When it comes to insanely fun card games that have rules bent backward when compared to their classic counterpart, Kansas City Lowball has everyone beaten. Namely, in this game, your goal is to achieve the worst possible hand in order to win. Unlike the Californian version that can count Aces either way (as high or low), in this one, the Aces are considered the highest, so being dealt with one will diminish your chances of winning.
Deuce-to-Seven Lowball, as this game is otherwise known, actually includes straights and flushes, unlike the Ace-to-Five Lowball (California Lowball). So, in this form of lowball, you need to get the lowest poker hand in order to win, and that hand is 7-5-4-3-2.
In addition, in some parts of the world, you may hear the name “Billy Baxter Lowball” for this game. Billy Baxter was a famous poker player who was so good at this game that he actually won the world championship in Kansas City Lowball seven times!
So, whenever you decide to try your luck with this game, just hope that the lowest hands come your way, and we will take care of teaching you the basics in the following passages.
The Drawing of the Cards
In this game, the dealer will first give five concealed cards to each player, concluding the first round of betting. After that round, every player can choose which card to dismiss and which to keep in order to achieve the lowest possible hand.
If you ever get confused by this rule or any other, for that matter, just remember — lowball poker is the exact opposite of the classic poker game. Meaning, you will need to get the worst cards to win. After that, everything will go pretty smoothly.
Bear in mind one thing — most casinos will allow you to check and raise after drawing, but not all of them guarantee that right. So, just to be sure, you should check with the dealer if this rule is applied before sitting down at the table.
The Game Progression
When it comes to the way the game unfolds, it is similar to Texas Hold’Em in terms of posting big and small blinds before the game can begin. Namely, the player who is sitting to the left of the dealer will post the small blind, and then the next one will post the big one. Additionally, the players will be dealt their cards in the same direction.
Moreover, the drawing part of this game is unique since it allows you to draw as many or as few cards as you want — even not draw at all. If you decide not to draw, you are applying the rule known as standing pat. So when you see a player doing it, that probably means they have a pretty strong hand.
After the drawing is completed, the players will have the option to bet one more time before progressing to the showdown. Also, if it happens that the two players have the same high card, the second card in both their hands will decide, or a third one, and so on.
The Seven Single Draw
When it comes to the card rankings, we already mentioned that the lower the cards are, the better they are to have. Moreover, if you, for example, have a 10, that card will be defeated by a nine, and so on. Additionally, this game has two hands that are quite common and are affected by the eights — the 8-6-5-4-2, which is called “an eight-six,” and another one, 8-7-5-4-2, called “an eight-seven.” Notice anything particular about these two hands? Well, if you remove those eights, you are that much closer to the winning hand.
When it comes to wild cards, they are usually not used in the Kansas City Lowball, but if they were, they would contribute to your win, since the Joker is the best card you can get when playing lowball poker.
Also, it couldn’t hurt to know some other important terms when playing this game — a smooth and a rough low hand. Basically, the hand that has low cards remaining after the highest card is dismissed is considered a smooth hand. On the other side, the hand that has higher remaining cards is called the rough low hand.
This game is most commonly played as a limited poker game, which means there is a restriction on the amount of money each player can bet during each hand. That’s why, in the first round before the betting, you bet a smaller amount so that you could bet bigger after the drawing.
As you can see, Kansas City Lowball is pretty interesting and quite easy to play. After you have covered the basics, you will be good to go when playing in a casino, or, if you prefer, with a few friends. Lowball poker has captured the hearts of players around the world by giving a chance to the unluckiest ones — the ones who always draw the worst possible hand when playing beloved card games. It is especially good for beginners because of the simple rules of the game that everyone can easily understand. That is why this kind of draw poker variant is suitable for both newcomers and high rollers.
Whichever of these two groups you belong to, we assure you that you will have a lot of fun playing Kansas City Lowball.