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5-Card Draw Rules

5-Card “Low ball” overview and rules

5-Card Draw (“Low Ball”)
“Dealer’s Choice” variants: roll your own, hole-card wild, follow the queen, 2-7, etc.
Similar to 5-Stud High with following exceptions:
Lowest hand wins (no “8 or better” qualifier)
Straights and flushes DO NOT count as a high hand
Highest door card (suits–low to high: CDHS): forced “Bring-in” or “Complete”
Starting Hands (see 5-card low probabilities)
A-5 (the “Wheel”) is the nuts, but highly unlikely (0.0394%)
Any non-pair (50.7%) is often best when short-handed
T-high or better (i.e. lower) happens only ~10%
Position (low-hand opens from 3rd Street to River)
Odds and Outs Calculations (5-Stud calculators)

[sub-page per effective stack size]

General Strategic Considerations

Player Types: Statistics (see poker-strategy blog for details)

Table buy-in recommendations
Fixed Limit Draw: 15 bets recommended … 9 bets minimum stack size
Pot Limit or No Limit: match the table’s big stack if you have an edge, or buy in for the average to get your feet wet (see 6-max Texas Hold’em Bankroll Management)

5-Card Draw Low (generally only found in house games)

The Basics

Similar to Razz, i.e. straights/flushes are not high, and the Ace is low)
Hand Ranking: (spreadsheet)
Antes (~10% to 50% of the limit): may also be played with blinds as in Hold’em
2 betting rounds (before and after the draw): 3-raise limit (i.e. 4 bets per round)
Position: player immediately left of dealer or big blind is always first to act
Normally 6 players per table (absolute maximum of 7 – w/potential re-shuffles)
Minimum buy-in per table: FL 9 bets – 15-20 bets recommended stack

Betting and Drawing

Drawing: see 5-card deal and drawing probabilities spreadsheet
“Standing Pat”
Generally a monster (7 low or better), any non-pair or a bluff.

1 card
No pair, T-low, wheel-ish draw or a pair+ (i.e. post-draw bluff move)

2 cards (see spreadsheet for pairing odds)
Almost always 3 to the wheel or 8 high – within the realm of “idiot draws”

3 cards (high probability that the opponent has no idea, see pairing odds)

4 cards (must show the Ace – see point 3.d 😉
Odds and Outs Calculations (5-Card low calculators)


General Statistics

5-Card Hands: Low

5-Card LOW Hands # LOW Hands in 5 Cards Probability (as a %) Odds Against
5-high 1,024 0.039% 2537.1 : 1
6-high 5,120 0.197% 506.6 : 1
7-high 15,360 0.591% 168.2 : 1
8-high 35,840 1.380% 71.5 : 1
9-high 71,680 2.760% 35.2 : 1
10-high 129,024 4.960% 19.2 : 1
Jack-high 215,040 8.270% 11.1 : 1
Queen-high 337,920 13.000% 6.7 : 1
King-high 506,880 19.500% 4.1 : 1
Total 1,317,888 50.697%


Starting-Hands Ranges




Post-Flop Play





Starting-Hands Recommendations (“ranges”)

Full-Ring (i.e. 5-6 players) Starting Hands Recommendations


4-Max Starting Hands Recommendations


Heads-Up Starting Hands Recommendations



See our poker-strategy blog and of course in the Essential Poker Knowledge videos for additional details and clarification on the information provided here.


Strategy Recap and What’s to Come for Our Members

5-Card Draw Lowball …


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