Those of you who play poker regularly will be more than aware of the different variants the game provides, whether that be Texas Hold’em, Omaha or Draw poker – the chances are you’ll find a game that is best suited to you. After a slump in interest during the 1990s and early 00s, Razz poker is enjoying a surge in popularity once again.
This is mainly due to the rise of the online gaming and the increase of willing players ready to try something a little bit out of their comfort zone. Razz is very similar to Seven Card Stud and Lowball, and is typically played with a minimum of two players and a maximum of 12. The idea of playing Razz is straight forward enough, players need to make the lowest possible hand from five cards out of seven. Already a pro, check out all the latest poker offerings right here – https://poker.paddypower.com/ – but if you want to hone your Razz skills, keep reading to check out our handy guide for newbies.
Razz is played with a standard 52-card deck and must be shuffled before every hand, sounds obvious but it’s important nonetheless. Players are dealt two cards (hole cards) and one upcard, prior to the dealer providing each player with three more upcards before dealing a last downcard.
In total, Razz has five different betting rounds (called ‘streets’, which we’ll come to) and the showdown at the end of the streets will determine the overall winner. Aces are always low and there’s no such thing as straights or flushes in Razz, you’ll always need to provide the lowest hand possible.
Razz gameplay and third street
Once all the cards are dealt and the players are ready, the ante payments must be determined and this is typically 20% of the smaller limit. Each player must provide an ante for each hand. From there, the ‘third street’ is the next stage and the player who has the highest upcard will get the ball rolling.
This particular player will have what is called the ‘bring-in’ card and they must make another bet or can decide to place a full bet in the lower betting augmentation, allowing play to continue around the table until the third street is complete.
Razz fourth, fifth, sixth & seventh street
Once the third street is settled (with all participants either matching the betting or folding), the fourth street can begin. The dealer will provide the active players with a second upcard, and the player with the lowest value (strongest) will start the round of betting. That player can either bet or check and the gameplay will continue.
The fifth street will see all active players dealt another upcard (three in total at this stage), and they’ll have the chance to check or bet, depending on what has happened in the fifth street and that cycle will continue through to streets six and seven. Each street will see the dealer provide all remaining players with a new upcard, which will total at five come the end of the street rounds.
The showdown in Razz does pretty much what it says on the tin. All the rounds of betting cease and the winner will be revealed. Whichever player bet last or raised will reveal produce their cards first, but if there wasn’t a bet made in the last round (street), the player who is in the earliest seat will go first etc.
From there, all the active players should have displayed their cards and whoever has the strongest Ace to Five low hand will win the entire pot. If two or more players have the same hand, the pot is split equally amongst them. This will give you a visual idea of the best hands in Razz, with number one the least likely to win to number twelve being the strongest (referred to as the ‘wheel’):
- 3, 3, 3, 5, 5
- K, K 4, 3, 2
- 2, 2, 7, 6, 5
- A, A, T, 9, 8
- K, Q, J, T, 9
- K, Q, J, T, 7
- 9, 8, 7, 6, 5
- 9, 7, 6, 5, 3
- 9, 7, 6, 5, A
- 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
- 6, 4, 3, 2, A
- 5, 4, 3, 2, A.