2-7 Triple Draw is becoming more and more popular on poker sites around the world. Many players are drawn to the game because it seems easy to play and even easier to win, but it only seems that way. With sound strategies you can catch the new players off guard and profit from the advantage.
Starting Hand Selection and Table Position
Your table position is the first thing to consider when deciding to play or fold; the cards in your hand are second. Early positions need stronger hands to enter the pot; later positions can gamble with weaker drawing hands if the pot conditions are right. You never want to pay very much for weak hands, so if you can get in cheaply it might be worth a draw or two. But if the price is too high, the risk is too high, so just fold them and wait for a better chance.
Of all the hand combinations in 2-7 Triple Draw, only four of them are considered “premium”; 7-5-4-3-2 (the nuts); 7-6-4-3-2; 7-6-5-3-2 and 7-6-5-4-2. To play from an early position you should be standing pat with a premium hand, or maybe drawing one card to it. But be careful of drawing to open-ended straights and flushes, they count against your hand and you’ll probably lose. From middle positions you can jump in with a one- or two-card draw to a 7- or 8-high hand, and from a late to last position you can speculate with just about anything depending on the action in front of you.
Avoid the temptation to limp in with monster hands. You can slow-play them once in a while in order to vary your table image, but in the long run you’ll probably make more money by betting them semi-aggressively and showing down against only one or two players than you will risking a table full of limpers outdrawing you. If you’re standing pat, the bet will largely be determined by your analysis of the other players: Are they aggressive or passive? Will they call or fold? Will they chase a mediocre hand to the end? You’ll have to adjust your bets accordingly, because as soon as you stand pat they’ll probably fold unless they’re holding a monster too, or drawing to one. If you’re drawing cards, the best strategy is to bet aggressively; you want to draw against as few players as possible, preferably only one or two. Bet the passive players out of the pot and pay very close attention to anyone who stays in.
The last levels are when things get most interesting. The chip stacks are bigger and therefore more inviting to go after, the blinds are too expensive to speculate very much and the tournament is on the line. In these high-dollar levels, slightly loose / very aggressive play is probably the most profitable strategy, depending on the players around you. You can’t just sit there; the blinds will eat up even the biggest chip stacks. You can’t hope to limp in much with marginal hands, you’ll just be giving your chips away to the short stacks that are forced to go all in and outdraw you. Your best bet is to push hard with pat hands or one- or two-card draws from late positions and force your opponents into bad decisions.
The early levels of any tournament are the safest time to build your chip stack and gather information about the other players. With the lower blinds it’s easier to control the pot sizes, and you can gamble with mediocre hands or bluff without risking too much of your stack. It’s best to tighten up during the middle levels; the blinds are bigger and the other players are getting more and more anxious the closer they get to the bubble. You can take advantage of this anxiety by tightening up your hand selection, waiting for just the right spot to pounce and pick off the shorter stacks. The later levels, especially after the bubble, are when things can really heat up. Most players are going to have bigger chips stacks, the blinds are huge and the pressure is mounting. A slightly loose / very aggressive strategy will probably be the most profitable. If you’re too tight and just sit back, the blinds will chew up even the largest stacks. If you’re too loose / too passive they other players will sniff out your weakness and bet you off your hands. Open up your starting hand selection just a little and bet them aggressively to face fewer opponents.