Razz poker is a variation of the well-known Seven-Card Stud poker with one difference – the aim here is to create the hand with the lowest possible value.

While it can seem a bit tricky to understand when compared to the other versions of poker, Razz is a fun and interesting poker game to play once you get the hang of it.

We introduce you to everything you need to know about how to play Razz, from the rules and the hand rankings to how the betting rounds work. You can also find more details on how Razz differs from regular Stud versions and get an overview of the basic tips and strategies to boost your game.

Razz Rules Explained

When you learn how to play poker, you will come across variants where the aim is to make the lowest-ranked hands to win - these are called lowball or low poker. Razz is one such lowball game of poker.

Razz is a Seven-Card Stud variant played for low only.

While the game follows similar rules to Stud, it differs in that instead of trying to get the highest-ranked hand, the aim here is to get the lowest-ranked hand to win. That is, the lowest 5 different cards will win the pot.

As a lowball poker variant, the hand rankings are reversed in Razz. Aces are always the lowest-ranked cards, and flushes and straights do not count. The best Ace-to-Five low poker hand wins the pot at the showdown.

Players are dealt seven cards over several rounds, and from those, the players must use five to create the lowest possible hand.

The game uses a deck of 52 cards and usually has between two and eight players.

How Is Razz Poker Different From Stud Poker?

Although the Razz card game is a variation of Stud Poker, the two differ. You can find the primary differences in the rules regarding the following:

  • The player who starts the action on any street: The player with the lowest hand showing will be the first player to act on fourth street or on subsequent rounds.
  • The player who brings the action at the beginning of the initial betting round: In Razz, the player with the highest door card must pay the bring-in, while in Stud, the player with the lowest door card is responsible for the bring-in.
  • Deciding the winning hand at showdown: There is no eight-or-better qualifier in Razz; the lowest hand wins.

How To Play Razz Poker

Learning how to play a Razz poker game is relatively simple if you know how to play Seven-card Stud. Below, we take you through how to play Razz in poker and the stages involved.

Razz is typically played as a fixed-limit game. For example in this article, we will use a Razz game of $5/$10, with the small bet at $5 and the big bet at $10. You use the small bet for the first two rounds (third and fourth street) and then move to the big bet for the fifth street onwards.

Before the initial cards are dealt, all players must post the ante, then the dealer gives three cards to each player - two face-down hole cards and one face-up card. This first face up card is known as the door card.

The betting starts after three cards have been dealt and continue as players receive additional cards over the next rounds, often denoted as “streets.”

How to play Razz Poker: rules, tips, hand rankings.

Third Street

This betting round is known as the Third Street because players have three cards. The player with the worst door card is responsible for starting the betting action by paying the “bring-in’’ – the mandatory bet. This bring-in is usually equal to the ante, or half the amount of the regular bet.

Remember, since Razz is a lowball game, the worst door card here is the highest value card.

In Razz, a King is the worst door card, followed by Queen and Jacks.

If two people have a door card of the same rank, the bring-in is determined by the suit. Spades (♠️) is the highest-ranked suit, followed by hearts (♥️), diamonds (♦️), and clubs (♣️).

Next, a round of betting starts with the player to the immediate left of the bring-in, who may call, bet, check, raise, or fold. Betting then continues around the table in a clockwise manner.

Players then move through another four rounds, during each of which they receive another single card.

Fourth Street

Each player receives another card placed face-up. Another round of betting ensues. This time, the player with the lowest-value hand of exposed cards takes the first action. They can choose to call, raise, or fold.

On the Fourth Street, the bets are made in increments of the small bet which, in our example, is $5.

Fifth Street

Play follows the same structure as with the Fourth Street, with each player receiving another single card face-up and the player with the lowest-ranking exposed cards takes the first action.

However, now, the first player to action can bet the bigger fixed limit, which would be $10 in our ongoing example.

Sixth Street

Again, each player receives another card face-up. As with the previous round the player with the lowest exposed hand takes the first action and again, bets and raises are made using the bigger fixed limit.

Seventh Street

During this final betting round, each player receives one final card face-down. Now, each player will have three face-down cards and four face-up cards. As per the other rounds, the player with the lowest poker value of their exposed cards takes the first action.

Now, all the players still in the game must make the best five-card, lowball hand using their seven cards.

Showdown

Now, all remaining players enter a showdown in which they expose their hands. The player with the lowest-value hand wins the pot.

Antes, Bring-In, Betting

Before the initial cards are dealt, all players must post the ante. The ante is a forced bet that all players must wager before they receive their cards to put something in the pot worth betting on. The ante amounts depend on the game set up and is usually agreed upon before the game.

Once this is done, the dealer gives three cards to each player - two face-down hole cards and one face-up door card.

The player with the highest door card is responsible for starting the action by paying the bring-in, which is often a little higher in value than the ante.

A similar trend continues over the next rounds, with the player having the lowest exposed hand (strongest, since it is a game of Razz) starting the betting action. They may either check or bet. The same continues for the rest of the hand, with a round of betting taking place after every street.

For the third and fourth streets, the bets are made in increments of the small bet. Starting on the fifth street and for the rest of the hands, all bets and raises are made in big bets increments.

Razz Poker Hand Rankings

Using the cards they have, each player makes the best lowest-value five-card hand from their seven cards. The remaining two cards are dead cards and no longer serve a purpose.

