Qualifying A Low Poker Hand In o8b

Refer to the Stud 8/b chart on page 316. These will be the same qualifying low hands for 08B. You need to have at least an eight low (no card higher than an eight) in order to have a chance at the low half of the pot; that’s the bad news. The good news is that straights and flushes do not count against you for low. An eight low means you have five low cards, the highest of them an eight, and no two of those five cards paired. A seven low means five low cards seven or less. A six low means five cards six or less. A five low, called a “wheel,” is 5-4-3-2-A. This is the best possible low, and at the same time it counts as a straight for high. (Aces swing in this game, meaning that an ace is both the lowest possible card and the highest possible card.) A wheel is one of the most desirable hands you can make when you play 08B.

For further understanding of a qualified low hand, let’s look at all the possible “qualified” lows (those you might want to bet on), from the worst possible eight low (8-7-6-5-4) to the best possible low (A-2-3-4-5).

All this qualifying low stuff sounds a lot more complicated than it really is. You won’t have to memorize this in order to understand whether you have a qualified low or not. Rather, if three unpaired cards eight or under are on the board, then the best possible low is easy to figure out. Say that the board shows K-8-6-Q-7 (the last community card has been dealt); what is the best possible low hand? Just figure out what would be the lowest two nonpaired low cards someone could have in his hand (to be added to the three cards on board), and you have the best possible low.

(See pages 290-291 in the Razz section for a more detailed explanation of how to determine the low.) In this case an ace and a deuce are the lowest possible nonpaired cards to the 8-7-6 on board (first take the three lowest cards from the board), so the 8-7-6-2-A is the best possible low hand and the 8-7-6-3-A is the next-best possible low hand. You just take the lowest three cards on the board and add the next two best low cards (whether in your hand or in someone else’s) to come up with the best possible low hand. For a board of 2-5-7-Q-K, just throw in A-3 for the best possible low hand (A-2-3-5-7) and A-4 for the second-best possible low hand (A-2-4-5-7).

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