How To Play Razz Poker

written by: John

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Razz Poker is a Stud based game that uses the same structure and most of the same rules as 7-card Stud hi, but instead of shooting for the best hi 5-card poker hand players are actually trying to obtain the best 5-card low poker hand with Ace thru 5, otherwise known as a wheel or bike, being the best.

What is so great about Razz is that although this game may seem 'easy' just because all you do is play trashy cards; it really is a bit more complicated and requires a lot of thought when playing to actually be successful. A lot of the complication comes from seeing your opponent's up cards and trying to figure out what they have or don't have and comparing this information to your cards to determine the strength of your hand.

But before we put the cart before the horse, it may actually be best to know and understand the rules and fundamentals of Razz. To get you all started on that path we have included all the rules for you on how to play Razz Poker below.

All of our examples will be using $10/$20 as our bet amounts.

Razz Poker Rules

* Razz is not a poker game that uses a blind structure like Hold'em or Omaha. Instead, Razz use antes which are a forced bet that all players must contribute before being dealt cards. In Razz, this is generally about 10% of the smaller bet. So, using $10/$20 as our example, the ante would be $1.

* Once the antes have been posted, the dealer will then deal 1 card at a time to each player until all players have 3 cards. The last card is dealt face up and is referred to as the 'door card.'

* Once all the cards have been dealt, the player with the highest door card will be required to be the 'bring in.' The 'bring in' is another forced bet and is generally double the amount of the ante. Using our example of $10/$20 with a $1 ante, the bring in would be $2. The player who is the bring in can also choose to 'complete' the bet which means they can choose to bet the maximum allowed for that round. A complete bet at $10/$20 would be $10.

Note: Razz is generally played using the fixed limit format which means that only the required bet can be made. For example, if after 4th street a player were making a bet, they would have to make a bet using the smaller of the two bet sizes. Using our example, this would be $10. But, the player would have to bet $10. They could not bet anything smaller such as $4, $5.50, $8 and so forth.

* After the betting round, players will then be dealt the 4th card known as 4th street. This is dealt face up.

* Now that all players have been dealt 4th street, it is time for the next betting round. The player who has the lowest hand showing will be the first to act and has the choice to check, fold or bet, with the bet size being the smaller of the two options. Using $10/$20 as an example, players would be allowed to raise $10.

In most Stud games, there is cap on how many raises can be made each betting round with the most common being 3 per round. So for example, on 4th street one player can raise $10, another can raise another $10 (calling $10/raising $10=$20) and a third player can raise another $10 for a total of $30 required from each player for them to continue in the hand.

After the first player in this betting round has acted, each player after can make the choice to check, fold or raise based on the actions that has happened before them.

* Once the betting round has been completed, the dealer will then deal the 5th card known as 5th street. This card is dealt face up.

* Another betting round will begin after 5th street has been dealt with the player with the best low hand being the first to act. This betting round will require players to make the larger of two bets if they choose to make a bet or raise. Using our $10/$20 as an example, the required bet that would have to be made is $20. Again, betting would be capped at three per round.

* 6th street will now be dealt after the betting round has been completed and is dealt face up.

* Players will begin another betting round using the larger of the two bet sizes and again will begin with the player who has the best low card hand showing.

* After this betting round, players will now be dealt the final card known as 7th street. Unlike the last 4 cards, 7th street is dealt faced down.

* Once 7th street has been dealt, players will now start the final betting round. This will start with the player who has the best low card hand showing and this round requires players to use the larger of the two betting amounts when betting or raising. Using our example, players would be required to bet $20.

* After the betting has been completed, all players who are still in the hand will then flip their cards over and the player who has the best 5-card low hand will win the pot.

* Players will now post their antes once again and the hand will start over.

Razz Poker Notes

* Players are not required to go to showdown with their hands. If at any time a player raises enough to force all other players to fold, that player will then win the pot without having to show their cards.

* If there are 8 players still involved in the hand on 7th street the dealer will then place 1 card in the middle which will act as a community card for all players to use.

Learn How to Play Razz Poker

As you can see, Razz Poker is played almost identically to 7-card Stud with only a few subtle differences so if you understand how to play Stud this game should be a breeze for you to learn. Also, Razz is a great game to add to your resume because it is not only played by itself but also in many mixed game variations such as Horse and 8-game mix.