Razz is able to provide an individual take on the traditional 7 card stud game in the fact that the aim of the game is to make a low five card hand. This clearly differentiates it from the majority of poker games but many players find it a fun and challenging format of the game. The same ranking and styles of play used in other poker games can be utilised in Razz but the player needs to be able to switch their style of play to this alternative take.
When playing Razz straights and flushes are not considered and the Ace is generally played as a low ranked card. The best possible hand to hold when playing Razz is 5,4,3,2,A and this can be referred to as 5 high, the bicycle and even the wheel. There is a strong lexicon involved in RAZZ and while it may not be played in casinos, online casinos or tournaments much on its own, it features in H.O.R.S.E. with Razz predictably being the R. Razz is generally played as a limit game.
How to Play Razz
The general run of Razz is as follows:
- All players will place their ante bet into the pot.
- The dealer then deals 3 cards to every player, the initial two cards are provided face down.
- and these are referred to as hole cards. The remaining card is dealt face up and is referred to as the door card.
- The player who holds the lowest door card – if required suits can be used as a tie-breaker – will bring-in the bet (a small forced bet) and then the betting process begins.
- In a clockwise fashion, players have the opportunity to bet, raise or fold.
- Another card is dealt to all players, with the card being face up and the second betting round begins. This time, the player with the highest face up cards hand begins the betting process.
- Another round of open cards are dealt to the existing players and again, the player that holds the highest face up cards will begin the betting process before it continues around the table in a clockwise fashion. This process is repeated for another round, by which stage the remaining players will now have 6 cards, two facing down and four facing up.
- The final round begins with every player being dealt a card face down. Again, the player holding the highest face up cards begins the betting process, meaning the player that started the previous round will do so again.
- If more than one player remains in the game, a showdown takes place where the players will use their 7 cards to make their lowest possible 5 card poker hand.
- It is not uncommon for all but one player to fold, negating the need for a showdown, but if two or more players are left in the hand, a showdown will take place. All remaining players will use any of their 7 cards to create the lowest ranking 5-card poker hand. The player with the lowest hand wins the pot and traditionally, the pot is split in case of a tie.
The order of cards being dealt in Razz can be seen to be following the 7 Card Stud patterns of 2 down, 4 up and 1 down.
Best Razz Starting Hands
When it comes to playing Razz, A-2-3 is the best starting hand. Basically, the lower the better and avoiding pairs are good too, so anything between an Ace and a five is worth being happy about.
As straights and flushes are not part of the game, the main focus when playing Razz is to avoid the high cards as much as possible.
Razz Poker Tips
- A standard tip for Razz is to play cards that are not paired, with none of the cards being higher than an 8. Players should avoid making pairs and should pay attention to the up cards of other players to ascertain what cards they cannot receive.
- Studying the door cards is a major part of Razz so be sure to pay attention to this round and all other up cards that appear.
- Razz is viewed as being a game where aggressive play is more successful so, if you hold a good hand, be sure to play strong. High cards and pairs are definitely hands you want to be getting rid with putting as little money in the pot as possible.
- Some players take to the switch in poker style of Razz better than others so take the time to go over the rules of play and get a feel for a how a game of razz generally pans out.