There are many different forms of lowball available on the net. Lowball poker, stud lowball, Razz lowball, split pot lowball, high card lowball, badugi lowball, pineapple Variant lows, crazy pineapple lows, vegas 1776, and pineapple or betcheap lowball are just a few of the forms of lowball in existence today. In poker, a form of lowball is any hand containing five cards which are ranked below King – Ten, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, and two. In stud poker, a hand will contain between eight and ten cards.
A good example of a hand would be King-Ten suited, or Ace-King, Ace-Queen, King-Queen suited, Queen-Ten, Queen-Jack, Ten-Queen, nine-Ten, eight-Nine, seven-Seven, six-Six, five-Five, four-Four, three-Three, two-Two, one-One, and ace-anything. Incidentally, I think we can safely rule out ten-Queen and ten-Jack, as they’re both too loose. I want to be able to say to myself that the next time I play poker, the only hands I’ll be playing will be KQ, 67, or 22, Ace-nine suited or not!
In stud poker, a hand will contain between four and seven cards, ranking the same as poker, except that the final card is expected to be lower in rank. A good example of this would be a hand of 8-8-Q-3-3, where the King in the flop, plus the Queen, plus the 3 make the hand. We tried to play Ace-King and our opponent called us both times with his A-7. Eventually our opponent had to go all in with a pair of twos and our hand went to the river, where it was beaten 20-1.
Another good example of a hand that could be considered stud poker is A-Q-7- 2-2. Again, the A-2 in the mix could be expected to crack most composed hands, the only hand that may be too strong is 10-10, and the lowest of the low in this sequence would be 7-6-5-4-3, where A-5 is the lowest two of five cards — and we have 7 high card, 6 low card, and 5 high card. Try building your starting hand rather than speculating on the flop or the turn.
A good way to avoid getting outdrawn is to work out what other strong contenders there are at the table. One of the dangers of playing lots of low hands is that the high hands — particularly 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 — will have you dominated. If you’re up against high hands, try to get as much cash as possible into your pot before you see the flop. With the high hands, once the flop comes, it’s generally going to cost you money, unless you hit your set.
The other danger is that the small blind may call a strong all-in bet with only the blinds, putting you so far behind that it’s typically a mistake to call. We’ve all seen it happen in internet poker rooms: the player in the big blind just calls, the button calls, the small blind calls, and the big blind checks, each one producing a pot that’s about to flip over. This is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t fall into the “blind trap.” The blind should normally fold, but sometimes he’ll call, especially if he has a stronger hand, particularly if he has A-K or K-Q. Using this player as an example, we can say that an all-in would cost around 300 chips, which is quite a large number in comparison to the small blind’s blind. The small blind should fold, but the big blind won’t because he’s already in the hand.
Take these observations into consideration when you make your final decision about your MPO500. Think about the way you want to play the hand — raising or folding. Also think about what the other players at the table are doing. Have they called? Maybe one or even two players have stayed in the hand, raising the bets. What about that?
If you’re playing internet poker, keep notes on how many players you’re facing at the table, especially the ones who have remained in the hand. This information could be used against you later. Have you been studying your opponents? Maybe you’re using a “poker face” to try and deceive them, staring at your cards and not showing anything. Or maybe you fold when you should actually call, then suddenly call another time, then fold when you should call again, then realize that everyone has checked behind you.