Poker Coverage: Poker Tournaments Casino News Sports Betting Poker Strategy

Deuce to Seven Triple Draw Lowball: Dealing With Nines After The First Draw

by Kevin Haney |  Published: Apr 21, 2021


Card Player Magazine, available in print and online, covers poker strategy, poker news, online and casino poker, and poker legislation. Sign up today for a digital subscription to access more than 800 magazine issues and get 26 new issues per year!

Once you have a solid understanding of the fundamentals, play after the first draw in Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw Lowball (27TD) is relatively straight-forward, especially in heads-up pots. If you didn’t feel that way before, hopefully you do now after reading the previous articles in the series. (If you happened to miss them, that grievous error can be rectified by checking them out in the online archive.)

However, pat nines or potential draws to them after the first draw will often present some interesting decisions, and in this issue we will discuss the most important factors to consider.

Pat Nines Versus Opponent Drawing One (D1)

In a heads-up pot, whether or not we should pat a nine low depends upon our underlying draw, the cards we have seen, and our opponent’s range, with the strength of our potential draw (should we choose to break) being the most important factor to consider.
A pat nine is most often a favorite against a D1 with two draws to go, but so is the superior draw:

9-7-5-4-2 (57%) vs. 8-6-5-2 (43%)
7-5-4-2 (56%) vs. 8-6-5-2 (44%)

In the above situation we would “break off” a tiny amount of equity by choosing to break instead of patting, yet we should always draw in this situation in order to preserve our implied odds that comes with the ability to make a premium holding.

The higher the likelihood there is that you hold the best D1, the more apt you should be to break. In general, we should tend to break pat nines where our underlying draw is to a seven or a smooth eight such as 8-5-3-2. When we say a draw to a seven, it is important to understand we are talking about hands where we hold a deuce and thus do not have a straight draw. We should definitely pat a holding such as 9-7-6-4-3 since only a deuce will make us a seven low and a draw to 7-6-4-3 is most often an underdog to what our opponent has.

When the situation is relatively close, we should think about our opponent’s range and the cards we have seen, i.e. blockers. A villain who originally opened from early position and drew two (D2) will have a stronger D1 range than someone who defended the big blind against a late position open.

With regards to blockers, if we have seen a few pairs along the way this will reduce the frequency that our opponent will make a pat hand. For example, if we hold 9-8-6-5-2 and have seen two other fives, we should go ahead and pat, especially if villain had opened from early position and thus is more likely to have a strong D1 draw.

A draw to an 8-6 low is on the border so when holding it we should always consider these other factors. Any 9-8-7 low (e.g. 9-8-7-5-2) should be patted and we should also pat holdings with an underlying straight draw such as 9-6-5-4-2 as we have fewer outs to make a seven or eight low.

Pat Nines Versus Opponent Drawing Two (D2)

Against a D2 we should be more apt to pat as our opponent has a more uphill climb to make a made hand of his own, however, we should still probably break the strongest of our underlying draws even though we are breaking off more equity.

For example, a made 9-7-5-4-2 low is around 79% favorite over 8-3-2 and a draw to a 7-5-4-2 is approximately 66%, however, there are other factors to consider. At this juncture in the hand the pot is relatively small, especially if the pot had not been re-raised before the first draw.

After the bets have gone in on the flop, the pot may contain 3.25 big bets, thus breaking around 13% of equity will only cost us a small fraction of a big bet (around .42 big bets) which should be easy to recoup in the long run with our premium draw and position. In 27TD, preserving our implied odds and eliminating potential reverse implied odds should always be factored into our decision making.

In position we should tend to still break our premium draws to a seven and possibly the very smoothest of our eight draws (i.e. 8-4-3-2) as well. Patting 9-8-5-3-2 or worse is a sensible approach; however, if our opponent ever stands pat in front of us we should break.

Out-of-position against an opponent who was drawing two, our decision to break is a little easier as we don’t know the result of his first draw and whether or not villain is still drawing two or has improved to at D1/pat. Therefore, from out-of-position we should tend to break a little more often and more generally consider the situation as if we are up against a D1 to begin with.

D1 To A Nine Versus A Villain’s D1

Here we are weighing the option between drawing to 9-7-3-2 or 7-3-2 against an opponent who was a D1 on the first draw. When we hold position, we have the luxury of knowing whether or not our opponent improved and if he is still drawing the equity situation with two draws to go may resemble the following:

9-7-3-2 (41%) vs. 8-6-5-2 (59%)
7-3-2 (39%) vs. 8-6-5-2 (61%)

Although we are slightly reducing our equity and realization, our best option is probably to draw two as we will preserve our ability to make a premium hand.

However, with rougher holdings such as 9-8-6-2 or 9-8-7-2 our likely best play is to call and draw one. While our draws and overall situation is quite weak we are getting good pot odds to continue on in the pot. One benefit to drawing one on the second draw is that our opponent will tend to bet the turn only when he has made a pat hand.

If we make a nine, ten, or jack low on the second draw and villain checks we should bet and pat as a solid favorite. If our opponent checks and we have missed, we can choose to take the free last draw or possibly opt to turn our rough draw into a snow. If our opponent leads the turn we should fold as the potential to be drawing dead is too immense to continue.

D1 To A Nine Versus A Villain’s D2

The last situation we will consider is when both players were drawing two on the first draw. When the first player checks it most often means he is still drawing two, thus we should tend to bet and D1 to any draw to a nine:

9-7-3-2 (58%) vs. 8-5-2 (42%)
7-3-2 (52%) vs. 8-5-2 (48%)

We have higher equity drawing to the nine and have more turn fold equity on our side when our opponent fails to improve once again.

Knowing when to keep or discard nines after the first draw in 27TD can get complicated; however, experience and thinking through the most important considerations will greatly aid us in making the best possible decision. ♠

Kevin Haney is a former actuary of MetLife but left the corporate job to focus on his passions for poker and fitness. He is co-owner of Elite Fitness Club in Oceanport, NJ and is a certified personal trainer. With regards to poker he got his start way back in 2003 and particularly enjoys taking new players interested in mixed games under his wing and quickly making them proficient in all variants. If interested in learning more, playing mixed games online, or just saying hello he can be reached at