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Triple Draw With Six-Time Bracelet Winner Brian Hastings

by Bernard Lee |  Published: Apr 19, 2023


During these series of strategy columns, I have been interviewing 2022 WSOP 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 bracelet.

Only eight players have won more World Series of Poker bracelets. At 34 years old, he is the youngest by far to have six or more WSOP titles, yet he often still flies under the radar screen compared to other top poker professionals.

Brian Hastings started playing poker in high school, and it wasn’t long before he became one of the best online players in the world.

“Like many people, the Moneymaker boom and the advent of hole card cameras drew me to poker. In 2003, I was in high school and the ESPN broadcasts really caught the eye of myself and my friends. And I started to play a little bit online.”

Brian started off playing for small-stakes online, but the stakes quickly increased as he became more and more successful, building up a bankroll of close to $250,000.

In 2009, Brian Hastings famously won $4.2 million in one session of pot-limit Omaha (PLO) during his anticipated online heads-up battle with Victor Blom, a.k.a. Isildur1. During these days, Brian also jumped into high-stakes mixed games, learning the games quickly and at a high level. This education has contributed to him being so successful in his later years, allowing him to win multiple WSOP bracelets in multiple disciplines of poker.

After Black Friday ended his daily online play, Brian switched to live play and has earned over $5 million in live tournaments. His six WSOP bracelets have come in multiple games, including heads-up no-limit hold’em, stud, stud eight-or-better, H.O.R.S.E., and the 10-game mix.

Brian’s sixth title came during the 2022 WSOP in the $10,000 2-7 Triple Draw Championship event, along with $292,146.

I spoke with Brian about his victory on my radio show. You can watch the full interview on YouTube (BernardLeePoker) or listen on iTunes.

Bernard Lee: Congratulations on winning the $10,000 2-7 Triple Draw Championship event. Definitely one of my favorite games!

Brian Hastings: Yeah, a really fun event! I’m glad to talk about the game with a fellow enthusiast.

Lee: You famously had a bankroll of close to $250,000 in high school, yet you still attended Cornell University. Even after you won so much during the Isildur1 challenge you still graduated. Why did you stick it out even after winning so much money?

Hastings: I really had a goal to finish college. My family is pretty academic overall. A lot of people in my family have graduate degrees, a few people are college professors, including my father. So, it was important to me. I also had a very close group of friends, so I really enjoyed my time there.

Lee: You had your incredible heads-up PLO battle with Isildur1 and won $4.2 million in one session. How did you decide to play him?

Hastings: I played a decent amount of heads-up at the time, especially PLO. And when Isildur came around, he battled everyone heads-up. At first, in no-limit and then PLO because no one would give him action at no-limit (hold’em). After watching him at PLO, I could tell he was less experienced at PLO and less strong than at no-limit. So, I was happy at the opportunity to play him heads-up at PLO.

Lee: When did you start playing mixed games?

Hastings: After winning a lot of PLO online in the mid to late 2000’s, I saw a lot of the same player pool playing high-level mixed games and I decided to jump in. Although I should have started at lower stakes, it was a great, but not a cheap, learning experience. Then, I went down in stakes and played a lot of mixed games for a couple of years, even before Black Friday.

Lee: Your last win came in triple draw. Can you give us some basic strategy tips for this unique game?

Hastings: The best strategy advice I can give is to play a little bit tighter than you originally think. Many players see two or three relatively decent cards and decide that they have three draws so why not play. This thought process is flawed and just will get players into trouble.

Thus, you want to play fewer hands pre-draw. But when you get dealt a good hand and decide to play, bet aggressively so you can isolate against the fewest number of opponents.

Lee: Why is it so important to have a deuce in your hand to start?

Hastings: A deuce is a tremendously important card in 2-7 triple draw. The best hand that you can make without a deuce is 8-6-5-4-3, which is only the ninth best hand. That is a big deal and it opens up so many more possibilities. After that, the next best non-deuce hand is 8-7-5-4-3, which is the 13th best hand.

So, without a deuce, you are already at a big disadvantage. You want to play starting hands with a deuce. The deuce is similar to an ace in stud eight-or-better.

Lee: Also, remember, without a deuce in your hand, you cannot make a seven (there are four of them: 7-5-4-3-2; 7-6-4-3-2; 7-6-5-3-2; 7-6-5-4-2), which is ultimately the goal.

Hastings: Absolutely, the deuce is a really important card.

Lee: What hands do you think many beginning players play that get them into trouble?

Hastings: Hands that look good but have gutshot draws like 3-5-6-7 can get you into big trouble. The gutshot eliminates a card that can help you and, in this example, you really only have two cards that will give you a decent hand. Of course, a deuce will make this hand great, but if you don’t start with a deuce, you can assume at least one is already out. Then, if you draw an eight, you have a marginal hand with an 8-7 and it becomes tricky to play.

Lee: Obviously, you are going to stay pat with any seven hand and usually 8-5 and 8-6 hands. But what are you staying pat with for 8-7 and 9 hands, especially heads-up?

Hastings: Any 7 or 8 hand pre-draw you will stay pat with, but hands that have a gutshot straight draw after you throw away the 8 or 9 are probably better to stay pat because you have one less card to draw to.

An example is 9-7-6-5-3, which is slightly better to stay pat with than draw a card. But a 9-7-6-5-2 may be worth breaking up as you have better equity since all the better cards are live.

Lee: Congratulations again on your sixth WSOP bracelet and here’s to many more.
Hastings: Thanks Bernard. I really enjoy triple draw and I’m happy to talk about it. ♠

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 15th 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 or YouTube channel at