Lowball is a poker variant which is quite similar to five card stud but with one big difference – the lowest hand wins. Just like in five card stud each of the players receives five cards facing down and a betting round takes place. After the bets each of the players can discard as many cards as he want (although usually it is highly recommended to discard more than 4 or even 3 cards). There are two major types of Lowball poker.
The first is the A-5 Lowball. In A-5 straights and flushes do not count at all and the ace is considered to be low. Thus the strongest hand in A-5 is A2345 and the suite does not matter.
The second most prominent type of Lowball is 2-7 Lowball, which is also known as Kansas City Lowball. In 2-7 Lowball the straights and flushes do count. The Ace is also considered only as high. Thus the strongest hand in 2-7 Lowball is 23457 which must not be a flush.
Lowball is a popular poker variant in many casinos as it attracts many novice gamblers. To some it may seem that it is easier to draw lower ranked cards than real poker combinations. This is of course an obvious mistake as the chances to receive any card, whether it helps to create a traditional combination or not, are exactly the same. None the less, many casinos offer Lowball bonuses under some conditions.
Phil Smithson, Editor. November 8, 2005.