Razz Poker

razz overture

Razz Primer


An Introduction to Razz Poker


Razz poker is not the most popular poker game out there, and many people who do play the game aren't very good at it. This is exactly what you want to hear as a poker player who is looking to cash-in on playing poker! Razz poker is seen as a game of luck to some people, after all, the worst hand wins! While the game of Razz may seem luck driven to some players, it is actually a game that can be very profitable when played correctly. As with other forms of poker, play badly and you'll lose money, play well, and you'll make money.

Razz poker became more popular in recent years thanks to the ESPN's televised World Series of Poker Razz event in 2004. Poker professional T.J. Cloutier beat out fellow poker pro Dutch Boyd and 194 other players all vying for the title of Razz World Champion. Dutch Boyd's last minute decision to play in that event got him to learn the game by reading a book on how to play Razz poker en route to Las Vegas for his participation in the 2004 WSOP events! His last minute Razz studies netted him 2nd place and just over $46,000! Learning Razz and having success that quickly in the game may not come that easy for some, after all, Dutch Boyd is a professional poker player and his overall poker skills surely played a large part in his success. But if you are willing to learn the game, then you too can find success in this seemingly crazy game called Razz!

Razz poker is also gaining popularity from online poker rooms that are offering the game of Razz in their ring games, multi-table tournaments, and sit and go tournaments. You'll also find Razz being played in the ever increasing popular mixed poker games, such as H.O.R.S.E. and 8-Game poker.

Razz poker is a stud game and is also known as 7 card stud low. Razz is played as a fixed limit game with antes and is played with up to eight players. The object of the game is to make the best five low cards (all different cards, no pairs) out of the seven cards that are dealt to you. In Razz, aces are always low and straights and flushes do not count. Pairs, trips, and four-of-a-kinds are hands that will work against you, in that they make it harder for you to make a five card hand with all different cards. The best hand in Razz is A-2-3-4-5, known as the wheel, bicycle, bike, or simply the nuts.

Razz is a game that requires a lot of patience and discipline. It's a game that can frustrate even the best poker professionals. Razz to some poker pros is the game that they love to hate! Don't let that discourage you, if you can learn the basic fundamentals of Razz and be patient and discipline, then you will be a winning Razz poker player. It is that simple.

Razz poker can be a profitable poker game because unlike Texas Hold'em and other popular games, there aren't that many good players. It's a game that many people will try out not knowing what they are doing, or people who simply lack the patience and discipline that is required to win consistently. Razz poker is also played in mixed poker games, like H.O.R.S.E. and 8-Game poker. Typically you will find that when the Razz rounds are played in these mixed games that many of the players simply do not have a clue on how to play the game correctly. Their focus and expertise is likely to come in the other games such as Hold'em, Omaha, or even 7 card stud high. Mixed games offer a good Razz player an opportunity to capitalize on other players lack of understanding of the game.

Razz poker rules are very similar to that of 7 card stud high. Each person is first dealt three cards, the first two cards are face down (hole cards) and one card face up (the door card). The player showing the highest exposed door card is the 'bring-in'. The bring-in is a forced bet and is usually 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the bet. The bring-in also has the option to complete the bet to the full bet amount. Play is then continued clockwise and players may fold, call, or raise. With Razz there is usually a capped limit of three raises per round/street. Once betting is complete another card is dealt face up to all remaining players. This round is called 'fourth street'. The player showing the best lowest hand so far is first to act and betting continues again clockwise. The fifth card (fifth street) is dealt to all the players face up and betting continues the same way as in the previous rounds with one exception, the bet amount is now double of what it was in the first two rounds. The double bet amount is also used for the remaining two rounds. The sixth card (sixth street) is dealt face up and the round is played out the same way as in the previous rounds. The seventh and final card dealt to all remaining players is dealt face down and betting is played out as usual, again, with the "best" lowest cards showing acting first. This round is called 'seventh street'. After all the streets have been played out and if there are two or more players remaining then the player with the best five low cards wins the pot on showdown!

Don't worry if you think these rules are confusing, once you play a few hands it will come much easier to understand, and if you play Razz online then the software will manage all the required actions.

When first starting out playing Razz some players misread their hand strengths and are scratching their heads and wondering why they had lost a hand. With Razz it's important to be able to read your hand correctly. When determining your hand strength you need to take your five lowest cards and read the hand from the highest low card to the lowest card, and not from lowest to highest. An example would be if you held a hand like 6-3-8-A-2, then it should be read as 8-6-3-2-A for an 8 high, not A-2-3-6-8. Some beginner Razz players think that their hand of A-2-3-6-8 should beat a 2-4-5-6-7 hand because their hand starts off with a smaller card, the ace. This is not the case. Your highest low card is counted first. If you have five small low cards and your highest low card is a 9, then you automatically beat any hand that shows a 10 or higher. If your opponent also has a 'nine high' then you compare the second highest card, and so on to determine the winner.


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