What is Razz Poker?
Razz is a game of the same seven-card stud structure. The only difference between the two versions is simply the determination of hand strength.
The highest 5-card hand wins in 7-card stud, and the lowest 5-card hand wins in Razz. This separates Razz Poker from most other poker types.
Razz poker is among the stud variants that came into prominence with other lowball games from decades ago.
The popularity decreased slightly in the 1990s and the early 2000s, however, the rise in mixed games and H.O.R.S.E., have led to a new wave of gamers.
Since it’s so identical to stud according to its structure, you will always find players at lower limits who want to play stud any time during the race rounds!
Two to eight players can play Razz. The same as seven-card stud, there is no flop or community cards in it, including hold’em or Omaha.
The aim of Razz is to make the smallest five-card poker hand out from the seven cards.
The composition and style of Razz are similar to seven-card stud. Every player is given two cards face down plus one facing up.
Both cards which are face down are referred to as the “hole cards” while the card which is facing up is the “door card”.
The one holding the highest-numbered door card has to post the mandatory bet (bring-in) or place the entire full bet just before the 4th street.
When 2 or more players have the same numbered highest door card, the mandatory bet is decided by suit.
The suits are ordered from highest to lowest: spade, heart, diamond, club.
It, therefore, means that the King is the worst door card since the aces are considered low in Razz poker.
The bring-in or the mandatory bet is usually 1/3 or 1/2 of the scale of the regular bet.
The next player may call the bet or bring it up to a full bet. Just as the bet is done, the game proceeds with every raise of a regular bet amount.
When the bet is over, each player in the hand will be handed a face-up 4th street card. The player with the lowest hand acts first to put the seemingly better razz hand at a disadvantage.
Razz Hand Rankings
Razz is a little bit more complex because it is a low ball game. We have provided some examples too to illustrate which hands are strong and which are weak, and which hands will win and lose.
Flushes nor straights wouldn’t really count in razz. The player’s best possible hand is a combination of A 2 3 4 5.
Pairs are still treated high. If a certain player has a pair and the opponent has no pair but a K in his hand, the player with the king will prevail.
Your highest card decides the rank of your hand and even if an opponent player has one card lower than you and another card higher, you can still win because your highest card is still lower than your opponent.
The best Razz hand is 5x4x3x2xAx with suits being incongruous. This combination of 6x4x3x2xAx is the second-best hand. The third best is 6x5x3x2xAx and so on.
The same method is used in other lowball or split pot poker games for scoring low hands.
No “eight-or-better” qualifier in Razz too, the lowest hand in the showdown succeeds, no matter how low the hand is.
Razz Poker Strategy
In razz poker, you have to be selective with the collection of your initial hands. Naturally, 32A is the best starting hand and any starting hand with ace through five is already very strong. However, it is just as important to see what other players hold.
One card can be seen from each other’s hand on the “flop.” It’s fine if they show higher cards we’re not invested in or the same cards we already have.
On the other hand, if they display cards that we would like to draw, that can be a bad signal.
But it is particularly important to have cards that match our own because it ensures that we are far less likely to get paired cards.
The use of the door card is another critical aspect of the Razz policy. When you have the lowest door card and the movement folded to you, raising the hole cards usually is reasonable, even though it is much weaker and your hand strength is somewhat skewed.
The players of high-door cards often fold, but even if they don’t, ideally you should assume that their hole cards are really good. You are also entitled to steal blinds as well as antes.
Although not everyone considers Razz poker the most thrilling poker game, it is still the favorite game among many players. In the H.O.R.S.E. games, Razz is one of the least known versions of the mix.
A little practice and research will make you much better than your rivals. Razz is a potentially lucrative game.