LOW AND HIGH-LOW POKER VARIANTS

Here are the more popular Low and High-Low Poker variants.

Lowball
This game, especially popular in the Western States, is Draw Poker in reverse. In the legal games of California Poker club, Lowball is probably played as much as Five-Card Draw Poker. Incidentally, Stad Poker is prohibited by law in California licensed Poker clubs.
There are no minimum requirements for opening the pot and in the showdowm the lowest hand wins the pot. Flushes and straights do not count. In other words if a hand consists of one suit or five cards in sequence, that does not affect it. The ace ranks low, counting as a 1. if all players pair and stay until the showdown, one pair of aces wins the pot since they are lower than one pair of deuces or any other pair. The lowest possible hand is five, four, three, two, ace, and is called a wheel, or bicycle.
The addition of a wild joker, commonly called the Bug, is used frequently in Lowball games. The joker occupies a unique position. If there is a natural ace in the hand the jocker does not pair that ace- it simply ranks as the missing card next higher than the ace. Examples: an ace-two-three-four-five hand cannot be beaten by joker-ace-two-three-five. These hands tie, but ace-two-three-five-six loses to ace –joker-three-four-six because the joker can be designated as the missing deuce. Some Lowball clubs have instituted what is known as the sevens rule. This means that after the draw if a player checks with a seven-low or better, he forfeits any further profits from the pot. He may still win the pot of course, but should another player bet and the player with a seven-low calls and wins the pot, the player who made the bet is entitled to remove it from the pot.
The player should realize that when playing Lowball, a pair, particularly a high pair (from nine up), is almost worthless. It is foolish to play a hand after an opening bet on the strength of having three low cards with the hope of getting two low cards on the draw. This is one of the most foolish draws at Lowball. Players do not seem to realize that the probability of drawing two low hole card is almost as remote as the probability of filling a three-card stright at Drav Poker. If you draw two low cards, you have the possibility of pairing your other three low cards; and you now hold a pair or probably two pairs. So, as an overall tip, the best hand at Lowball is a good pat hand, but you don’t always get good pat hands; therefore I suggest you draw only one card to a four-card no-pair at this unique game.
Hands such as six-high are equal to a straight flush in Draw Poker, and a seven–high is equal to four of a kind. These hands usually will win the pot.

Double-Barrel Draw
This game is a combination of Draw Poker and lowball. The author highly reco0mmends this game to a player who considers Draw Poker too slow and Lowball too fast. Double-Barrel Draw is played exactly as in Draw Poker, except that if openers do not happen to be dealt and everyone has passed, the game is continued on the basis of Lowball and the leader has the option of opening or passing, and each player has a turn in the same rotating order as the previously played Draw Poker hand . Should all players pass, a new deal is dealt as in Draw Poker and the game continue as described above.

Leg Poker
This fascinating addition to Draw Poker or any of its variants is sometimes called Leg in a Pot. In Leg Poker the pot stays on the table until one player has won two legs (won it twice); then it is his to keep. The legs need not be won consecutively. Warning: If you are in a five, six, or seven-handed game, don’t play this near quitting time because it might be several hours before one player does win two legs.

Speedy High-Low Leg Poker
This is a fast variation of Leg Poker with these added rules. If no one has a pair of aces or better on the first round, the hand is how played as Lowball, described above. If no one opens, the same deler keeps dealing until a leg (hand) is won. However, the pot stays in the center of the table unit a player has won two legs (won it twice) which wins the pot for keeps.
The same dealer must keep dealing until a player has won a leg. Players must antre on each new dealt hand. To avoid arguments, and confusion, use a score pad to record winning games.

High-Low Draw
This is simply Draw Poker in which the highest hand and the lowest hand split the pot. However, unlike Draw Poker, a player can open on any hand (jacks or better are not required) and no high or low announcement is required. cards decide at the showdown.
In playing for high I recommend that you play any hand that you would play in regular Draw Poker, and, in addition, remember that any possible low four-card flush or straight may turn out to be a low hand. The majority of players usually draw for low rather than for high. The high hands may run slightly higher than those in Draw Poker, and the low hands not much worse than the low hands in Lowball. As a rule it is better to draw to a good high possibility than to a good low one. See the basic General Rules for poker for rank of low hands.

Nine –Handed High-Low Draw Poker
Played exactly as standard Draw Poker except for the following: Up to nine players can play at the same time. After each player has been dealt five face-down cards, betting starts with the player to the dealer’s left- he must open the pot and make a bet, but on the draw he can check if he so wishes. Only three raises are permitted on this betting round and other betting rounds. Players may choose to stand pat or discard one or two cards. After the discard turn of play has been completed the dealer places the two top cards of the deck in the center of the table face up, placing a coin on the first dealt card for identification. If a player discarded one card he makes use of the upturned card with the coin on top for his fifth card. If a player discarded two cards, he makes use of both upturned cards. If he failed to discard, he cannot make use of center cards. Straights and flushes may be considered both high and low hands. Example. A hand comprised of ace, two, three, four, and five may be declared high or low, or both high and low. A deuce, three, four, seven, eight fuslh also may be declared as high or low, or both high and low.

Seven-Card High –Low Draw Poker
This is a variation of Draw Poker with the following exceptions: After the ante has been made each player is dealt seven cards face down one at a time in rotation to the left. This is followed by a betting interval in which any amount up to the maximum limit can be wagered. After the first betting interval, each remaining player passes three cards to the player next discards two cads, making his best five-card high hand or his best five-card low hand. Then starting with the leader each player, in rotation to the left, rolls a card (turns it face up and places it on the table in front of him) and a betting interval takes place. Each player may turn up any four of his five cards, but he must, of course, always have one card face down. Three additional cards are rolled, each followed by a betting interval. After the last betting interval, the declaration for high, low, or high and low follows.

Rockleigh
In this fascinating High-low variation, four cards are dealt to each player as in Driw Poker. After the dealer receives his fourth card, he then deals four groups of two cards each in a row face down in the center of the table. After the player’s look at their four cards and a betting round takes place, the dealer turns face up any two-card group he wishes. Another betting round and another two-card group from the center of the table has been turned face up, followed by the fifth and final betting round. On the showdown a player, announcing high, is permitted to select the best five cards for his hand, using either one or two cards from only one of the four groups. The same holds true when announcing low. online poker pelyers on the showdown must stipulate and point to the two-card group they wish to incorporate in their high or low hand. When announcing both high and low, a player may make use of one two-card group for high and another two-card group for low. Or, if desirable, make use of one two-card group for both high and low.

Jersey High-Low
One of the Poker creations of the author, this game is played the same as High-Low Draw Poker except for the following:

  1. Five cards are dealt to each player as in Draw play. After the dealer receives his fifth card, he now deals four groups of three face-down cards on to the center of the table in a horizontal row.
  2. After the players pick up their cards and look at them, the first betting round takes place.
  3. next, the dealer turns face up the first three-card group to the dealer’s left, and a second betting round takes place. He continues turning a group of three cards face up followed with a betting round, as each row is face up, until the last row of three cards has been turned face up and the fifth and final betting round has been completed.
  4. A player must make use of three cards from his hand and two cards from one of the four three-card groups resting on the table. However, if a player calls “high-low,” he may use two cards from one group to help form his high hand and two cards from another group to help form his low hand. Straights and flushes are not considered as low poker card game