2-7 Triple Draw is a 6-max game where players are dealt five cards and then proceed to make the lowest poker hand possible. For those familiar with other low games like Omaha and Stud, there are a couple of twists to the game that can lead to painful lessons during play. First, straights count against you in this game, so a hand of 6-5-4-3-2 is a very bad hand indeed. The other big change to other low games is that aces are high in Deuce, which can lead to the occasional stumble during play. The game is 2-7 Triple Draw since the best hand is 7-5-4-3-2. Deuce is played with a dealer button and the two players in front of the button post blinds, just like in Holdem and Omaha games. Betting starts with the player under the gun; then each player still in the hand can discard and draw as many as five new cards. Betting again occurs to the left of the dealer and players repeat this draw and bet action a total of three times. The player with the best low hand wins.
Lee Jones, Poker Manager of PokerStars, was good enough to answer a few questions regarding the launch of this new game.
CC: How does PokerStars determine they will offer a new game, and how did you decide on 2-7 Triple Draw?
Lee Jones: Our favorite way of making decisions is to let our customers make them for us. We got quite a few requests for draw variants - the Euro-players love 5-card draw (no-limit and pot-limit) and the Americans were all excited about 2-7 Triple Draw after seeing the game played by the big money players at the Bellagio.
CC: I noticed that you seemed to start with Play Money tables then moved to $0.50/1.00 limit and $0.25/0.50 no-limit. Can you describe your new game launch process?
Lee jones: Sure. When we first bring a game up, we put it on our test site:
It's a play money only site where we shake out new features and new games; in effect, letting our players be part of the beta-test team. Once we are comfortable with it there, we move it onto the PokerStars.net site:
It usually doesn't stay there very long because we don't let it off the test site until it's pretty stable. After a few days on the .net site, we bring it onto the .com site for play money only. As you can see, we take things very slowly, but really that's the only way you'd want it. You don't want real money games running into software bugs, usage problems, etc. Once we're *really* sure about it, we deploy it for low stakes real money. By then, though, we rarely see any meaningful issues. Maybe a tweak for usability here and there, but that's it. At that point we just starting pushing the limits up.
CC: Were there any specific technical challenges for your team in launching this game?
Lee Jones: Well, we'd never had a game that involved the player actually interacting with his or her cards (as you must in a draw game). So we had to develop an interface where a player could select specific cards. Once we had that, it was pretty straightforward.
CC: No-limit seems to be an exciting twist that PokerStars is bringing to the game. Why are you offering this?
Lee Jones: Well, I expect that most of the games will be limit, and we may not even spread no-limit triple draw at higher stakes. But the online community has embraced a lot of forms of poker that you basically never see in brick and mortar stores (Pot Limit Omaha-8 being a perfect example). Within reason, we wanted to the players gravitate to the format they prefer.
CC: Are there expectations that PokerStars has for this game?
Lee Jones: I don't know that we have "expectations" per se. We like to offer as many games as we can, though obviously we can't offer every form of poker known to man. People like to have choices (there's a reason that Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors), and this is just another flavor on our menu.
CC: Some of the internet buzz seems to point to interest in an expanded mixed game which would include 2-7 Triple Draw. Is this in the works?
Lee Jones: I wouldn't say it's "in the works." However, it would be fairly easy for us to deploy a mixed game with some form of Triple Draw if we wished. One of the issues here is what I call "critical mass." Unlike ice cream flavors, you need a certain number of people to make a poker game work. We could obviously offer mixed games with every possible combination of the games that we have. That, I think, would be a catastrophic failure because none of the mixtures would get enough people to be extremely robust. What's best for us (and for the players too, of course) is to offer a limited set of mixed games, choosing the mixtures that are most popular. That focuses the mixed-game market on a relatively few choices (HORSE and HOSE, currently) and keeps those games humming. If we find there's a huge demand for a mix including Triple Draw, we would definitely consider it.
CC: PokerStars continues to set the standard in listening to its players and providing games and services they want. 2-7 Triple Draw is just another example of the great work Lee and the team at PokerStars are doing for the poker community.