Lowball poker is a variant of draw poker where players are dealt five cards and try to make the worst five card poker hand, rather than the best. Lowball can be played as a limit, pot limit, or no limit game.
Play begins with the player to the left of the dealer (in casinos which use assigned dealers, this is represented by a dealer button), who must pay what is known as the ‘small blind’. This amount is based on the limits of the game and the structure of limit, pot limit, or no limit.
The player to the immediate left of the small blind must pay the ‘big blind’. Cards are dealt out, one at a time, starting with the player in the small blind and proceeding clockwise around the table. Betting then begins with the player to the immediate left of the big blind, who has the option of folding, calling the amount of the big blind, or betting. After the initial round of betting, play proceeds clockwise around the table, with each player deciding how many cards they would like to discard.
Once the player has discarded, they are dealt an equal amount of new cards off the top of the deck. Players may typically discard/replace any amount of cards from their hand, and may also choose not to discard (known as standing pat). Another round of betting occurs, with the eventual winner having the worst poker hand.
The type of lowball being played determines which hands qualify as being the worst. Some variations of lowball see an ace as a high card, where some see it as a low card. Hands consisting of no pairs are typically the best hands to have, and in most lowball games holding a straight or a flush will count against the player.