Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was first published in Card Player.
Typical hands in online no-limit single-draw deuce-to-seven lowball
Generally I play low-stakes online no-limit single-draw deuce-to-seven lowball straightforwardly. Here are some typical hands. This seven-handed game has two blinds, 25 and 50 cents.
The first two players fold. The next player opens for the minimum and two players call. You are the big blind and have 8♠ 5♠ 4♠ 3♥ 2♣. (This hand is known as a smooth 8.) You raise $1.50. The opener reraises $1.50. The two original limpers call and the action returns to you. The opener has $15 left. He was clearly slow-playing, that is, he limped, hoping that someone would raise so he could reraise. He could have either a pat hand or a very good one-card draw. What should you do? If you have seen the opener make this same play and call a big reraise, you should put him all in. I assume you have enough chips to do so. You should have enough chips in your stack to put anyone at the table (anyone who does not have more than the maximum buy-in) all in so that you can get full value when a situation like this comes up. If you have seen him make this play and fold for an all-in reraise, then reraise half his chips – and bet the rest after the draw if he calls and no matter whether he stands pat or draws a card and no matter what the other two players do. Of course, call if he goes all in. After all, only four hands can beat you.
Don’t have to worry
The player under the gun limps and gets two callers. The small blind raises 50 cents. You are the big blind and have 9♣ 8♠ 7♠ 3♠ 2♥. You reraise $1.50. The first player reraises all in for another $5. The limpers fold and the small blind calls. The small blind has $10 left. What you do depends on what you know about those two players. If the under-the-gun player makes desperation plays with his last chips, the chances are very good that you have him beat and really don’t have to worry about him. If he plays a good one-card draw this way, ditto. If he plays only pat 8s or better this way – and it’s unlikely you’ll find a player who does this – you can safely fold. If the small blind makes a small raise when he’s drawing to a good hand and then calls a reraise, you should put him all in at this point. He will likely call because of the amount he already has invested. You have way the best of it against any one-card draw and you won’t have to worry about a bet after the draw. If he raises small with a pat 10 or jack and then calls a reraise hoping to scare any opponents into drawing, you again want to raise. If the small blind regularly underraises before the draw – that is, usually only with a good pat 9 or better – then you want to be extremely careful here. You can call here. The small blind will likely check after the draw, and you can also. You might win. If the small blind goes all in at this point, and you know that with any 9 he would just call and fold with anything worse, you should probably fold.
The player under the gun limps and gets three callers. (Yes, you will frequently see this in the small games.) You are on the button with 10♥ 9♣ 8♠ 7♠ 2♠. These are all loose players, who limp with rough draws and when drawing multiple cards. Punish them for their loose play. Raise $2. They may all fold. They may call with their loose draws. However they draw, if they all check, do the same. If one of them bets, you’re probably beat. Base your decision whether to call on what you have observed the player doing before. If the player bets a small amount (say $1.50 or less) and has shown down rough 10s and even jacks in similar situations, call and hope for the best. If he bets a moderate or large amount (half the pot or more) and you have seen him bet in this situation only with a very good hand (say 9-7 or better) in this spot, then probably fold. It doesn’t matter that he drew two cards. While you had way the best of it before the draw, that doesn’t mean those miracle draws don’t sometimes get there. You make money in poker by capitalizing on the mistakes of others. Don’t lessen the impact of their mistakes by calling when it’s almost certain you’re beat. Drawing two cards isn’t nearly as much of a mistake as it might be if the drawer is guaranteed a call by a stubborn pat hand those few times when he beats the pat hand.
Play it aggressively
The second player raises to $1.50. His stack is $45. You, in next position, have 7♥ 5♠ 4♠ 3♣ 2♠. You’ll see a lot of players play it “cute” in this situation and just call. Then, if they get lucky, and someone reraises behind, they pounce. They might win a moderate pot, but generally a play like this gives away the strength of the hand. Better to play it aggressively, just as you might if you had a pat 9 or maybe even a 10. Reraise $3.50. (If the opener instead had $4 in his stack, you would be better off just to call.) If the opener folds for your raise, well, you probably wouldn’t have gotten any more after the draw anyway. If he reraises, hope that it’s a lot so you can put him all in. If he reraises a moderate amount, say another $10, then reraise half his remaining chips. You’ll probably get the rest of them after the draw. If he reraises more than that, just put him all in. If he reraises an amount equal to your raise – and you’ll find a lot of players at the lower limits who seem to find it convenient to click the application’s suggested reraise amount, which is exactly equal to what has just been raised, rather than go to the trouble of using the slide bar – rereraise an amount equal to the pot and take it from there. Of course, if the player is a calling station, that is, you think he’ll call the rest of his chips with any 9 or better, then just oblige him by making that raise.
End of four-part series.