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What is ‘Zip’?
In a game of lowball, zip refers to the four lowest ranking cards that a player can hold in their hand. The term zip is used immediately following the card of the highest rank in the hand. Zip can also be used as a way of describing a poor or worthless hand in poker.
Zip is the name given to the cards four, three, two, and ace in a game of Ace-to-Five lowball. The word should always be used after the highest card in the hand is declared. So, for example, if the player is holding a ten, a four, a three, a two, and an ace in their hand, the hand would be declared as a ’10-Zip’.In Ace-to-Five lowball, the cards four, three, two, and ace are strong cards to hold. This game is otherwise known as ‘California Lowball.’ In another type of lowball called Deuce-to-Seven (or ‘Kansas Lowball’), the phrase ’10-Zip’ would instead refer to the cards ten, five, four, three, and two. In this case, these four cards are the lowest possible cards that a player can hold, because the ace is not in play as a low card.The definition of ‘Zip’ therefore depends on the type of lowball played, because it changes depending on the cards in play at the time. More specifically, it depends on the lowest four cards the player of the game can hold.An example of the usage of ‘Zip’ is as follows:Jake: “I thought you had a ‘9-Zip’?”
Luke: “I didn’t. I had a nine, a six, a four, a three, and an ace. I would have needed a two instead of a six to have a ‘9-Zip’.”The term zip can also be used to refer to a worthless card or hand. For example, if a player is holding a starting hand of a seven and two, this set of cards can be defined as ‘Zip’ because they are of little value in combination.