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Mastering Mixed Games - an extract

15/02/2019 by Byron Jacobs
Book Excerpts
D&B MAGAZINE

Mastering Mixed Games front cover

The book Mastering Mixed Games is due to be published by D&B Poker in the summer. This will be the first serious book on mixed games for a long time and will be essential reading for anyone interested in these games. The variants that will be featured are: 2-7 No Limit Single Draw, 2-7 Triple Draw, Badugi, Badeucey and Badacey, Limit Hold ’em, Omaha 8 or Better, Pot Limit Omaha 8 or Better (40bb), Razz, Stud and Stud 8 or Better.

Even if you don’t even know the rules to these games learning about them can freshen up your poker play. Here is a brief primer to Deuce to seven triple draw.

2-7 Triple Draw Deuce to seven triple draw is a five card lowball draw game with one winner at showdown. The aim is to make the lowest ranked hand possible in terms of absolute card strength. The reason it is called “deuce to seven” is that this name implies that straights work against you in this game, as do flushes. The hand rankings are more or less the reverse of a hand ranking chart in hold ‘em (7-high being the best hand and a royal flush being the worst). Structurally the game is similar to limit hold ‘em with a big blind and a small blind to the left of the button. There are four rounds of betting: a small bet round pre-draw, a small bet round after the first draw and then big bet rounds following the second and third draws. When players discard cards they do so in the same order as the betting, i.e. the small blind announces their number of discards first and the button last. All draws are declared at the end of each betting round, meaning each player will clearly show the number of cards they are trading in.

Predraw Typically the game is played six- or seven-handed but finding eight-handed games is not unusual. When the game is seven- or eight-handed you can liken it more to a nine- or ten- handed hold ‘em game in that most hands will be showdown-bound and absolute hand strength is paramount.

The most important card in the game is the 2. All of the best hands have a 2 in them, you cannot make a 7-low or a premium 8-low without a 2. More importantly, when you do not have a 2 in your hand you will be drawing rough and are very likely to have a straight draw. For example, if you have 8-6-5-4 you can only hit a 2 or a 3 to make an 8-low as a 7 gives you a straight. If you have 8-6-5-2, your hand may not look that different but now you can hit a 7, 3 or 4. You have 50% more outs to an 8-low and with the 9s and 10s you make will be better hands. Having a 2 allows you to draw smooth, a concept that is very important.

Smooth means that you have built your hand from the bottom up and so are drawing to the best variant of your hand. For example, if you hold 4-3-2, any card you add to your hand will give you a draw to the best version of that hand. A 7 or a 5 will give you a wheel draw. An 8 will give you a draw at 8-5-4-3-2 and also will allow you to make the best possible 8-6 and 8-7. If you are drawing smooth and your opponent is not then any time you both improve you are likely still ahead. For example, if you hold 7-4-3-2 and he has 7-5-4-3, he needs specifically a 2 in order to make a 7 and any time you both hit an 8, 9 or 10 you win. So you have more cards to improve and when you both improve you are still likely to be ahead.

Pre-draw strategy in deuce to seven is slightly different to non-draw games. You must immediately give up some information about your hand through how many cards you are drawing. Therefore, you cannot bluster your way through a hand the same way you can in hold ‘em and any bluffs are generally going to evolve later in the hand. In hold ‘em you can three-bet a raiser with 7s-6s hoping to get a low flop and make a hand he does not expect. However, you can also bet a flop that comes A-K-3 rainbow with some chance to induce a fold. In triple draw if you three-bet a speculative holding you cannot both bluff and attempt to make a hand. In other words, you can’t semi-bluff. With the 7-6 suited your bluff didn’t diminish your ability to improve. In draw the other player will immediately realize you do not have much because you will have to announce your draw. So, if you draw three you may improve but he will know you started with a weak hand. If you bluff by drawing one you cannot improve and you have to hope he never makes a hand. This leads to a more value-weighted pre-draw strategy and the possibility of turning your hand into a bluff only occurs at a later stage.

If you’d like this extract you can pre-order a copy of the ebook or paperback edition HERE.