Razz Poker: What It Is and How To Play

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.

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Ignition Poker
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Razz Poker Rules

razz poker

The primary rule difference between 7 card stud and Razz poker is that the objective is to make the lowest possible hand. Unlike in most poker games, where the goal is to build the strongest hand with hole and community cards, Razz doesn’t acknowledge straights or flushes. Up to eight players can participate and each must ante, place a bet, before cards are dealt.

To start, the dealer deals each player two cards face down and one card face up. The player with the highest face up card – which would be ranked King-Queen-Jack and so on – on the table begins the first round of betting, called the “bring in” and players place their bets, which is typically under “limits” per round. After the first round of betting is complete, each player receives another face up card. This time, betting begins with the lowest cards hand on the table. This same gameplay occurs in subsequent rounds, deemed 5th street and 6th street, before the fifth card, on 7th street, is dealt face down. Betting begins with the same player who started after 6th street.

How To Play Razz Poker

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.

  • Before the cards are dealt, each player tosses in an ante.
  • You receive two cards face down and one card face up (door card).
  • A round of betting begins with the highest-ranked face up card – the highest cards are Jack-Queen-King … Ace is lowest.
    • In stud, the player with the lowest-ranked face up card goes first.
  • The person with this card must make a “bring in” bet which is typically half of the typical limit bet, which would be $5 OR you really like your hand, you can just ‘bring” in a whole $10 bet and avoid people raising the half and eventually completing the who bet a minute later.
  • Once all bets are in, 4th street is when you receive a fourth card, face up. Now, betting begins with the player who receives the lowest card. All bets must be $5.
  • This happens against on 5th street and 6th street, but players must bet $10 in each round.
  • 7th street is when you receive your last card, but this is one is face down and a round of betting ensues with the $10 stake.
  • If there are two-or-more players still in the game, the showdown applies when all players show their hands and lowest hand possible wins the pot.

stacks of poker chips on a blackjack table

Basic Strategy and Tips

  • The best hand in Razz poker you can snag is Ace-2-3.
  • To make it easier, straights and flushes are not acknowledged.
  • There are no qualifying hands, which means hands that would be considered very strong in 7-card stud could also win in Razz, despite being a “higher” hand.
  • You only really want to play hands that start without any pairs and no cards higher than 8. You want to do your best to avoid making pairs and observing other players’ face up cards can help you figure out those odds.
  • In some instances, 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.
  • Only play at reputable poker sites.

Razz Poker FAQs