Lowball Deck of cards throwing on the table

How to Play Kansas City Lowball

Are rules of playing Kansas City Lowball hard to master? What are the basics? Read along to find out!

The Deuce-To-Seven Lowball Instructions

If you have ever felt that you couldn’t catch a break when playing card games like Poker, this game was created for you. Namely, the primary goal of the Kansas City Lowball is to achieve the lowest possible hand, which will bring you an instant win. How great is that?

When playing this version of lowball poker, otherwise known as deuce-to-seven lowball, you will notice that Aces are counted as high, so you should hope that the dealer will not give you this card since it will increase your hand value drastically. This card is something you should avoid having in your poker hand, so next time you have a chance to get a replacement card, get right on it and use the opportunity.

Also, the straights and flushes do count in Kansas City Lowball, unlike in other forms of lowball, which makes it that much harder to get a perfect low hand for a win. Bear in mind one more thing — getting doubles is not a good scenario in this game since it makes it even more difficult to get a low hand in value.

Considering that the rules of this version of draw poker are reversed compared to the classic one, you might think that you will lose your way getting over all the rules. But rest assured, because we got you covered!

The Basics

The first thing you should know when it comes to this game is that you can choose to replace any, all, or none of the cards you have in your hand, which is quite reassuring. The card draw is pretty easy to understand — every player will get five concealed cards and needs to create the best possible hand by using those or replacing them with better ones. This hand is achieved by having 7-5-4-3-2, either after a single draw or a triple draw, whichever version you choose to play.

But before the game can begin, the blinds need to be posted. In this game, the player next to the dealer on the left will post the small blind, and then the next one will need to post the big blind. Does this remind you of some other fun card game, perhaps? That’s right, at least in this part of the game, Kansas City Lowball is following in the footsteps of Texas Hold’Em, so if you have ever played it, you will have no trouble understanding this part.

What’s Next?

After all the players have received their cards, they will have three options, like in any other card game. They can either fold, which means they are forfeiting the round, they can call if their hand is good, or they otherwise conclude it is the perfect time to match the biggest bet so far, or rather raise and increase the bet that is currently in the pot.

After the betting, the game will proceed to a showdown, where the hands will be compared to decide the winner. In this part, the most important thing to know is card rankings, which are a little different than in other versions of lowball. Namely, the best possible hand you can get in this variant is 2-3-4-5-7, instead of the 1-2-3-4-5 that applies to other lowball variants.

Additionally, Kansas City Lowball does not use wild cards, i.e., the Joker, since some think that they decrease the excitement of the game by bringing the round to a quick end.

The Stand Pat

As we’ve mentioned before, Kansas City Lowball allows you to replace your entire hand if you want, unlike in other draw poker variants. This makes the game seem much easier, but it does not necessarily mean it has to be. Namely, the players can always risk it and bluff in order to confuse you. For example, if you see a player deciding not to draw at all, that means they are applying the rule of standing pat. This automatically makes you think they have a perfect hand, but that might not always be the truth.

Smooth or Rough?

It doesn’t hurt to mention the difference between a smooth and a rough hand, just in case you find yourself playing with an experienced group which uses casino lingo. Basically, you have a smooth hand if you are left with low cards after dismissing the high one. On the other hand, if you have higher cards after dismissing the low one, this is called a rough hand.

The Limited Game

Unlike other versions of lowball poker, such as the California Lowball, the Kansas City Lowball is always played as a limit game. This means the amount of money which can be bet in each round is limited. That’s why you will notice there is a kind of a pattern established when it comes to betting — at the beginning, you will make smaller bets, and you can gradually make them bigger after the drawing part is over.


As you can see, Kansas City Lowball is quite an exciting game that can create a lot of action for everyone involved. It is a beloved game, especially in the US. It originated there and later spread to other parts of the world while keeping its original name in order to stay connected to its roots.

The rules are simple — the first one you need to remember is that the lower hand wins, so forget about those Aces! They will significantly decrease your chances of winning, so if you get one during the game, quickly dismiss it and replace it with another one as soon as it’s your turn.

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