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Four-Time Bracelet Winner Brian Yoon Talks Tournament Triple Draw

by Bernard Lee |  Published: Apr 20, 2022

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Brian Yoon Credit: WSOPDuring this series of strategy columns, I have been interviewing 2021 World Series of Poker bracelet winners. These champions will provide observations, tips, and strategies for you, the readers of Card Player, about the specific poker game in which they captured their title.

The Event: $10,000 Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Championship
The Winner: Brian Yoon

Since 2013, Brian Yoon has quietly won four WSOP bracelets while earning almost $5.5 million on the tournament circuit. His first three titles were captured in no-limit hold’em events and impressively, two of them were against massive fields.

In 2013, the California native won the $1,111 Little One for One Drop, outlasting 4,756 entries for $663,727. Then in 2017, he outlasted another enormous field in the $1,500 Monster Stack event, this time with 6,716 players. For this win, Brian took home a seven-figure score of $1,094,349. His other hold’em bracelet win came in the 2014 $5,000 eight-handed event for $633,341. That time he beat out 550.

Additionally, he has three top-60 finishes in the WSOP main event. As you can see, he is no stranger to navigating his way through massive fields.

“I think early on, most of these tournaments play very similar. But, I find that when I go deep in these tournaments, many amateurs are so scared to play poker because there is so much money up top and (they are) so worried to make a mistake. They value their tournament life so much that you end up winning so many small or medium pots. Overall, if you are not afraid to be eliminated, you can take advantage of this situation and get deep in these tournaments.”

Although only playing no-limit hold’em at the beginning of his poker career, he began to try mixed games at the WSOP.

“I started playing mixed games just for fun about six or seven years ago. I dabbled in the eight-game (mix) at the WSOP after getting eliminated in a no-limit (hold’em) event and it was pretty fun. I didn’t have any expectations and I enjoyed it.”

Of all the mixed games, Brian had a penchant for limit 2-7 triple draw and started playing every chance he could, whether live or online. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the 32-year-old devoted more time to studying poker, especially limit 2-7 triple draw.

All of his hard work paid off during the 2021 WSOP as he impressively captured the $10,000 Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Championship, along with the $240,341 first-place prize.

Recently, I spoke with Brian for my radio show (You can watch the full interview on my YouTube Channel – Bernard Lee Poker) and got some of his thoughts about playing in limit 2-7 triple draw tournaments.

Bernard: Congrats on winning the triple draw event. What an incredible game to get your fourth bracelet.

Brian: Thanks. I really like the game and have been working a lot on it during the pandemic.

Bernard: In less than a decade, you have won four bracelets, but your first three were in no-limit hold’em. What drew you to mixed games, especially limit 2-7 triple draw?

Brian: I started trying my hand at mixed games and (limit) 2-7 triple draw was definitely my favorite. The basic strategy is not too complicated and there is still a little gamble to it as well. Then, I always played the PokerStars SCOOP and WCOOP triple draw tournaments online. I felt that I would get a little better every time I played, but I wanted to improve even more.

Then, the perfect storm happened. COVID game me more time so I decided to focus and improve in my triple draw game. Also, I was having a little lack of interest in no-limit hold’em as well. This situation allowed me to improve my triple draw game and when the 2021 WSOP rolled around, I was ready to play.

Bernard: Before we proceed, I want to explain the basics of this unique game for those who have never heard of and/or played.

Limit 2-7 triple draw is a five-card game with three separate draws. Hence, the name triple draw. As with any lowball game, the worst hand is the winner. However, this game has a twist in that an ace is always considered high. Thus, the lowest card is a deuce. Also, straights and flushes count against you. Since straights count against you, 2-3-4-5-6 would not be the best low hand. Thus, 2-3-4-5-7 is the best hand possible and how the game derives its name. This hand is even referred to by players as “number one” or the wheel.

After putting up the small blind and big blind, the betting is similar to hold’em where the first two times (pre-draw and after first draw) you can make a small bet, and after the second and third draw, there is a big bet.

Brian: That is correct. The betting is similar to limit hold’em, but the main differences are that limit 2-7 triple draw is a five-card draw game and being a lowball game, you are trying to make the worst hand.

Bernard: Can you share some key strategies when playing in a triple draw tournament?

Brian: The first key strategy is important in any game of poker – starting hands. If you play hands that are marginal, you can get into trouble from the start. The best starting hands are ones that have a deuce.

It seems simple and almost basic, but it is so advantageous to have a deuce. Remember, you cannot make a 7 (low) without a deuce. This is why a deuce is so critical. (Note: There are only four possible 7 hands – 2-3-4-5-7, 2-3-4-6-7, 2-3-5-6-7, and 2-4-5-6-7).
Now, you could start a hand without a deuce, as a solid 8 low can often win. But remember, without a deuce, you can’t be drawing to a 7 which limits you right away.

Bernard: That’s great advice. Do you have any other strategies?

Brian: The other key strategy is position, which is so important, even more than hold’em. In any 2-7 game, the player in position will get to see what his/her opponent will do first. You not only know if they bet before you act, but also see if and how many cards they are drawing, which is incredibly valuable information. This information could be the difference in whether you draw or stay pat.

Bernard: Speaking of drawing cards, what are your thoughts on this?

Brian: So obviously it’s going to vary a little bit based on position. But in general, on the first draw, if you have a pat 7 or 8 (take no cards), you have an incredibly strong hand. Also, anytime you draw one card, especially to a 7 or 8, you have a very strong hand.

However, drawing two cards is the most common situation. Drawing three cards is very niche and can be done in specific situations, but if you are a beginner to limit 2-7 triple draw, I would stray away from drawing three cards.

Bernard: What advice would you give about the third and final draw?

Brian: The last draw is basically like playing (no-limit) 2-7 single draw. The rule of thumb is if you have a jack pat versus a player drawing one, the jack pat is a slight favorite (Note: similar to how a pair is a slight favorite over A-K in hold’em). Also, if you have a queen pat versus a player drawing two, the queen pat is a slight favorite.

Bernard: Any final words of advice?

Brian: I would say for triple draw, a lot of the decision-making in this game is kind of automatic. 80% of your decisions are automatic where you check or bet.

For example, I raise and the big blind defends. After the big blind takes two, I draw one. It is super standard that the big blind will check and I will bet, because I’m drawing less cards. There are lots of spots like this and you just need to learn them to make the decision-making process easier.

Bernard: Well, Brian, thanks so very much for your time and words of advice on this very interesting game.

Brian: You are very welcome. I hope that other players will find the game interesting and give it a try. ♠

_Bernard Lee broke into the poker world after a deep run in the 2005 WSOP main event. He has two WSOP Circuit rings, and is an author, having written for Card Player, the Boston Herald, Metrowest Daily News, and ESPN, where he was a host of the show The Inside Deal. His radio show and podcast, The Bernard Lee Poker Show, recently celebrated its 14th anniversary, and his latest book, Poker Satellite Success: Turn Affordable Buy-Ins Into Shots At Winning Millions, is now available on Amazon as well as D&B Publishing. Follow him on Twitter @BernardLeePoker or visit his website at BernardLeePoker.com or YouTube channel at Youtube.com/BernardLeePoker. _