As a "lowball" game, the object of deuce-to-seven triple draw is make the worst possible hand — or lowest hand — and not a high hand as in hold'em. Since aces always count as high in 2-7 triple draw and straights and flushes also count as high hands, the best possible hand in the game is 7-6-5-4-2 with no flush possible.
Deuce-to-seven triple draw is a "draw" game as opposed to a "flop" game like hold'em or Omaha. That means players are dealt five cards, then given opportunities to discard and draw cards to replace their original ones as they try to build the best possible hand. The "triple" in the game's title refers to the fact that there are three draws.
The Blinds and Betting
Like hold'em, players sitting to the left of the dealer's button post small and big blinds in 2-7 triple draw, and the action on each betting round proceeds similarly. Before the first draw, the betting action begins with the player sitting under the gun, then after each of the three draws there is a round of betting beginning with the small blind or player nearest to the small blind who remains in the hand.
Thus there are four betting rounds altogether in 2-7 triple draw — one before the first draw, and three after each of the draws. The game is played with fixed-limit betting, and like in fixed-limit hold'em there are two rounds of small bets and two rounds of big bets. For instance, in a 2-7 triple draw game with $2/$4 stakes, players bet and raise in increments of $2 before and after the first draw, then bet and raise in increments of $4 after both the second and third rounds.
The Deal and Drawing
After being dealt five cards initially, a betting round follows and then players remaining in the hand can discard from one card to all five, if they wish, or also keep their original cards and "stand pat." The same goes for each of the subsequent draws, with players able to keep all five of their cards or discard and draw one, two, three, four, or all five cards. Of course, players who stay in the hand beyond the first draw usually aren't drawing four or five cards, as they hopefully will have already folded their bad hands.
After the third draw comes the last betting round, then comes the showdown.
As mentioned, low hands are best in 2-7 triple draw. That means pairs, trips, straights, flushes, and full houses are all bad, and even high cards like face cards or aces are going to be discarded as players attempt to draw to winning hands.
At showdown a player holding 8-7-4-3-2 would beat a player showing 8-7-5-4-2. One shorthand way to tell who has the best hand is to read the five cards from high to low as numbers — e.g., 87432 vs. 87542 in this example — with the lowest number representing the best hand.
Here's a list of the 10 best hands in 2-7 triple draw (all, of course, being hands in which flushes are not possible):
- #1 — 7-5-4-3-2 (also called a "wheel" or "seven perfect" or "number one")
- #2 — 7-6-4-3-2 ("number two")
- #3 — 7-6-5-3-2 ("number three")
- #4 — 7-6-5-4-2 ("number four")
- #5 — 8-5-4-3-2 ("eight perfect")
- #6 — 8-6-4-3-2
- #7 — 8-6-5-3-2
- #8 — 8-6-5-4-2
- #9 — 8-6-5-4-3
- #10 — 8-7-4-3-2
Hands are sometimes referred to using other shorthand terms, sometimes referring to the highest or two highest cards. For example, a 8-6-5-3-2 might be called an "eight" at showdown or an "eighty-six." Sometimes hands are called "smooth" if the cards following the highest one (or two) are the lowest possible, e.g., a 8-5-4-3-2 could be called an "eight-smooth."