How to Play Razz Poker

One of the more interesting 7 card poker games, this game is played by 2 to 8 players with a regular 52 card deck and is based loosely on the rules of stud poker although the requirements for winning are completely different.

The winning hand for most poker games, including stud poker is the hand holding the highest ranking cards however in razz poker the winner is actually the looser or at least the player holding the lowest hand.

Unlike some other games there is no qualifying restriction on the lowest hand in razz poker you just need to have the lowest value of cards to win the hand.

Another difference with razz poker is that straights and flushes do not count as combinations so they are ignored. Another difference in razz poker is the ace in a “normal” poker game the ace would be considered to be one of the highest cards with a value of 11 however in this game the ace has a rank of 1 making it the lowest card. So a winning hand could be A-1-2-3-4-5.

Are you confused? Don’t be read on for our guide to razz poker.

Object of Playing Razz Poker

The object of the game razz poker is pretty easy; simply use the 7 cards that are available to you via deal and draws to create the lowest possible ranking hand. Remember flushes and straights do not exist and aces are the lowest ranking card.

Place your bets

The game of razz poker is normally played with a fixed limit type of betting structure. A betting structure with fixed limits is one where players cannot bet more or less than the actual stakes of the game.

For example in a $2/$4 game.. Razz poker is a five round game, which means there are a total of five rounds of betting per hand. In the first two betting rounds, players must bet or raise no more and no less than the lower amount of the stakes, in this case that would be $2. The last three rounds of betting require that the bets and raises are equal to the higher amount which in this case is $4.

Unlike some other poker games razz poker does not require blind bets but uses a small ante and bring in style betting.

Set up

To start a game of razz poker each player is dealt three. Two of the cards dealt go face down and the last card is face up. This last face up card is called the door card. The face down cards are called the hole cards. The player with the lowest value door card begins the betting with a bring- in bet. Remember in our example of $2/$4 the bring- in bet is $1.

General Game Play

Here we will walk you through a basic game of razz poker to help you better understand how to play. This walk through will use the $2/$4 fixed limit structure with a 25% ante.

The match of razz poker starts with all of the gamers placing their bet of .50 cents in the pot. Once that occurs the dealer deals each player his or her 2 hole cards and 1 door card. The player with the lowest door card then places his or her $1 bring-in bet into the pot which starts the first round of betting in the game.

Going in a clockwise direction all players must then choose to raise, lower or fold. All bets and raises have to be $2. When the betting comes back to the bring-in better he or she can call by adding enough to the pot to equal the bring-in amount or he can raise or fold.

On the next round which is called the fourth street a fourth card is dealt face up to each player and the next round of betting begins. A “street” is what each card that is dealt is called. In this hand however the player that has the highest value of face up cards must start out the betting. Remember this round only allows the lowest end of the betting or $2.

In the 5th street another card is dealt and again the highest value hand begins the betting but in this round the betting value changes to the higher end which in our example is $4.

The 6th street is the same as the 5th , with a new card being dealt into each player’s open cards and betting continuing with the $4 high end.

The 7th and last street is a little different. This last card in the game id dealt face down and then again betting begins with the player with the highest open hand.

The winner is called when the player with the lowest 5 card combination is decided. Remember that in razz poker the ace is a 1 and neither straights or flushes count.

Razz poker is a fun and exciting game that is just a bit different then some of the other games of poker. If there is a tie between players for the lowest value cards then the pot can be split in razz.

Winning Razz Poker Strategies and Tips

Don’t play with a card higher than 8, only play when you can start out with 3 small cards. But like every rule this rule has exceptions:
All the other players up card are higher than a nine when you are holding a nine and you have two small cards in the hole. In this setup you are the player with best starting hand. There are other exceptions as well but those are for the more experienced players.

One more important strategy to winning in this game is tracking cards. If you know which cards are still in the deck, you are at an advantage. The cards that have already been dealt are called “dead cards”. Try to keep track of the dead cards to enhance your decision making. For example: you are holding 3-5-8 and there are seven more opponents with the following upcards: 3,5,8,8,2,7,Q. This means that a lot of the cards that could give you a pair are already “dead” (in other players hands). With this in mind play your game with real time awareness.