Razz Poker became overwhelmingly popular about two or three years ago, and unlike fad-games, Razz has maintained steady growth ever since. A favourite choice of many top pros, a lot of live and online poker players are seeking to learn how to play Razz Poker.
In this article, we’re going to discuss Razz Poker Rules, followed by a detailed outline of good Razz Poker Starting Hands. See our Razz strategy guide for more advanced players.
Razz Poker Basics
Razz Poker is essentially the Low version of 7 Card Stud. If you are familiar with 7 Card stud, or 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo (8 or Better), you should have no trouble grasping the concept of Razz Poker Rules.
Razz Poker Rules – Objective
The object of razz Poker is to develop the lowest hand, or, in terms of normal hand poker rankings, the weakest hand. Players receive 7 cards throughout the duration of a Razz Poker Hand. From these 7 cards, they strive to complete a low poker hand. The lowest hand wins the pot.
Razz Poker Rules – Hand Development Rules
Because of the Lowball nature of Razz Poker, there are specific rules of hand development. Unlike 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo, there is no need for a low hand to ‘Qualify’ (8 or Better). The lowest hand wins, period. These rules are listed below:
Aces are the lowest card, not the highest.
Straights/Flushes do not count against you.
The best possible Razz Poker hand is: A-2-3-4-5
Razz Poker Rules – Game Structure
Razz Poker can be played by 2 to 8 players, using a single, standard deck of 52 cards. Razz Poker is most often played in a Fixed Limit Betting Structure, using forced Ante and Bring-In bets, rather than the Blind Bets commonly found in Hold’em style poker games. We will define each of these below.
Fixed Limit: The stakes of the game define exactly how much a player can bet/raise throughout the hand. An example of stakes would be $2/$4, with $2 being the low bet, and $4 being the high bet. There are 5 betting rounds in Razz Poker. During the first 2 betting rounds, all bets/raises must match the low bet, doubling to the high bet in the last 3 betting rounds.
Ante: A small bet placed by each player before the cards are dealt. The Ante is generally 10-25% the low bet.
Bring-In: Placed y the player with the highest Door Card (the lone face-up card after the initial deal), places this forced bet, equal to 50% of the low bet. Should there be a tie for the highest card, highest suit breaks the tie. Suits rank lowest to highest in alphabetical order – Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, then Spades.
Razz Poker Rules – The Streets
Each new card dealt is called a Street. The initial deal consists of 3 cards – two face down and the third face-up, called the Door Card – so this is referred to as the 3rd Street. All other Streets deal a single card to each player at a time; 4th Street, 5th Street, 6th Street and 7th Street. After each Street, there is a betting round. As mentioned above, the 3rd and 4th Street require bets/raises to equal the low bet. The 5th, 6th and 7th Street will incur bets/raises that match the high bet.
Razz Poker Rules – The Showdown
If two or more players remain active in the hand after the final betting round (after 7th Street), a Showdown will occur. Using their own 7 cards, each player develops the lowest possible hand. The lowest ranking hand wins the entire pot. In the case of a tie, the wining players split the pot evenly.
Razz Poker Starting Hands
We will not describe for you what is considered to be a good Starting Hand in Razz Poker. These are hands you should confidently move forward with. As a novice Razz Poker player, it is not recommended to move forward with weak or marginal hands.
A Premium Razz Poker Starting Hand would have 3 cards of 5 and below with no pairs; A-2-3 being the best possible starting hand. Premium Razz Poker Starting Hands are listed below:
Good Razz Poker Starting Hands – those that are not as perfect, but still hold great value – would be:
To continue developing please read our Razz Strategy Guide