Main Menu
No.1 2 3 4 5 6
No.7 8 9 10
Archive of How     to play Poker
In Association with
Play now at the William Hill Casino
  | Home   | Index   | Info   | This Week   | Poker   | News   | Email
22/01/2007 No. 10
he Guardian G2 Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Monday January 22, 2007

Time to buckle your belts for London lowball. If you're the kind of person who moans that you never get good cards, you're going to love this game. It is poker in reverse: the pot is won by whoever has the worst hand. A pair is no good. Straights and flushes are worse. Four of a kind is a disaster. Everything is turned backwards; it's Poker Through the Looking Glass. As Joey Hawthorne says in Super System, "The first lowball game was almost certainly played as a joke."

The structure is just like seven-card stud, so I hope you caught last week's column on how that is played. For the unfamiliar, a series on poker variants is like Twin Peaks or 24: miss one episode, and the whole thing's sunk.

The difference is, you're now choosing your worst (ie lowest) five cards from the seven in front of you. For the purposes of this game, aces are the lowest card in the deck. So the worst hand (and therefore the best hand) is A2346, because these are the lowest five cards that don't make a straight. You want five low cards, no pairs, no straights, no flushes, and the lowest hand wins. If two people have the same high card, you move downwards to work out the winner, so 34568 beats 34578.

In America, and on the internet, they play Razz, which is the same, except that straights and flushes are ignored. So the worst (and therefore best) hand is A2345.

Strategically, you don't want to enter the pot unless your first three cards are all lower than 9. If someone else shows a 9 or higher, they must have very small cards "in the hole", which should help you put them on an exact hand later. If you keep hitting low cards, never stop betting. Most importantly, don't forget to enjoy the schadenfreude when somebody is dealt three kings and has to fold immediately.

Register for Ltd email updates