Many poker players love to play Lowball Poker. It is the game for two players with a total of thirteen cards in the deck. The tote holds the thirteen cards and the player with the lowest card must beat the other player with the highest card.
So how do you play Lowball Poker?
The game is played in the same way as normal stud poker. However, you are not playing against any opponents, just the dealer. You are playing your cards in the same way as you would during a regular stud poker game.
As in most poker games, the ideal hand to have is a total of five cards of different suits and values. However, this is not always possible so you should keep trying to get the best hand you can. Most Lowball poker games come with either 9 or 6 cards. I recommend playing with 9 cards unless you have experience with getting the best hand with 5 cards. I will share some tips on getting the best hand with 5 cards later in this article.
As a general rule of thumb, you should try to have a card total equal to or less than the number of points allowed on the table. For example, if you have 5 cards total, the rules allows you to exchange 3 for 4 cards. This lets you play with a total of 6 cards, but not ‘real’ hands.
However, you can also count cards to a 15 point +, or even a 16 point + if permitted. Many casinos allow this count as part of the game, but many do not, so ask before you play.
Most casinos allow the opening bet to be no more than 5% of the total amount of the up-cards, or the house minimum. Also, the game is typically played for several anxious rounds, where money is usually involved for more extended periods of time. Therefore, if your hand is a potential winner, you may want to wait several rounds and only play with the most powerful hands.
Just as in stud poker, a flash is allowed after the first round of cards. One othertered is also allowed, and the player allowed to draw a fifth card. Thus, approximately after 12 rounds, the final round of betting takes place. Then, the game is typically completed.
Simultaneously, a player may opt to be dealt in the first position to avoid having to ‘stand’ on a hand that he does not want.
The only real strategy in Lowball poker that you will need to observe is how to handle your hand. Should you have a very low hand (a two digit card), you should most likely fold, as others are likely to have higher hands. Should you however have a relatively high hand, you should remain in the game, because of the double betting that begins.
The worst hand you can have (in terms of mega88) is a 0, so you should remain in the game regardless of how low your hand is. However, you should be contemplating folding even with a high hand if the stakes are very high, as the probability of winning, due to the many high hands, is much lower.
It is also typical to use some slight variation on the standard Razz poker hand rankings. Some players consider KQJ especially weak. This is a very strong hand, and it should be played strongly. However, other players are impressed with cards like AAK, and they see it as a strong hand.
If you have a choice, play the three suited cards in a set with the best kickers. This gives you a strong kicker, and it might just win the pot. If not, still a good hand with a decent kicker can win the pot. There is a difference between a flush and a set.