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Triple Draw

12th February, 2006
If you have read many of my past columns you know that I am an advocate of learning to play a wide range of poker variations. This past week I took a little of my own advice and sat down in a Triple Draw game for the first time. It was fun, but painful at times as well.

Triple Draw is played in two different forms, two to seven (2-7) and Ace to five (A-5). The object is to have the best possible low hand. It is a 5-card draw variation, where you can draw three times. In A-5, the best hand is A 2 3 4 5 and straights and flushes are ignored. In 2 7, the best hand is 2 3 4 5 7, and straights and flushes do count against you, and Aces are high. There are betting rounds after the initial deal and after each round or draw. You do not have to draw any cards on any round.

Often, when you have four cards to a good low, like 2 3 4 5, and draw one card on the final round, you will pair one of your cards, which makes your hand just about worthless. However, you can try to use the way your opponents play against them. For example, you have a decent low like 2 3 4 7 T and dont draw any cards on the last round, and your opponent draws one. You can bet into them and if they paired one of their cards or got a high card, they will often fold, assuming you have a strong hand.

Though I am far from an expert, much like every variation of poker, your starting hand goes a long way in determining your chances to win. Once I started folding any hand that didnt have at least two cards 5 and below, my results improved. I am pretty sure that if you went as far as to fold any starting hand that didnt have at least three cards 6 and below you would do very well, especially at the lower limits.

Of course the only way to improve is practice, but if you have an opportunity to play Triple Draw, you should give it a try. You will see that you must look at the value of a hand in a much different way than in Texas holdem, but I believe there is a good chance it will improve your overall game. Until next week, good luck at the tables!

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