Saturday, January 13, 2007

Kansas City (lowball), here I come

I don't know how long PokerStars has offered it, but I started playing 2-7 Triple Draw earlier this week (which the cool geezers call Kansas City lowball). It's a nice change, similar to Razz, and there's an amazing lack of strategy written on how to play it.

Two months ago, PokerNews wrote a decent article on the strategy. Michael Weisenberg also wrote a pretty good article for Card Player last year. But the undisputed bible of the game is Daniel Negreanu's chapter in Super/System 2.

I played the game with play money for a while, learning the rules as I went (five card draw, three drawing rounds, worst poker hand wins, straights and flushes count against you, so the best hand is 75432). I liked it, so I searched and found the two online articles I mentioned above. I played it some more and started stomping the play money tables.

I'm too much of a cheapass to actually go buy a poker book (the only ones I own are copies of magazines I bought at the airport), so I went to Barnes & Noble, sat down with Super/System 2, and made notes in my Blackberry. As my contribution to the body of knowledge online, here's my notes:

If you don't have a 2 in your hand, fold, unless you're defending the big blind or stealing from the button. Even then, you're probably not playing too wrong to fold it.

With these starting hands, do the following:

234Raise or Reraise
235Raise or Reraise
236Playable, fold if lots of action
237Raise or Reraise
238Fold in early pos, raise in late
23xxxOnly to steal
245Raise or Reraise
246Playable, fold if lots of action
247Raise or Reraise
248Fold in early pos, raise in late
24xxxOnly to steal
256Playable, fold if lots of action
257Raise or Reraise
258Fold in early pos, raise in late
25xxxOnly to steal
267Playable, fold if lots of action
26xxxFold - the straight possibilities will kill you
27xxxOnly to steal
347Only to steal or def. blinds
348Only to steal or def. blinds
357Only to steal or def. blinds
358Only to steal or def. blinds
367Only to steal or def. blinds
457Only to steal or def. blinds

If you find yourself thinking "This 9-high hand is probably good," it probably isn't.

If you are holding onto an 8 and betting to draw two cards, fold instead.

If you are holding onto an 8, betting to draw one card, and are afraid you'll hit a straight, fold instead.

That's abuot it. Using this strategy at three (non simultaneous) 50¢/$1 tables this morning, I ended up +$9.10, -$20.00, and +$9.35. The -$20 was me playing too many eights and nines. A bit more practice, and I'm gonna do well at this game.

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