The player with the lowest-value hand wins the pot. Evaluating the best Razz poker hands involves the following:

  • Flushes and straights don't count in Razz.
  • Suits have no bearing on your hand strength.
  • Pairs are not good as you want unique cards.
  • The best hand you can have is the Wheel.
  • You evaluate your hand by starting with the highest card and going down from there.
  • There is no qualifier so the lowest hand wins no matter the cards that make it up.
  • If two players have the same winning hand, they split the pot.

Understandably, it can take sometime to get used to the workings of Razz poker. If you are new to poker, we recommend you get your bearings by learning the simpler versions - like the 5-card draw poker - and then moving on to lowball variants.

What Is The Best Hand In Razz Poker?

The best Razz poker hand rankings are as follows:

  1. The Wheel, also known as California Lowball and Five Low: 5-4-3-2-A.
  2. Six Low: Any unpaired hand with 6 as the highest card. For example, 6-4-3-2-A.
  3. Seven Low: Any unpaired hand with 7 as the highest card. For example, 7-5-3-2-A.
  4. Eight Low: Any unpaired hand with 8 as the highest card. For example, 8-5-3-2-A.

When two players have the same kind of lows, the player with the lowest card after the number wins the hand.

That is, if two players have a Six Low of 6-5-3-2-A and 6-4-3-2-A, the player with the 4 will win the pot. Similarly for a Seven Low tie, the player with the lowest card after 7 wins the pot.

Since Razz poker has no ‘8 or better qualifier rule’, winning hands can be decided with Ace Low, King Low, Queen Low, a pair, and so on. As long as the player has the lowest hand at showdown, they win.

Here are a few examples of how different hands work in Razz:

  • Assume you have a hand of A-2-3-4-10 and your opponent has 5-6-7-8-9. In this case, your opponent wins the pot since their highest card (9) is lower than yours (10).
  • A showdown between A-2-3-5-7 and A-2-3-4-6 will be won by the latter since 6 is lower than 7.

Top Tips When Playing Razz Poker

When studying the Razz poker rules there are several tips that you can combine with them to play the game in the best poker sites well. These tips may not turn you pro overnight, but they will set you on the right path.

  • Your starting hand is important: Getting off to a good start is imperative. The best three-card hand you can receive is an Ace-2-3. Most pro players will tell you that it is best to fold, particularly when the table has all eight spots filled if you have any cards in your initial hand over the value of eight.
  • Steal antes and blinds: If you land the lowest door card, you start the action, and you should always raise. If you have a 2, 3, or Ace as your door card, you can easily scare off your opponents and steal the blinds and antes.
  • Checks should be attacked: In a case where your opponent has low-value exposed cards but they check, it may be because their hole cards are not ideal. If your up cards are also low, this may be a good time to take the pot.
  • Chasing past 5th Street is unwise: When involved in Poker Razz and how to play, you'll find that by the fifth street, you'll know where you stand as most of the cards are exposed. If you receive a high card on the fifth street and your opponents have low-value exposed cards, folding is the smart option.
  • Pay attention to cards on the table: When playing Poker Razz, it is essential to pay attention to the exposed cards on the table, and what has possibly been folded. If the card you need to complete your low hand is already part of several other player's hands, your chances of getting the card you need are unlikely.

Razz Poker Strategy

Learning how to play Razz in poker means understanding a few strategies that can help you improve your game.

The first of these is starting with a good hand. The best-starting hand you can have is an Ace-2-3, followed by:

  • A-2-4
  • A-3-4
  • 2-3-4
  • A-2-5
  • A-3-5
  • A-4-5

Pro players usually fold their starting three-card hand if it has any cards higher than an 8.

Additionally, pairs don’t count for much in Razz rules, which means a starting hand with a pair is a bad hand and is worth folding.

Another top strategy in playing Razz is stealing the bring-ins and antes, as is knowing when to continue drawing and when to fold - if you start with a low hand and begin to accumulate cards with a higher value, it may not be worth continuing.

Conclusion

Razz Poker offers a fun variation of Stud Poker. The unique Razz poker rules turn many of the Stud rules on their head, offering a fun and unique game to enjoy. While gameplay is longer, it provides a more exciting way to play and strategies to use to boost your chances of winning in different offshore poker sites.

Razz Poker FAQs

What is Razz Poker?

How is Razz Poker different from Stud Poker and other Poker games?

Are there antes and bring-in betting in Razz Poker?

What are the hand rankings in Razz?

Who goes first in Razz?

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Chirag Dubey
Sports Editor

Chirag Dubey brings to the table a combined expertise of iGaming, poker, and sports. His passion runs particularly deep with soccer and tennis, but he is open to following other games as well. Poker and sports betting are also two strengths of his, and he is now leveraging his experience into providing best value for all readers on the site. With an emphasis on quality, minute details, and user experience on Sports7, Chirag strives for excellence through his content.

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Author photo
Chirag Dubey Sports Editor

Chirag Dubey brings to the table a combined expertise of iGaming, poker, and sports. His passion runs particularly deep with soccer and tennis, but he is open to following other games as well. Poker and sports betting are also two strengths of his, and he is now leveraging his experience into providing best value for all readers on the site. With an emphasis on quality, minute details, and user experience on Sports7, Chirag strives for excellence through his content.

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