or an empty seat at the table.
- Cards were not dealt to a player who is entitled to a hand because he posted a blind or an ante. He must be present at the table.
GameplayAt the start of the game, each player is dealt five cards face down. A round of betting occurs where players must open with either a bet or a fold.
After the betting round, remaining players can choose to let go of some cards to try to improve their hands. This is known as the draw. If any cards are exposed, they cannot be taken on the draw. The draw continues in order, and the exposed card is replaced. If an exposed card is shown before the draw, the type of lowball determines whether or not the card must be taken, and the player never has a choice in the matter.
Players can draw up to four cards consecutively. If a player wishes to replace his entire hand, four cards are dealt immediately, and the fifth card is drawn after all other players receive their draw.