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Deuce to Seven Triple Draw Lowball: Turn Fundamentals

by Kevin Haney |  Published: May 05, 2021

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Mixed game players are often attracted to limit games because the action moves fast and the long tanks that are commonplace in big bet games are relatively rare.

However, there are some spots that require some thought. The turn is usually the most difficult street to play well in any poker variant, and Deuce to Seven Triple Draw Lowball (27TD) is no exception. For example, if we lead out on the turn with a weak low and get raised, a case can possibly be made for all of the following options: folding, calling/patting, calling/breaking, and three-betting/patting. Whenever someone requires a little more time, even the most impatient of players tend to be understanding of the situation as they have all been there at some point themselves.

Our discussions on turn play will be extensive, detailed, and very mathematical, as that is the nature of the game. Before we get into more intense discussions it will be most helpful to first go over some basic core concepts that we will be revisiting often when shaping our strategies.

Equities With One Draw To Go

A pat jack is usually a small favorite over any one player drawing one, but so is the superior draw. So if we have a premium draw underneath (e.g. J-7-4-3-2) we should break and draw. Breaking allows us to make money on the river, whereas had we chosen to pat we cannot bet for value and are reduced to bluff catching. If our underlying draw is rough, we should tend to pat. For example, we would pat J-8-7-6-2 against a single opponent drawing one.

Equities vary depending on the strength of the draw out against you and the dead cards, but a ten low typically has 60-70% equity against any single player drawing one. For example, 10-7-4-3-2 is around a 67% favorite over a draw to an 8-6-3-2, however, if we choose to break and draw at the seven, our equity advantage would decline to approximately 54%. Since our winning chances are significantly reduced, it would be a small mistake to break the 10-7-4-3-2 even though by drawing we would expect to recoup some of the loss on the last betting round.

In a three-way pot, a ten is most often the equity favorite against two drawing hands:

10-7-4-3-2 46%
7-5-3-2 30%
8-5-4-2 24%

However, once again it is a close decision on whether to pat or break when your underlying draw is so strong. In a three-way pot with our opponents still drawing, we should always pat a nine and break a jack.

Equities With Two Draws To Go

Why should we discuss equities with two draws to go in an article focused on turn play? The answer is that they are relevant for turn decisions when we are out of position and thus don’t have any information regarding the outcome of our opponent’s second draw. Therefore, in situations when we want to estimate our equity and decide how to best play various pat holdings, we must determine the probability of our hand holding up over the course of two draws.

For example, suppose we are out of position and both players are drawing one on the second draw. If we make a 10 low, we are not a 60-70% favorite to win (as indicated above with one draw to go) because our opponent could have already made a better low on the second draw.

Since our opponent may have already improved, a 10 low is an underdog in this situation while a pat nine is generally a small favorite. Therefore, when we find ourselves in this spot, we should tend to lead out with nines but check most of our 10 lows, especially those tens with good draws underneath.

Betting all of our 10 lows will create many problems for us. We will tend to face raises from a wider variety of made hands and draws and our opponent also has the ability to “freeze” us.

Freezing

Freezing is an in-position turn play where there is a decent chance that we hold the best pat hand, however, we just call for the dual purpose of saving money when our hand is instead second best and also to give the impression to our opponent that we are still most likely drawing. When we just call, our opponent will pat his weaker holdings and when we have the best low, our decision to not raise ensured us the pot.

For example, suppose we hold position in a heads-up pot and both players draw one on the second draw. On the turn our opponent leads into us, highly representing a pat low, and we have made an 8-7-5-4-2 low. Even if we estimate that there is a 55-60% chance that we hold the best hand we should just call.

Calling prevents slightly “value owning” ourselves as even if the 55-60% estimate of having the best hand is indeed correct, our raise may be a small money loser because it gives our opponent the ability to three-bet when his hand is best. However, another important reason to just call is that a raise may cause our opponent to break worse lows and therefore instead of being dead in the water, he is now drawing live to the entire pot.

Suppose our opponent has 9-7-4-3-2, we just call the turn bet, and he pats thus ensuring that the pot will be ours. He may even call a river bet as well with that hand, which is a nice cherry on top.

Now let’s assume we raise the turn and villain decides to break and draw. The good news is that we are getting an extra bet on the turn with around 77% equity, netting us approximately .54 big bets (77%-23%) of value.

The bad news is that our raise has now put the underlying pot (reflecting the turn call but not the raise) at risk. If the size of the pot that we have put at risk is 6.75 big bets and our opponent has 23% equity, inducing a break has cost us approximately 1.55 big bets (23% x 6.75).

If we gain .54 big bets on the raise but lose approximately 1.55 big bets from putting the pot at risk, our net loss is around one big bet. Making a decision in a limit game that causes us to lose one big bet in expectation is quite substantial, and to make matters worse, we are now all but compelled to call a river bet due to the bloated pot we created.

There will be further discussion on freezing, and all of the other topics outlined above as we walk through many different turn situations in future issues. ♠

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 haneyk612@gmail.com.