When one form of poker stays popular for too long, the good games start to dry up because the awareness of proper strategy goes up over time. The edge between good players and bad players becomes smaller and smaller, until there is hardly any advantage left after the rake. Then it’s necessary for a new game to become popular so that new players are attracted to poker once again, and good players can revive their advantage. We’re currently in one of these types of situations with no-limit Texas hold’em. The game has been super popular because of the World Series events shown on ESPN and various other television shows all featuring this one game. More players are starting to transition to other games, and one of the most popular games to switch to is a five-card draw game called no-limit Deuce-to-Seven lowball. Good no-limit hold’em players who are looking to add this game to their repertoire should be aware of a number of key differences in strategy.
Unlike hold’em games, Deuce-to-Seven lowball has no community board cards. While this seems like a minor difference at first glance, it’s actually a pretty big deal because it makes playing according to your opponents’ tendencies much more important. In Deuce-to-Seven lowball, you will see little to no profit by just playing your hand, unlike hold’em games where just playing your hand can lead to a decent hourly win-rate. The lack of board cards means that you have to pay much closer attention to what your opponents’ strategies are like, what they are thinking about at any given time, and what their general frame of mind is in poker.
A second major structural difference between the games is that no-limit hold’em has four betting streets while Deuce-to-Seven lowball only has two. This means much smaller pots, and fewer opportunities for your opponents to make huge mistake. This means that Deuce-to-Seven lowball is a game that revolves around consistently getting your opponents to make small mistakes, and the only way to do this is to constantly focus on your opponents’ psychology. If you’re playing on the Internet, you simply will not be able to mass multi-table this game because you’re going to miss too much of the action on too many of the tables and you won’t be able to build the reads necessary to claim these small advantages. And since there are few large advantages with this game, that means you’re going to have a hard time making any money at all.
In this way, Deuce-to-Seven lowball can improve your no-limit hold’em skills if you’re the type of player who generally doesn’t make many fine adjustments to your opponents’ play. The need to study your opponents and focus on what they are doing instead of what your cards are will help you to pick up smaller edges in all poker games, which add up quickly, and generate tons of extra profit.