Triple Draw is still a relatively new poker variant, making its WSOP debut in 2004. Prior to this its origins can be traced through similar low-ball draw games. In 2002 A-5 Triple Draw was offered at the WSOP, the same year that triple draw games were first offered online by Ultimate Bet.
Prior to 2002, triple draw games were rare and most commonly were offered as part of mixed games at ultra high-limits rather than as stand-alone games.
A precursor of the 2-7 Triple Draw was offered during Amarillo Slim's “Super Bowl of Poker” tournaments which ran from 1979 to 1984. The name of the variant was “Ten-Handed Triple-Draw Lowball”. It was clearly different from the modern 2-7 triple-draw since players started the hand with 10-cards, but we can see that the origins of lowball draw games stretch back several decades at the very least.
2-7 Triple Draw Objective
2-7 Triple Draw is a lowball draw game which involves 3 rounds of drawing and 4 rounds of betting. The objective of the game is to win our opponent's chips which typically have a monetary value. In a tournament game the objective is to be the last player left standing with all of the chips.
2-7 triple draw is a positional game meaning it makes use of a dealer button similar to hold'em. Pre-draw (first round of betting before any drawing takes place), the blinds act last. The blinds must also make a mandatory payment of the small-blind and big-blind. Post-draw (after the drawing rounds have begun), the button acts last on every street while the player directly to the left of the button acts first on every street.
2-7 triple draw can be played with any betting structure, I.e limit, no-limit or pot-limit, although it is most commonly played as a fixed limit game.
The action proceeds as follows
- Dealer deals 5-cards to each player
- First Round of betting
- Players draw cards
- Second Round of betting
- Players draw cards
- Third Round of betting
- Players draw cards
- Final Round of betting
On each round players have the option to discard as many of their cards as they wish up to a total of 5. These should be replaced with fresh cards from the desk. Assuming a player is happy with their hand they have the option to stand pat
, which means they don't discard or draw any additional cards.
Watching how many cards our opponents draw is an important part of hand-reading in 2-7 triple draw.
It is possible to run out of cards when playing draw variants. In such an occurrence the discard pile is shuffled and players continue by drawing from other players' discards.
It's important to take note of the hand-rankings in 2-7 Triple Draw as they are different from other lowball variants. In the majority of low-ball variants Aces are low and flushes/straights are ignored, but this is not the case in 2-7 Triple-Draw. Flushes and straights (and any pair+) count against our hand and Aces are always high. And we mean always – A,2,3,4,5 does not make a straight in 2-7 Triple Draw.
So rather than other low-ball variants where A,2,3,4,5 is the nuts, the nuts in 2-7 Triple Draw is actually 2,3,4,5,7. Note that 2,3,4,5,6 would make a straight and would actually be a very weak hand. Essentially, when compared to hold'em we are simply trying to make the absolute worse hand possible while remembering that Aces are always high. When analysed like this some might even find hand-reading in 2-7 triple draw easier than the standard low-ball method of reading hands where straights and flushes are ignored.
Basic Strategy – The Draw
The first concept to master is understanding how many cards to discard and draw based on our hand-strength.
As a rough guide
- 5 cards 9 or below(no pair or straight or flush etc) – Stand Pat
- 4 cards 8 or below and a higher card – Draw 1
- 3 cards 8 or below and 2 higher card – Draw 2
- 2 cards 7 or below and 3 higher cards – Draw 3
Hands weaker than this should be discarded in most situations. It's generally recommended to play hands that hold a 2, but to be cautions when playing hands that hold a 6. The 6 is needed for all low straights, so without the 6 we don't need to worry as much about making a straight and losing.
It's also recommended to start out with low cards and draw to higher cards rather than the other way round. So it's better to hold 2,3,4,8 and draw to the 5,6 or 7 rather than hold the 8,7,6,3 and draw to the 4,5,or 2.
Basic Strategy – Position
Similar to other positional variants of poker, our standard hand criteria is going to be dependent on our position. We might fold something like 2,7,A,K,Q in early position yet this hand might be fine to open-raise on the BTN or the SB.
We should also keep in mind that it's better to raise-first-in if we want to play a hand rather than to open limp. There are exceptions to this however, we might be able to limp if several other players have already limped before us or if the action is on us unopened and we are in the SB. It's also fine to check-back the BB if our hand is not strong enough for an iso-raise.
Basic Strategy - Hand Reading
There are 2 main ways that we can hand-read in 2-7 Triple Draw. The first is observing our opponents betting patterns. The second is looking at how many cards he draws. As a guide for hand reading, the strength of a player's holding is roughly proportional to the amount of cards they draw. If they draw 1 card they are likely reasonably strong while if they draw 5-cards they likely had total garbage. Assuming someone stands pat they usually have a decent made low hand, probably 10-low or better at the very least.
For the most part 9-low and 10-low hands are considered bluffcatchers while 8-low and better are considered the value hands.
Basic Strategy - Betting Structure
the game is played no-limit
or fixed-limit will have a big effect on the correct strategy. There are 2 main differences with the fixed-limit variety of the game. Firstly we will have less fold-equity on any given street since we can only bet in accordance with the allowed fixed bet-sizing
. Secondly we will have less implied odds
in any situation since it is not possible to get all of the remaining stacks in at any given time.
This will often have an effect on the types of hands we can play profitably pre-draw. Certain weak draws we might be able to play profitably in no-limit while we can't make them profitable in fixed-limit. In a no-limit game we might pick up a big payout if we hit our draw, and we also might be able to bluff our opponent post-draw if he shows weakness.
This is a lot harder to do in fixed-limit. We won't get a big enough payout if we hit to justify our pre-draw investment, and it's overall less likely that we will be able to successfully bluff our opponent post-draw.
Why You Should Play 2-7 Triple Draw
If you like draw games, especially lowball
games that generate a ton of action then maybe 2-7 Triple Draw is for you.
Since 2-7 Triple Draw is less studied and understood by the average person it can be easy to find soft games and make money with less effort than in more popular variants such as Hold'em.