The game where the lowest hand wins – How to play Razz Poker

What is Razz Poker Online?

Razz is similar to stud poker and makes up the R in HORSE. It is a lowball game that is almost always played for ace to five low. In a nutshell, seven cards are dealt and the goal of Razz is make the lowest five card hand you possibly can. Out of all of the lowball poker variations Razz is probably the most popular, but overall in popularity it lags by a country mile behind Texas hold’em and Omaha poker. It’s less popular nature can also be one of its advantages for the keen poker player who schools themselves on the rules and gets good at it. This situation will provide plenty of opportunities for making money off less skilled Razz players or those new and unprepared for the game. In this article we will look at the general rules of the game, hand rankings which are absolutely crucial, and offer some poker tips for Razz. This will help you on your way to adding Razz to your collection of poker room options, and also help prepare you for HORSE – a couple more ways of competing and making money.

How to Play Razz Poker

A Razz table will generally have up to eight participants at the most playing with limited bets and setting the amount that can be wagered during each round. After the ante each player is dealt two face down cards and one that is face up. The best starting three cards you want to have are A,2,3, while a King is the highest and least desirable card. The player with the highest face up card (the door card) brings it in by betting first. This player can either bet the same amount as the ante, or complete the bet. Then play continues in a similar fashion to stud poker in a clockwise manner. For the fourth, fifth and sixth cards the player with the lowest card will bring it in as before. The seventh card (the river) is dealt face down and players left in after final betting reach the showdown and use their five best cards to try and win. The player with the lowest hand wins the pot. Due to the amount of cards and players there may not be enough left in the pack for each player to receive one on the river. In this case the dealer will turn over one community card that all the players use.

Razz Hand Rankings

As already stated the winning hand is the ‘worst’ hand in a standard game of poker. In Razz flushes and straights don’t count and the best hand is A,2,3,4,5 which is called the wheel. If you have these cards in your hand then make sure to bet hard and heavy because there is no way you can lose. For the winning hand suits are meaningless and the pot is split in the case of winning players having the same hand. A hands value is calculated from the highest card down, so A,2,3,4,9 will lose to 4,5,6,7,8 as the 8 beats the 9. Qualifying hands are not required to win the pot. Always keep in mind that straights and flushes don’t count so 9,10,J,Q,K will actually beat A,2,3,4,4 as pairs do still count. A hand that is 6 high will beat a 7 high and on and on up until a king high hand. Aces are always low in Razz. The best five starting hands you could ask for are (A,2,3), (A,2,4), (A,3,4), (2,3,4), or (A,2,5).

Razz Poker Tips

Like all good poker games a healthy dose of aggression is needed to be a great Razz player. This goes hand in hand with getting to know your opponents at the table and making judgement calls based on their exposed cards. When they hit high cards on the fourth street and check you should always bet if you have a lower card. Being aggressive with players who fold when dealt high cards will improve odds of them folding in the future and will make the showdown easier if there are less players left in the hand. This leads into the next strategy which is always try to steal blinds and antes. If you need to bring it in don’t feel like you need to call raises with a bad hand. Folding is fine so don’t feel like you have been put on the defensive. When you are just starting out with Razz just don’t forget – the lowest hand wins!