Razz Poker Hand Selection - The Best Starting Hands In Razz

best razz poker handsRazz Poker is a very exciting variant of 7 Card Stud, but each player’s level of excitement will vary by the profitability they find while playing real money online poker. To maximize those profits and ensure a thrilling experience, this article will detail the best Razz Poker starting hand selection strategies. If you’re reading this, we can safely assume you already know the rules of Razz Poker. If not, or if you’d like a brief refresher course, please visit our Razz poker rules section. Bankroll management in Razz poker is another important factor that you will need to consider before you start playing. Proper bankroll mgmt in razz will prevent the total loss of your bankroll due to a bad run.

Razz Poker Starting Hands – The Basics

A player will have 3 cards to begin with – the Starting Hand. From these three cards, the player must determine whether the Razz Poker Starting Hand is good enough to move on, or if it should be Folded.

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Razz Poker Starting Hands – The Wheel

The Wheel in Razz Poker is a perfect hand of A-2-3-4-5. This is the hand we’re shooting for, but you certainly can’t expect to be dealt these 5 cards very often. The winning hand is Razz Poker is usually 8 or 9 high. From this information, we can easily determine if a Starting Hand is strong enough to bet on.

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Razz Poker Starting Hands – Optimum Strategy

Below is a list of all good Razz Poker Starting Hands, and what action a player should take when holding them. Note that your actions may change according to the board and your Open Card (see “Razz Poker Starting Hands – Open Card” below.)


  • Wheel Cards – Any three Wheel Cards (A, 2, 3, 4, 5) - Raise/Re-Raise
  • Low Cards – Any three cards with 6 or 7 high - Bet/Raise
  • Smooth 8 – 8 high with all other cards 4 or below - Bet/Call.
  • Smooth 9 – 9 high with all other cards 4 or below - Check/call
  • Rough 8 or 9 – 8 or 9 high with medium kickers - Check/Fold

Razz Poker Starting Hands – Open Card

Before you make a decision on your own Starting Hand, look around the board and see what everyone else is showing. This is extremely important! All Open cards should be compared before anything else. If your Open Card is 5 or below and everyone else is showing a 10 or above, it does not matter what your Hole Cards are. Raise and watch as everyone else Folds to you. We’re assuming here that you are playing with competitors of at least minimal intelligence, as only a pitiful poker player would Call your Raise at this point. The only other exception is at micro-limit tables, where it’s so cheap to Call that they may actually stay in the pot.

Another important factor here is to observe what everyone else is showing, because these are the cards you are less likely to receive as the hand progresses. If there are two Aces showing, and neither is yours, don’t expect to get one later. Also note the board for any cards that will lower the chance of pairing your own cards, and how many cards are still in the deck that will help you.

For example, if you’re holding A-7-4, you need a 2, 3, 5 and/or 6 (nothing higher than 7). If the rest of the Open Cards are 3-5-A-K-T-9-7, you can determine that 5 bad cars are out of the way (A-K-T-9-7), while 2 good cards are missing (3-5). This is good. Then again, if the Open Cards were 3-5-2-6-K-2-T, you would have lost 5 good cards, with only 2 bad cards out of the way.

Use this information to adjust your actions – Check, Call, Bet, Raise or Re-Raise – according to your Razz Poker Starting Hand, and the recommended actions in the Razz Poker Starting Hand Selection chart above.

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