The Rules of Deuce to Seven

What is the Deuce to Seven?

Deuce to Seven or Deuce-to-seven low (often called Kansas City lowball) is a variant of lowball poker. The rank of the hands is reversed and the goal is to make the best possible (lowest) hand, 7-5-4-3-2 (what the name of the variation refers to). The second best hand is 7-6-4-3-2 (see below for more information on hand rank)

Unlike many variants of lowball, aces are the highest cards. For this reason, a hand like 5-4-3-2-A does not make a straight. To make a straight with the ace, you would have to have A-K-Q-J-T.

In some variants of lowball, the ace counts as 1, but here the 2 is the smallest card

The purpose of this article will be to give you a general presentation of the variant without going into all the details given the multiple possible variations of the Deuce to Seven (limit, pot limit, no limit, single draw, triple draw, etc.)

The different types of Deuce to Seven

The Deuce to Seven can be played as:

  • Limite
  • Pot limit
  • Unlimited

You can also play Deuce to Seven in Single Draw or Triple Draw. Triple Draw is very similar to Single Draw with the only difference being that there will be 3 draws in the hand rather than one. We will detail below the sequence of a Single Draw hand. Triple Draw will be played the same way by simply adding 2 rounds of draw by hand

The armor and antes

Again, there will be several ways to do this here. You can play with the blinds only as in Hold'em or, in order to stimulate the action even more, you can also add antes. The antes are usually a fraction of the blinds that each player will have to put in front of them before receiving their cards. The antes and the 2 blinds will be part of the starting jackpot

The distribution of cards and the first round of betting

Once the blinds and antes have been posted, starting with the small blind (to the dealer's left), each player will be dealt 5 cards, one after the other, face down. When all players have received their 5 cards, a round of betting will take place. The talking round will start with the player on the small blind and end with the player on the dealer button. The bids allowed during the bidding period will be dictated by the type of variant you choose (limit, pot limit or no limit)

The draw step

When the previous round of bidding is over, the draw period will take place. During this period, players will take turns swapping between 0 and 5 cards from their hand. The dealer will then give them new cards according to the number of cards they want to change. If you prefer to keep your 5 cards, it will be possible. Not changing any card is called a "stand pat". The fact of "stand pat" shows a lot of strength to the other players

Note that in a game of Deuce to Seven, 52 cards may not be enough in a case where there are many players who change many of their cards. In this case, if you are in a friendly game, you can simply take the cards that have been discarded and shuffle them again to redistribute them to the players. In a casino or gaming hall, the dealer will act in accordance with the rules of that location

Since this variant is in single draw, there will be no more draw periods, but in a Triple Draw game you will have to play 2 more rounds before going to the slaughter

The final round of betting

After the step where players exchange one or more cards, a final round of betting will take place. The principle remains the same and players will always have the option to check, bet, raise or fold depending on the previous action. The size of the bets will be dictated by the size of the blinds and the limit played

Note that if a player pays a bet and is all in, he will automatically go to the slaughter. A "side pot" will then be created to which he will not be entitled (since he will not have contributed to it). When the bidding period is over, the players still in the hand will go to the slaughter

The showdown

The Slaughter is the moment when the players reveal their hand to find out the winner of the prize pool. When all players have folded (except one) before the knockout, the player still in the hand will win the default jackpot without having to show his hand. But when there are 2 or more players left after the last bidding period, then we will go to the slaughter

There are several ways to unveil the cards. In a friendly game, a player could simply volunteer to show their hand. Another way to do this is to start with the small armor by moving clockwise. Another convention is that the player who initiated the most aggressive action in the last betting period will show his hand first

Determine the winning hand

As mentioned above, the goal here is to make the lowest hand. Low hands are always indicated starting from the highest card. The highest card in your hand is usually the most important. Let's take an example:

8-7-6-5-3 and T-9-8-3-2

Which hand wins? The second hand has the smallest card (a 2), but it also has the highest card (a T or 10). The first hand beats the second. That's why we say that the highest card in your hand will be the most important. To familiarize yourself with the strength of the hands, here are, in descending order, the 10 strongest hands in the Deuce to Seven:

  • 7-5-4-3-2
  • 7-6-4-3-2
  • 7-6-5-3-2
  • 7-6-5-4-2
  • 8-5-4-3-2
  • 8-6-4-3-2
  • 8-6-5-3-2
  • 8-6-5-4-2
  • 8-6-5-4-3
  • 10-8-7-4-3-2

Notice that lowball hands are scored the opposite of hands in high poker variants, i.e., from the highest card to the lowest card