Lowball, also sometimes known as low-poker, is a type of poker characterized by its flipping of the traditional rank of poker hands around. While most traditional poker games reward numerically high hands, lowball makes the cards with the lowest numeric value the most valuable cards in the deck. The winner of any hand would be the person with the fewest special hands (such as pairs or three of a kinds) and with the lowest sum of their cards. Exactly how this is calculated can vary, with there being four main variants. In order of frequency:

  1. A-5, where aces are low and straights and flushes are ignored. This makes the lowest hand without any special hands (and, therefore, the best hand) ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, which is where the A-5 name comes from. The lowest possible hand is frequently known as the wheel.
  2. A-6, also known as 64 or 6-4, where aces are low but straights and flushes are high. The best hand would then be ace, 2, 3, 4, 6 (having a five would cause a straight, making the hand rank too high).
  3. 2-7, also known as 7-5, where aces, straights and flushes are high. This makes the best hand 2, 3, 4, 5, 7.
  4. A much less frequent variation would be 2-6 or 6-5, where straights and flushes are ignored but aces are high. The best hand would then be 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. 

Due to this being a poker game, there are multitudes of variants on these basic formulas, with likely hundreds of different sets of house rules and variations. Remember not to bet too heavy before you've learned the rules!


This writeup part of the Team Better movement.

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