First of all, you need to understand the basics of the game in order to learn the process of drawing cards in Kansas City Lowball. Namely, this is a version of poker in which the lowest hand wins. And how do you achieve that? It’s important to understand that the Ace is considered a high card in this game, so you shouldn’t even hope to get it since it will decrease your chances of winning immensely.
Ace is the highest card in most card games, but here, it’s not a good thing. Speaking of factors that will make it harder for you to win, it’s important to note that straights and flushes do count in this game, and getting duplicates is one of the worse outcomes since the winning hand has to be the weakest of them all at the table. Ideally, you want a poker hand that is 7-5-4-3-2. If you have ever played California Lowball, otherwise known as “Ace-to-Five” lowball, you will notice that the Ace is missing from the winning hand. The reason why is mentioned above.
When you first approach the table to play, you will notice that the game is limited to 7 players. This is the ideal number of participants to have in order for the game to run smoothly, and it will reflect on drawing and dealing too.
Whether you are playing the single draw or the triple draw poker version, you will be dealt five cards before the game begins. The rules of this game are quite similar to those of Texas Hold’Em. The small blind is posted by the player on the dealer’s left side. The next player will post the big blind, and the game can officially start!
The Seven Card Draw
This term is often used when talking about the game of Kansas City Lowball. But do not get confused by it — each player still gets 5 cards, not 7. However, the great advantage of this game is that you can keep, discard, or replace as many or as few cards as you want on your way to achieving the lowest hand.
The betting part is also important, as it is in any other casino game. At any time, a player can choose to fold (forfeit what they’ve bet), call (match the bet currently on the table), or even raise (double their bet) if they think it’s the most suitable move at the time.
As the Game Progresses
Besides the limited number of players, Kansas City Lowball has some other features that distinguish the game from many other card games. First of all, you will notice that this game does not include the Joker card in the deck. This card has quite a mystery around it since its value is unknown, so it can mean many things in different games. In lowball poker, the Joker is the best card you can receive, otherwise known as the “wild card.” However, it is not used in Kansas City Lowball, since the limitations of the game could mean a quick end when the card is drawn.
In addition, many experts claim that you will have better chances if you draw just one card each time. Apart from the obvious reason behind this, another one is that this way, you can plan your next move much better than you would if you were swamped with even more cards than you initially got.
When you are making the initial draw, you can choose to dismiss and replace as many cards as you wish, which is great when you want to improve your hand. Every draw starts with the person who placed the small blind, as we’ve mentioned previously. Next, the players will take turns choosing how many cards they want to get rid of, in the same direction as the posting of the blinds went.
Quite often, you will see that a player decides to keep all of their original cards, which, of course, means they have a great hand. This move is allowed, and it is called standing pat. Sometimes, the players will use it as a means of bluffing.
Additionally, one of the primary rules when drawing in Kansas City Lowball is that if you have a good hand and don’t need to draw and the other player draws one card, you should still apply the standing pat rule, even if it’s not your turn to play. Just because they drew, it doesn’t automatically mean they got the best possible card.
After the Draw
When you have chosen which cards to keep and which to dismiss, you can be dealt up to five new ones. There is only one rule to it — every player will get four cards from the dealer first, and the fifth will be dealt after all the players have took their turns getting up to four cards. Of course, in case there is more than one player who wants to get more cards, they can do so, in clockwise direction. If you happen to be the last player at the table in line to receive the cards, the dealer will discard the top card in the deck, and then give you your fifth one.
When you play Kansas City Lowball, it is not enough to just watch out for those Aces and avoid them every chance you get. There is much more to the game than you might think. For example, if you get a 5, that card will be trumped by a 4 when the hands are compared at showdown. Remember, the lowest card always wins.
Similarly, there are some differences between a smooth hand and a rough hand, which could come in handy at showdown. If you are left with lower cards after dismissing the high ones, you have a smooth hand. But if you still have high cards after the same dismissal, that is called a rough hand.
Drawing in the game of Kansas City Lowball is pretty simple. Especially if you are playing in a casino, you will have a professional dealer who will make things much easier for you by taking care of this part of the game. You just need to relax and concentrate on planning your next move.
On the other hand, if you are playing with friends, any player can be the dealer, but that shouldn’t worry you. As you can see, the drawing rules are quite easy to understand and remember. However, the most important rule to always remember is the basic rule of the game itself — avoid higher cards, because the weakest hand wins the game.