An exciting and fun to play draw poker game is California lowball, which become primarily one of the most popular draw poker versions in the 1970s. Played like a standard draw poker game, the difference in California lowball and its draw poker cousins is that it uses the ace to five low hand values and one joker in a standard fifty-two card deck. Another difference in standard games and California poker is that this spin on the game is always played with the small and big blind in place, rather than the ante betting system that many games use (players cannot check until the second round of betting). One of the differences in California lowball as compared to other games of poker is that players with a hand that is seven high or better or checks following the draw will forfeit his right to the money that might be placed in the pot following the draw. Simply put, in California lowball, a player may not check a seven unless they intend to fold following a bet by one of their opponents. California lowball is most similar to the game of five card draw. If you like this game you are sure to like Rush Poker and 2-7 Triple Draw. Here are some links to a few of my other poker guides:
Rules Covering California Lowball Play
Five cards are dealt to each player in a facedown position. Players can either fold their cards or bet. At this point, players will choose to either discard the cards that they are holding that are unwanted to be replaced with new cards. Players who choose not to draw any cards are doing what is referred to as “standing pat”. Players can replace anywhere from no cards up to all five cards in the drawing round. Another round of betting takes place. This is the final round. The showdown occurs when all bets have been placed and the winner is declared. The winner in California lowball is the player with the worst “conventional” poker hand among all players according to the hand rankings later discussed.
California Lowball Rules on Misdeals
Misdeals in California lowball are handled the same as misdeals in Texas holdem. California lowball is a button game, meaning that the dealer chip passes to the left with each new hand. A bet and a total of four raises is allowed in California lowball play. Common misdeals are when a player receives a card that should have been facedown but was dealt facing up, or when a player is not dealt to when he is still active in the California lowball game.
California Lowball Rules on Hand Ranking
To evaluate the hand that is held in California lowball, the ace to five low is the method that is used. Pairs and three-of-a-kind are always bad for a California lowball hand. However, a hand with one pair would beat a hand with two pair or a pair with three of a kind, and so on. Straights and flushes are ignored in California lowball. Hands without pairs are compared with one another using the highest ranking card (as in games that are based on high hands), only in California lowball, the lowest hand wins. For example, the hand of eight – five – four – three – two beats a hand that holds nine – seven – six – four –three. The best California lowball poker hand is the five – four – three – two – ace hand, which is known as a wheel.