Games poker

Lowball, the version of seven card stud when the best possible hand is A-2-3-4-6 off-suit, is a tricky game. Someone once told me it was merely 2 per cent skill and 98 per cent luck. I think it is more complicated than most players realise. It certainly can be very expensive. Here is a case in point.

In a seven-handed game at the Grosvenor Victoria, no one had any low card showing. In this, the big game, everyone antes pounds 10 and the high card has to "bring it in", that is, make a forced opening bet, for pounds 25. (It seems a lot but it works out much the same for everyone in the long run.) Luigi, a competent player, called the opening bet on a queen and Liam, a very shrewd player, raised on his 10 showing. Eli, who had a reputation on both sides of the Atlantic as a fearless gambler, called on a king showing. Now the money was such that Luigi of course felt he must call the raise.

On fourth street, that is the second up-card, Liam caught an 8 and bet the pot, now worth pounds 580. Eli gaily chose to call with a K-Q, which is a terrible hand! And again Luigi called. (He may even have the best hand.) On fifth street, all three players caught nines. Liam bet the pot. pounds 1,700 all-in and Eli finally surrendered. What were Luigi's chances?

Luigi (A-2) Q 7 9

Liam (? ?) 10 8 9

Clearly, Luigi is looking for a 3,4,5 or 6 to win (an 8 is probably not good enough), that is 16 cards out of the 37 he doesn't know about. His chance of hitting on sixth or seventh street works out at about 2- 1, which is what the pot is paying. So he should call. Liam may, after all, have a bad card in the hole, and be bluffing. The key to the play is that Luigi has to improve only once, by drawing a low card to make a 9-7 low; whereas if he makes it, Liam would need to improve twice, by catching low cards on both sixth and seventh streets.

If there were a lot more money to be bet, it would be different. Luigi would have to decide, if he improves, whether Liam would fold. In the event, he caught an 8 on sixth street to nose ahead. But Liam outdrew him on the river to make a better 9-8 low and win a pounds 5,000 pot. It is easy to get sucked into these kind of hands at lowball. It's a matter of judgement whether it's worth it.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

    £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

    Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

    Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

    £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

    £18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

    Day In a Page

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003
    Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

    Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

    Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

    Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
    Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

    Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

    Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
    New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

    Dinner through the decades

    A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
    Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

    Philippa Perry interview

    The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

    Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

    Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
    Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

    Harry Kane interview

    The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
    The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?