If you’re looking to mix up your next poker night, grown tired of classic 7 card stud, and there are no World Series of Poker reruns on, razz poker may be for you. One of the oldest poker variants, razz games first became popular when the standard deck grew up 20 to 52 cards. It’s also the “R” in the poker “H-O-R-S-E” mixed game. This guide will walk you through the basic rules of razz poker, play out a sample hand and share some simple strategy and tips for beginners.
The main differences between 7-card stud and Razz poker are the player who starts the action of the first betting round, the player who bets first in every other round and the fact that lowest cards hand wins the pot at the end, otherwise known as showdown. Remember, the best Razz poker hand is 5-4-3-2-Ace, known as the wheel.
The primary rule difference between 7 card stud and Razz poker is that the objective is to make the lowest 5 card hand possible.
Note: in a $5/$10 stud game the small bet is $5 and the big bet is $10. The ante is typically 10% of the big bet, or $0.50 in this example.
While this rule isn’t a one-sized fits all rule, it’s a good rule of thumb. If you have cards higher than eight, or a pair(s), you may want to consider folding.
You’re trying to avoid pairs & high cards, and you’re all playing from the same deck. Keeping an eye on what other players are showing face-up is a good way to help inform probability & decision-making.
In some instances, such as if you have a big bankroll or love your cards, it makes sense to “bully” other players’ out of a hand with an aggressive raise when their face-up hole card is lower than their competitors.
The objective in Texas hold’em is to build the best five card hand with the highest card values, while razz poker’s goal is to build the best five card hand with the weakest card values. Whereas an Ace is the highest-ranked card in hold’em, it’s the lowest-ranked card in razz.
The Ace is low in razz poker and what you want to help build the lowest hand possible and win the pot.
The best hand in razz is 5-4-3-2-Ace, which is also known as the wheel
Razz poker is based off 7 card stud poker rules with the primary difference being that you win by building the lowest five card hand.
Because it’s an iteration of 7 card stud, it might be tricky to find a free online poker version, but shop around and you may be able to find a free razz poker.