Razz is a popular poker game that has been around since the early 1970s. Since poker has gone online, Razz has seen a surge in popularity due to it being played along with a number of other variations in mixed games like Horse Poker. Texas Hold’em and Razz are different in the way that unlike Hold’em, your goal in Razz is to form the lowest poker hand possible.
To form a winning poker hand in Razz, you must gather a hand that would otherwise not be considered a prize winner. The lowest hand wins in a Razz game, which changes the way you approach hand rankings and the cards you look to make your own. Razz games operate very similarly to 7 Card Stud poker.
With the basics covered, let us learn how to play Razz poker.
Basic Rules of Razz
Similar to stud games, here too, the player making the first bet does so depending on the door card value of all participants. The difference in Razz is that contrary to Stud, the highest-valued door cardholder is the one to make the initial bet.
Door cards in Razz are ranked as per their face value ranging from lowest to highest, i.e., Jack, Queen, and King.
The highest card in value during a Razz game is the King because Aces are considered as low in value, often referred to as ‘good’.
Suits are ranked alphabetically from lowest to highest in the order of Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, and Spades.
Similar to stud rules, the player making the first bet must either bet an amount that matches the ante or complete the bet by betting the entire amount of the small bet amount.
Here's How to Play a Hand of Razz Poker in a Nutshell
Similar to Stud, players in Razz are also dealt with seven cards. When the first three cards are dealt, and the betting begins, each player present in the hand is given an additional exposed card known as the fourth street.
The player having the lowest exposed hand is the one to act first. This player is allowed to bet or check an amount equal in value to the small bet.
After another betting round, the fifth street is dealt where every player is once again given a chance to see an exposed card. The participant with the lowest exposed cards acts first by either checking or betting.
From the fifth street onwards, all raises and bets for the remained of the hand are now increasing as per the big bet limit at the table.
The sixth street is held in the same way as the fifth street.
The river in Razz is known as the seventh street where players remaining in the hand are dealt with the last of the cards face down, the seventh card. The betting amount and order are the same as the previous streets.
Razz Poker Game Steps
Here are some important strategy tips that you must bear in mind while playing the game. These will help you get started and give you a fair understanding of what to expect.
If you are dealt with an Ace, a two and a three, your hand is off to a great start, and you should aim to take it to the fullest. The point to remember here is that being dealt with any three cards that form the wheel is always advantageous. However, you still need the remaining cards to make the complete wheel, so don’t play them to the death.
Steal the Blinds and Antes
If you hold the lowest door card and the action has folded to you, then you should always raise. Stealing antes and blinds is a crucial gameplay element in Razz. If you hold an Ace, a two or a three as your door card while your opponents have higher ones, then you can force them into being doubtful of their hands.
Don’t Spare the Checkers
If at all your opponents check despite having low cards exposed, then that could indicate their hidden cards could not be of much use. In such a situation, try and get the pot there itself. If you end up getting check-raised, then that is also a good sign.
Analyze Your Game Past Fifth Street
By the time the fifth street comes around, you can judge for yourself where you stand and what your chances are given all the exposed cards on the table. You may have started with good hands, but if you collect a high card on the fifth street while your opponent holds low cards, then it is in your favor to fold. You do not want to lose money by chasing after the fifth street.
Look at the Up Cards Carefully
Similar to Stud poker, here too, it is vital for you to pay careful attention to the cards exposed on the table and those folded before. If the card you require to complete your hand has shown up a few times, your chances of hitting it are lowered that much.
Points to Remember While Playing Razz Poker
Straights and Flushes are not part of the game.
You win Razz by holding the least ranking poker hand at the table.
The best hand possible in Razz is the wheel (A-2-3-4-5), which is the low straight.
If you hold a two pair or higher and it still happens to be the lowest hand, you win the pot because there are no qualifiers in Razz.
If two players end up having the same winning hand, then the pot is split between the two, where suits are not taken into account.
Aces always act as low cards.
The player holding the lowest exposed hand leads the bet.
The dynamic of poker is continually shifting, and it has no defined structure. This lures players to try all the varieties that the game has to offer. Razz is one such poker variation that challenges most players to come out of the comfort zone they are used to playing poker from and think differently. Razz is one of the many poker games that you can find by registering on Spartan Poker. Our website and application is designed in a way to give you the finest poker experience online. So, what are you waiting for? Join us and play the best poker tournaments on Spartan Poker.