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Updated: July 8, 2024
razz poker

Razz Poker

Razz poker is a variation of seven-card stud poker which became quite popular several decades ago as a ‘lowball’ poker variant. It lost some of its popularity in the 1990s, but the rise of mixed poker games led to Razz being reintroduced to the new generation of poker players.

Razz is usually played between 2-8 players, but unlike seven-card stud, it doesn’t have a flop (like in Texas Hold’em or Omaha), nor does it have any community cards. The main objective of Razz poker is to make the lowest possible 5-card hand out of the seven cards.

Rules for Razz Poker

Razz poker online or offline rules aren’t as complicated as players might think. The idea is to make the lowest possible five-card poker hand from seven cards that are dealt to the player. There are no community cards like normal variants of poker, and a flop doesn’t open as well. Razz poker rules are easy to learn, and practice without any hassle.

How to Play Razz Poker?

The primary question that all poker players have is how to play Razz poker? It is simple to understand if you get the Razz poker hand rankings, and Razz poker rules. Here’s how you can start playing this variant of poker:

  • The game begins with all players dealt out three cards each. Two of those cards are put face down, and one card is face up. This is usually called the ‘Third Street’.
  • The face down cards are known as ‘Hole Cards’ like normal versions of poker. The face up card is called the ‘Door Card’.
  • Every player can choose to continue the hand or drop out based on the strength of these cards.
  • The second round of betting is known as ‘Fourth Street’. The player with the highest value ‘Door Card’ gets to start the round. In the event of a tie between the ‘Door Cards’ of two or more players, suit rankings are used to break the tie.
  • The next few rounds of betting are known as ‘Fifth Street’, ‘Sixth Street’, and ‘Seventh Street’ respectively.
  • After the final round of betting following ‘Seventh Street’, the showdown of hands takes place.
  • In the showdown, all players remaining in the game will have to show their best possible hand combination according to Razz poker rules.

Razz Poker Rules

There are some important rules to remember while playing Razz poker. The rules are simple, and listed below:

  • There is no value at all for a ‘Straight’ or ‘Flush’ in Razz poker like Texas Hold’em or Omaha.
  • Any player at the table can start the game by shuffling, and distributing the cards. Players have to place their chips on the table before the game can start.
  • Each round in Razz poker is known as ‘Street’. Betting happens on each street, while the small bet is gradually increased on the first, and second round. In the last three rounds of betting, the big bet is increased with each passing round.
  • The game follows a ‘Pot Limit’ structure of betting, which means that a maximum bet can go up to three raises.

Razz Poker Strategy

The strategy in Razz poker is simple, and depends on quick analysis of the first three cards. Here are a few strategies to remember:

  • The best starting hand in Razz poker would be Ace-2-3 of any suit.
  • In a full game of Razz poker with 8 players, any seasoned player will fold a hand that has a card valued more than 8.
  • Paired cards count in Razz making the value of the hand higher. This is not suitable for making a winning hand.
  • Any starting hand that has a pair is considered a bad hand.
  • Also getting a pair in subsequent rounds of Razz poker can severely damage a player’s chances of winning.

Razz Poker Hand Rankings

The best way of understanding Razz poker hand rankings are listed below:

  • Aces are counted as low value cards or 1.
  • Straights, and Flushes are not counted.
  • The best winning hands are made by players who don’t hold paired cards, and keep their card denominations under 8.
  • The best winning hand can be 5-4-3–2-A or commonly known as the ‘Wheel’ in poker.
  • Unpaired hands are ranked from the highest card to the lowest. So for a hand which has 6-5-4-3-2, it will be called ‘Six Low’, thereby counting down from 6.

How Do You Win at Razz Poker?

In Razz poker online or Razz poker in general the lowest denomination hand is the best hand to have. So having the worst hand can make you win, for example: 5-4-3-2-1. Straights, and Flushes do not count in Razz poker. In case of a tie of the lowest denomination card between players, the next number is taken to break the tie.

Razz Poker Strategy and Winning Tips

Since the usual poker hand combination chart is not considered in Razz poker, where the highest hand usually wins, players have to create the lowest hand possible. They also have to consider the face up cards of their opponents, and their own exposed cards to make a winning strategy.

  • Starting Hand: Beginning with a strong starting hand is key. Ideally the first three cards that a player gets should be in denominations lesser than 8.
  • Focus on Exposed Cards: Keeping a keen eye on the opponent’s face up or exposed cards is important. It will help in analyzing the respective hand strengths, and weaknesses of other players.
  • Avoid High Hands: While drawing cards, try and keep the denominations of cards that are lower than 8. If you have three low value cards, and draw a high value card, then consider folding to avoid building a high hand combination.
  • Observe Betting Patterns: If the opponent is betting aggressively from the beginning, they might already have a strong hand. On the other hand, passive betting means a player is either bluffing or struggling to make a proper Razz hand.
  • Protect Your Low Hand: If you have a good low hand, consider betting, and raising the stakes in each round. This will force the opponents into calling, and raising the pot value or fold out.
  • Avoid Tilting: Razz poker can be considerably frustrating if you are continuously drawing high value cards. Keep a check on your emotions, and avoid tilting to bluff your opponents. You might get caught out, and lose all your money.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Razz poker might be a confusing variant of poker for some, but keep playing, and practicing to master the basics of the game. More experience will lead to understanding the game dynamics better.

Conclusion

Though Razz poker might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is still an exciting variant of the usual game of poker. Players might find it a bit confusing at the start, but since it is a lesser known variant, playing Razz poker online can be very profitable for the more seasoned campaigners.

FAQ

1. Is Razz available in online poker rooms?

Though Razz poker is a lesser known variant, it is available online on some of the popular platforms. You can play practice, and tournament Razz on some of these apps.

2. How do you win at Razz poker?

In Razz poker, the worst hand possible wins unlike normal poker variants. As per the rules, the player who makes the lowest ranking 5-card hand, wins.

3. How do you play high-low poker?

High-low poker is a type of 7-card stud where the winning pot is shared by both the highest and the lowest hand combinations. However, the lowest hand must top the highest hand by a maximum card denomination of 8.

4. What is the difference between Razz and Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo?

Though Razz poker is played in a similar way to 7-Card Stud poker, the biggest difference is that the pot is not shared in Razz. In 7-Card Stud, the pot is shared by the lowest and the highest hand, meanwhile in Razz only the lowest possible hand gets to win.

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