2-7 No-Limit Lowball Poker Strategy
When it comes to 2-7 Lowball Strategy (NL Lowball Single Draw), the most important thing to remember is that this is a game of position. In live games, tells are an element. In 2-7 lowball online the only information we get is betting patterns and number of cards drawn. When in position, we'll gain this information prior to making our own decision. This is a significant advantage when applied correctly.
When thinking NL Lowball strategy, what most players are thinking is, "what starting hands". We'll cover that below and assume you already know the nl 2-7 rules needed to play 2-7 lowball.
2-7 Lowball Starting Hands:
To come up with a good 2-7 Lowball strategy for starting hands, there are some basics a player needs to understand. We'll break down these basics into section to make it easier for you to navigate.
The Jack High Rule
Jack-high hands are favored over one card draws, and queen-high hands are favored over two card draws. This is where position becomes important. Let's say you're holding a hand such as 2-3-5-8-J. When you raise in position and get action, you'll be able to see your opponents' actions first. If this player smooth calls and stands pat, this is generally an indication they are not very strong, as most players would have three bet a strong hand. With that said, the chances they're standing pat with a hand we can beat are slim, so we're going to need to draw one card, as our eight draw is nearly always live in this spot. Now, on the other hand, if that same player smooth calls and then draws one, this is a situation where we'll want to stay pat as our 2-3-5-8-J is favored.
Starting Hand Requirements
Our advice for starting hands is to stick to pat ten hands, and one card draws to nine lows, with the exceptions being never draw to hands which can make a straight or a flush. The reason we choose ten high hands is that most NL 2-7 lowball games are soft enough that we'll get paid off with these hands when we hit or when we complete our draw.
Position and Opponents
How to play these starting hands is determined by our opponent's tendencies and our position. With so many variables involved in opponent's tendencies, we'll give some general advice regarding position.
We're always going to open a pot with pat hands of ten or better, or one card draws to a nine or better. The question comes, what do we do when someone has already opened the pot? Well, in position we have two choices: 3-bet or smooth call. In a soft game, either option can be correct with weak pat hands. A lot can be said for controlling the size of pot and showing down cheap with a hand that might win. However, there is also a thin line between reducing pot size and missing out on value. This is one of those situations where feel and experience are more of a factor than optimal 2-7 lowball strategy as far as text book advice is concerned.
Now, when it comes to playing these same hands out of position, it is generally advisable to 3-bet against an average opponent and smooth call against a rock (tight opponent). The reason we 3-bet is we're powerless the rest of the hand being out of position, and we want to force our opponent to draw. Remember a "smooth call then stand pat" indicates a level of weakness, where a "three bet stand pat" indicates strength.
Final Betting Round
Perhaps the trickiest part of 2-7 lowball strategy is the final betting round. In 2-7 lowball more bluffing occurs than in any other game, as it is critical to bet when the only way you can win is to bet, and you feel there are favorable odds against the player folding. A basic understanding of poker theory goes a long way here it's really just a simple case of the read you have on your opponent versus the strength of your own hand.