Razz Poker

Razz Poker is played like Seven Card Stud, except that it is a lowball game, so the lowest hand formed from the seven cards that the player is dealt wins the pot. There is one exception to this Razz poker rule, though, and that is flushes and straights count as low hands.

Razz Poker Variations

Razz poker games are usually played with a fixed betting limit structure so there is a pre-determined amount that the players can wager for each of the five rounds of betting and only three raises are allowed in each round.

The game is played at a poker table with a maximum of 8 players and before a game of Razz begins each player at the table must post a small ante. The size of the ante is usually 10-20% of the minimum bet. All players then receive two cards face down and one card is dealt face up. This card is called the door card.

There are five betting rounds and players get a total of seven cards. In total three of the cards are dealt face down. As alluded to above, two cards in the first betting round and one in the last round of betting.

The player with the highest board card must “bring in” to start the first betting round, a mandatory first bet that usually equals to half of the low bet. If there are two player’s with identical door cards, than the player to the dealers immediate left posts the bring in. Players may then have the option to either call the bring in, raise to an amount equal to that of the low limit or fold.

The betting on fourth street then proceeds with all bets equal to that of the low limit for the game being played, which takes place after the players are dealt another card. But this time the player showing the highest hand will begin the betting, which follows the same betting rules as the first round.

The players still active in the game will then receive another card and then another betting round takes place on fifth street. But now the bets are increased to be equal to the high limit of the game, which all players must adhere to.

Then a sixth and seventh card is dealt to the players still active in the game and bets for these rounds must also be equal to that of the higher limit. If there are eight players in the game, there will not be enough cards in the deck to deal a final card to the remaining players, in which case a last card will be dealt face-up on the table for all players to use.

Showdown in a Razz Poker Game

The players who have not folded after the final round must show their cards to determine who the winner is. When learning how to play Razz poker it’s important that you understand the Razz poker hand rankings. The best hand possible in razz poker is A-2-3-4-5 or 5 high. This Razz hand is called a bicycle or a wheel. The best starting hands in razz poker are those hands which are any three cards as close to a five low as possible. Great cards to get on the third street are A-2-3, A-2-4, A-2-5, A-3-5, A-3-4, etc.

Razz Poker Strategy

Study the other player’s board cards. If for example your board card was a 6 and all the other players are showing cards higher than 8, then you should bet your hand, regardless of the value of your pocket cards.

Something to be mindful of when playing razz poker games is that unlike texas hold’em the player with the best drawing hand actually has the best chance of winning the pot during the betting round on fifth street and therefore should be doing the betting, which is unique to this poker game because usually made hands are wanting the draws to pay. But the odds on sixth street reverse and made hands become a favorite again with only one card to come.

You should look to get as much money into the pot as possible when you are the favourite and have the odds to win it. The best way to learn and improve at Razz poker is playing Razz poker online where you get to play lots more hands per hour so you gain experience at a faster rate.

Don’t let the fact that Razz being a less well spread game online prevent you from playing it. You can find razz poker games at Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, and Carbon Poker, with stakes ranging from $0.05/$0.10 to $1k/$2k on Full Tilt, stakes from $0.04/$0.04 to $100/$200 on Stars, and a few low stakes tables at Carbon Poker. It must be said, though, that the majority of Razz poker games can be found online at PokerStars.