Razz Poker

The Seven Card Stud poker, that we have all heard of, has different versions, each equally engaging as the next. One of them, Razz poker, is a lowball game which follows the rules of Seven Card Stud. The exception is simply that, in Razz, the lowest hand wins. The game stages in Razz are also identical to the stages in a game of Seven Card Stud.

Razz has quite a fan following and if it sounds familiar to World Series of Poker fans, it is because of the fact that it has long been a staple in their scheduled mixed games. Even their HORSE poker tournaments have Razz, which stands in for the R in the acronym.

When compared to other lowball games, for example, Omaha Hi/Lo and Seven Card Hi/Lo, Razz does not place the requirement of making a low hand that is below eight. This eight or better rule, as it is often called, is luckily waived for the players in a game of Razz. With those complications out of the way, players can concentrate on playing their best game with a single-minded focus on the all-important pot!

Razz has its unique features, just like all other poker games. The hand rankings that we use in this game certainly differ from the ones in other lowball games like, 2-7 Triple Draw.

When it comes to poker, its best to have your basics down to a science because although you stand to win big the losses sure do pinch, don’t they?

Other Game Types

1. Seven Card Stud

The one and only, the original Seven Card Stud is the game that first ruled the hearts of poker players across poker rooms around the globe. It was the go-to game way before Texas Hold’em snatched up the crown from this strategic seven-card challenge. Played by two to eight players at a table, it is a perfect five-card hand game to be played. In a game, players aim to make their best five-card hand from the seven cards available to them at the river.

It is similar to Razz poker with regards to the format. In both of these games, a fixed-limit format is usually the way to go. Additionally, if you are wondering about the bets, the rules remain the same. The lower bet is wagered in the first two betting rounds, and the higher bet is wagered in the subsequent three betting rounds.

It is a great game to pick for you to start your Seven Card adventure.

2. Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo

Seven Card stud Hi/Lo is slightly different from the regular Seven Card Stud version of this game. The Hi/Lo version allows for more than one hand and more than one player to win the game and walk away with half of the game pot. In the infamous game of Seven Card Hi/Lo, the pot can be split between the lowest hand and the highest hand. The only catch is that the hand only qualifies if the highest card in it is an eight. Anything higher than that disqualifies the hand, and the highest hand then walks away with the full pot. This game brings to the table, the best of both worlds, the high hand glory of Seven Card Stud and the low hand fun of Razz.

Games Stages

 Although the game stages of Razz Poker are similar to a regular Seven Card game, here is a step by step guide to help you play your best game.

1. Ante

In a game of Razz poker just like in a game of Seven Card Stud and 7 Card Hi-Lo Poker, an ante is the way the game begins. For those unversed in Seven Card games, the ante is a fixed payment that every player has to contribute to the pot before the cards are dealt. This ante is paid at the beginning of a new hand for each player to be able to receive new cards in every round. This ante payment is made even before the bets are introduced in the game.

This format of the game in which an ante is placed instead of blinds does serve as a convenience for the players. In the event a player wants to join, they need only pay the ante get started with the game.

Once the antes are out of the way, each of the players is dealt with two cards face-down, called downcards and one card face-up, called an upcard. These downcards are also known as the player’s hole cards or private cards.

The next step of the game leads the players right into the betting rounds which like in any poker game. 

2. Third Street

Post the payment of the ante, the first betting round begins. In Razz, as in other Seven Card games, it is known as the third street. Since the first two downcards are already dealt before this round, the third card, more popularly called the third street is now dealt. This is an upcard which is dealt face up to the players.

The player with the worst upcard is forced to act first in this round. The first act is of posting the bring in, which is a forced bet. Since there is a specified amount for this bet, only if the player matches this minimum amount, it is called a bring in.

When it comes to deciding which upcard is the worst, the suits of the cards surprisingly have a role to play. One of those rare occasions in poker in which the suits of the cards are given any importance.

This hierarchy of the suit herein rank as follows:

  • Spades
  • Hearts
  • Diamonds
  • Clubs

To illustrate this rule with an example, let us consider that two queens (queens of spades and queens of diamonds) appear amongst the upcards. Although both the cards have the same value, the queen of spades will rank above the queen of diamonds owing to its suit.

The result of holding the low card in this round is that you are left with two options, posting the bring in or increasing the bet to the lower limit. Being so early in the game, most players will invariably choose to post the bring in.

This nudges the rest of the players on the table to act, in a clockwise direction, as is the agreed flow.

Players have the following options:

  • Call (match the bring in amount)
  • Raise (increase the preceding bet)
  • Fold  

If there is a raise, then the succeeding players need to either call the bet so far or raise it. In any given round of betting there can only be one bet made and three subsequent raises.

If a player folds, then they have effectively given up their rights to the pot.

Remember this is Razz, you need to make the lowest hand at the table to win. Don’t lose sight of your goals.

3. Fourth Street

The Fourth Street or the second betting round begins once all the players around the table have either folded their cards and thrown the towel in or matched the total betting and have marched on to the next round. The second upcard, or the fourth street is dealt.

The limit is still the same. With the lower limit in place the players now choose from the two options available:

  • Check (making no bet)
  • Bet (making a bet appropriate to the limit of the round)

This round onwards, it is possible for no betting to occur. Bets are only made compulsorily in the third street.

If any one of the players choose to bet, then the players who follow that bet have the choice to:

  •  Raise (increase the previous bet)
  • Call (match the bring in amount)
  • Fold

4. Fifth Street

The third round of betting or the Fifth Street begins once all the players have had the chance to check or match the betting of the previous round. Once again, the dealer deals a new upcard, which is the fifth street.

This is the first betting round with the higher betting limits.

The players continue with the same options as in the previous round:

  • Raise (increase the previous bet)
  • Call (match the bring in amount)
  • Fold

5. Sixth Street

The fourth betting round or the Sixth Street begins after all the betting for the fifth street is sorted out. Players who are active in the hand receive a fourth upcard. The betting limits remain constant at the higher limit. The sixth street is where the players are in the thick of it and with just one more round separating them from the showdown must go all in or go home.

6. Seventh Street

The fifth and the final betting round is the Seventh Street. A final upcard is dealt by the dealer in this round. Like in most poker games, this is the last chance for players to place their bets. At this late stage in the game, players should have a good idea of how strong their low hand is and can now strategically place their bets. This is your final chance to raise the stakes in the game because after this you will find yourself in the showdown.

7. Showdown

Of course, as the name suggests, the Showdown is the final round, here the hands are revealed and the tensions that built all throughout the game are put to rest. And ofcourse, the one who has the best five-card low hand wins the glorious pot.

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Razz Poker FAQs

1. Is Razz available in online poker rooms?

Yes, you can find games in online poker rooms and try your hand at this Seven Card Stud Variant.

2. Can I choose to fold in the middle of a game of Razz if I do not have the makings of a low hand?

Yes absolutely. You can always cut your losses. If you do not think that you can win the game and paying an ante in each round seems like a bad idea you can fold and find your next table.

3. Are the betting rounds in a game of Razz the same as in Seven Card Stud?

The number of betting rounds in this game is the same as in Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo.

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

Although both these poker games are similar in many aspects, there are definitely some differences. The hand rankings differ in both the games. Also, the most significant difference is that in Razz only the low hand can win the game, whereas, in Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo even the high card stands an equal chance and thus the pot can be split between the two winners.

5. Does Razz have blinds like in Texas Hold’em poker?

No, seven-card games like this one have an ante instead of blinds. This ante is a payment that is made before each round in the game before players receive their upcards.

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