Triple draw lowball, a favored game among top poker pros that often turns up in the rotation in the big mixed games, actually hasn’t been around for that long. Indeed, by most accounts the game was first introduced in the late 1990s — right around the time of internet poker’s debut, although it would take some time before the game began turning up online. It was late 2006 when PokerStars first began to spread the game in which players get three draws to make the worst hand between deuce and seven, with straights and flushes counting against the hand.
As it happens, when triple draw lowball started attracting more players online, a chief resource for newcomers was Team PokerStars pro Daniel “KidPoker” Negreanu’s chapter on the game in Doyle Brunson’s Super System 2 (published in 2005). Negreanu starts his chapter by pointing out the “common misconception” that many players have “that triple draw is nothing more than a game of pure luck.” As his subsequent tutorial shows, while luck certainly plays a role, the game provides a true test of a player’s ability to read the significance of others’ bets and draws, while trying to disguise the significance of his or her own.
It was no surprise, then, to see “KidPoker” listed there among the 90 players who put up the $2,000+$100 to play the “high” version of SCOOP Event No. 9, Limit Triple Draw 2-7 Lowball. With the guarantee for the tournament at $200,000, that meant a sweet $20,000 overlay in the prize pool. But only the top nine finishers stood to cash in this one, with $60,000 awaiting the champion.
A few other Team PokerStars pros ventured to join Negreanu, including Chad Brown (“ChadBrownPRO”), Greg Raymer (“Fossilman”), Ivan Demidov, Marcin Horecki (“Goral”), Vanessa Rousso (“Lady Maverick”), and Victor Ramdin. Of that group, only Negreanu and Ramdin were still around once the field had been cut in half to 45 players, a little less than four hours into the event.
Eventually Negreanu and Ramdin were seated across from one another, and the two were having some fun in the chatbox after having locked horns on a number of occasions. Both were short-stacked, but hanging on as the field shrunk down under 40. Eventually Sensor, who finished runner-up in last night’s SCOOP Event No. 7 $1,050 H.O.R.S.E. event, was knocked out from their table in 31st, and the table broke. With 30 players remaining, Amke had assumed the chip lead with 38,655, followed by DuckU, Mills23, and Andy McLEOD.
Ramdin would eventually fall in 25th place, but Negreanu would charge ahead, having moved into 4th place with 20 players remaining. Amke remained in front, having pushed out to nearly 60,000, followed by skilled_sox, AWice, and KidPoker.
By the end of Level 14 (about seven-and-a-half hours into play), Amke still sat atop the leaderboard, but Negreanu had slowly slipped out of the top ten. Finally, with just two six-handed tables remaining, Negreanu was sitting on the short stack with 4,904 chips (and stakes 1,000/2,000) when he raised to 2,000, buck21 3-bet, and Negreanu called. On the first draw, both players drew two cards, Negreanu checked, buck21 bet 1,000, and Negreanu called, leaving himself just 904. On the second draw, Negreanu took one and buck21 stood pat. Negreanu checked, buck21 bet, and Negreanu put his last chips in the middle. buck21 stood pat again, and Negreanu again took one card. buck21 showed T-9-4-3-2, while KidPoker showed Q-8-7-6-2. Negreanu was out in 12th, just three spots from the cash.
newhizzle followed Negreanu to the rail in 11th, then Andy McLEOD went out on the cash bubble in 10th place. Next to go were awmc1 in 9th, monika13 in 8th, and AWice in 7th, each of whom earned $3,000 for their efforts.
The final table was set:
Seat 1: XTraCey — 34,850
Seat 2: jmonnett — 21,026
Seat 3: Astrolux85 — 75,778
Seat 4: skilled_sox — 57,605
Seat 5: buck21 — 139,416
Seat 6: Amke — 121,325
When the final table began, the tournament had been running for about eight-and-half hours. Play had reached Level 16, where the bets before and after the first draw were 1,600, and after the second and third draws 3,200. XTraCey’s stack soon began to dwindle, and just before the level was over was down to just 6,050 chips. buck21 raised from middle position, XTraCey reraised from the button, jmonnett called from the small blind, and buck21 called as well. jmonnett and buck21 both took two cards, and XTraCey took one. jmonnett and buck21 checked, XTraCey put the last 1,250 in, and both called. On the second draw, jmonnett and buck21 again took two, and XTraCey again took one. jmonnett and buck21 checked, both took two cards once more, and both checked again. jmonnett showed T-9-5-3-2, buck21 showed T-6-4-3-2, and XTraCey mucked, having been eliminated in 6th.
Following the break, skilled_sox had slipped to 9,405 chips when the following hand took place. Astrolux85 raised to 4,000 from the small blind, and skilled_sox typed “gg guys” before three-betting from the big blind. Astrolux85 capped, and skilled_sox called. Astrolux85 took 3 cards, skilled_sox took two, and the last of skilled_sox’ chips went in the middle. Both took one card on each of the next two rounds. Astrolux85 showed T-9-8-6-5, and skilled_sox 7-7-5-4-2. They were down to four.
Astrolux85 had more than 45,000 chips after that hand, but just ten hands later he was down to 11,583 when he raised from UTG and was called by Amke in the small blind. On the first draw, Amke took two cards, and Astrolux85 one. Amke checked, Astrolux85 bet, and Amke called. Both took a single card on the second draw. This time Amke bet, Astrolux85 raised with the rest of his stack, and Amke called. On the last draw, Amke stood pat, and Astrolux85 took one card. Amke showed 8-7-6-4-2, and Astrolux85 J-8-5-3-2. Astrolux85 was out in 4th.
Amke gradually began to build a sizable lead during three-handed play, and by the end of Level 18 had 316,258 — about two-thirds of the chips in play. buck21 had dribbled down to a little more than 20,000 chips when Amke raised to 6,000 from the button and buck21 called from the big blind. buck21 drew three cards, and Amke just one. buck21 checked, Amke bet, buck21 check-raised, and Amke called. Both players drew one card on the second draw, and this time buck21 led out, Amke raised, buck21 reraised all in, and Amke called. On the last draw, buck21 took one card and Amke stood pat. buck21 paired up on the end, as he showed 7-6-6-3-2, meaning Amke’s J-9-8-3-2 was good. buck21 was out in third.
Heads up began with Amke enjoying a massive chip lead, with 372,624 to jmonnett’s 77,376. jmonnett fought valiantly for 36 hands, but couldn’t gain any traction against Amke. Finally, with the limits 3,000/6,000 in Level 19, jmonnett raised from the small blind/button, Amke three-bet, and jmonnett called. On the first draw, Amke took just one card and jmonnett drew two. Amke bet, and jmonnett called. On the second draw, Amke stood pat, and jmonnett again drew two. Again, Amke bet, and jmonnett called. On the third draw, Amke continued to stick with his five cards, and jmonnett drew one. Amke bet, and jmonnett paused just a beat before relinquishing his last 1,752 chips. Amke showed 8-5-4-3-2 and jmonnett 9-8-7-5-3. Amke, who had led for most of the second half of the tourney, had taken it down.
Here are the final table payouts:
SCOOP Event #9: $2,100 Limit Triple Draw 2-7 Lowball
1. Amke (Stary Oskol) $60,000
2. jmonnett (Palmdale) $40,000
3. buck21 (Abbotsford) $30,000
4. Astrolux (Staten Island) $20,000
5. skilled_sox (Brookline) $15,000
6. XTraCey (Henderson) $11,000
We’re not even halfway through the 2009 Spring Championship of Online Poker. Check out the PokerStars SCOOP page for the remaining schedule of events.