Razz poker is an interesting game to play because unlike most poker games, you’re actually trying to make the worst 5-card poker hand. After all, who doesn’t like to play 32o every once in a while?
If you’re interested in playing the worst hands in poker, you can find Razz running on most major poker sites. It’s also the “R” in the mixed games HORSE and HOSE. You’ll find about the same amount of traffic either way you go (Razz only vs. mixed games).
Now, if you don’t know how to play Razz, but know how to play Stud, then you should be able to pick up the game quickly. They’re polar opposites of each other in almost every aspect.
If you don’t know how to play either game, then you’ll want to read on below as I’m going to explain the rules for Razz. Once you learn how to play Razz, then you’ll be able to quickly pick up Stud. It’s almost like learning how to play two games at once.
Razz Poker Rules
The basic idea of Razz is that each player will be dealt 7 cards over 5 rounds. 4 of these cards will be dealt face up and 3 cards are dealt faced down. The objective of Razz is to make the best 5-card low hand with a wheel, A thru 5, being the best hand.
** Before I get started, I just want to point out that Razz uses Fixed Limit betting. I’ll explain how that works after I go through the rules.
Before the cards are dealt, each player will need to post an ante. This is instead of posting blinds. The ante is generally 5% or 10% of the big bet. So in a $1/$2 Razz game, each player might pay $.05 or $.10. This is to add incentive, which in turn creates action.
Once each player has posted an ante, the cards are dealt.
Each player will be dealt 3 cards. The first 2 cards are dealt faced down and the 3rd is dealt face up. The card dealt face up is known as the door card.
3rd street is the first betting round of 5. The betting round will start with the player who brings in which is a forced bet kind of like antes. The player who brings in is the player with the highest door card (this is the exact opposite of 7-card stud). If 2 or more players share the same door card, then who brings in is determined by the suit (in the order of strongest to weakest: clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades). The size of the bring in will generally be around half of the small bet. So in a $1/$2 game, it’d be about $.50.
The player who brings in will have the option to just bring in or raise. The action will continue clockwise around the table with each player having the option to fold, call or raise.
On 4th street, each remaining player is dealt another card face up. The player who has the lowest (4th) card will be the first player to act. This player can check or bet. The action will continue around the table with each player being able to check, call, bet, raise or fold.
4th street is the last street where the small bet is used.
5th & 6th Street
5th and 6th street are identical to 4th street other than that the big bet is used instead of the small bet.
Each player is dealt a card faced up and the betting round will start with the player who has the lowest up card. Once again, the options for each player are to check, bet, call, raise or fold.
On 7th street, all remaining players will receive one last card. This card will be dealt faced down.
The action will begin with the player who has the best showing hand (of the 4 up cards). Each player can check, bet, call, raise or fold.
If there are more than 2 players left in the hand after everyone has acted, then there will be a showdown. The first player to flip over his or her hand will be the player who raised on 7th street or has the lowest 4-card hand. Continuing clockwise around the table, each player will flip over their hand or muck it.
The player with the best 5-card low hand will win the pot. The pot will be awarded, cards reshuffled, antes reposted and a new hand will be dealt.
Razz Poker Hand Rankings
The hand rankings for Razz Poker can be a little confusing. So here are the top 5 hands so that you can get an idea of how winning hands are determined.
Straights and flushes do not affect the hand rankings. If 2 or more players have the same low, then the second card in the hand is used. For example:
As you can see, the 4 is what makes the difference here. That is the better hand.
The betting that is used in Razz is known as limit or fixed betting. This means that you are only able to bet so much each time it is your turn.
On 3rd and 4th street, you’ll only be able to bet using the smaller of the two betting increments. In a $1/$2 game, that would be $1. All bets and raises will be in increments of $1.
On 5th through 7th street, every bet will be using the bigger of the two bets. So in a $1/$2 game, each bet or raise would be in increments of $2.
Regardless of the street or bet amount, there is a cap of 1 bet and 3 raises per round. After the 3rd raise, players will only have the option to fold or call.
Get Started in Razz Poker
Razz is a fun game to play. And although it might be confusing at first, you’ll pick it up quickly after a few rounds. I would suggest choosing from one of our recommended sites and sitting down at the lower stakes. You’ll be able to learn without having to risk a lot of money and you’ll be playing with softer competition too — so you can probably crush it after getting the hang of the game.