Razz Poker Rules - how to play razz poker

razz poker rulesSince its introduction to the World Series of Poker, in the form of mixed games like H.O.R.S.E, Razz is becoming increasingly popular in both live casinos and online poker rooms. Many 7 card stud players are moving over to Razz poker due to the extremely soft competition that can be found at the tables. You can now play Razz at majority of the top poker rooms. This article will cover the razz poker rules and betting structure. Learning how to play razz will also help you understand other hi-lo split and lowball games. Razz is typically the hardest game to master in mixed poker games such as H.O.R.S.E and the new 8-game mix offered by Pokerstars. After you have a solid understanding of the rules check out our razz poker strategy section.

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Razz Poker Rules – The Basics

Razz Poker is an intriguing variation of 7 Card Stud, taken from the Hi/Lo version ofthe game. Instead of splitting the pot between High and Low hands, Razz Poker awards the entire pot to the lowest hand. Simply put, Razz Poker is 7 Card Stud Low. Like its cousin, Razz is a game for 2 to 8 players, using a standard deck of 52 cards. The object of Razz Poker is to develop the absolute weakest 5-card hand from the 7 cards provided. The weakest hand wins the pot. As we mentioned, Razz is like playing only the Low Hand in 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo. However, the Razz poker rules are a bit different. Below are the Razz Poker rules of hand development.

  • Aces are low
  • Straights and Flushes do not count as combinations
  • Any hand qualifies; there is no ‘8 or Better’ rule in Razz Poker.

Razz Poker Rules – Betting Structure

Razz is most often played in a Fixed Limit betting structure, which the structure we’ll be describing in this article. However, some places do offer Razz Poker in a Pot Limit or No Limit betting structure.

Fixed Limit (FL): This defines the amount players must wager when placing a Bet or Raise at any time throughout the hand, according to the stakes of the game. There are 5 betting rounds. In the first 2 rounds, all bets/raises must match the low-end stakes, doubling to meet the high end stakes in the last 3 betting rounds. For example, with $2/$4 stakes, players must make wagers of $2 in the first 2 rounds, upped to $4 in the final 3 rounds.

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Razz Poker Rules – Forced Bets

Razz Poker rules generally call for a forced Ante and Bring-In Bet, rather than the Blind Bets used in most poker games today.

Ante: This is a very small wager placed by all players before the cards are dealt. The amount of the Ante is decided by the stakes, but can vary from one card room to another. The Ante is generally 10-25% of the low-end stakes.

Bring-In: This forced bet is placed by the player with the highest Door Card after the initial deal. Each player will have three cards – 2 face down and 1 face up. The face up is the Door Card. If two or more players tie for highest Door Card, the highest suit determines the bettor. Suits are ordered alphabetically, lowest to highest – Club, Diamond, Heart, Spade. The amount of the Bring-In Bet is half of the low-end stakes.

Razz Poker Rules – Walkthrough

By now, you should have a pretty good understanding of how the game is played. Let’s take a brief walkthrough of a Razz Poker hand. We’ll be using $2/$4 stakes in a Fixed Limit betting structure. The game begins as each player places their Ante bet. The dealer then gives each player three cards – the first two are face down, the last face up (the Door Card). The player with the highest Door Card places the Bring-In bet to start off the first betting round. Remember, for this and the second betting round, all bets/raises must match the low-end stakes of $2.

Note: If at any time during the hand all other players Fold, leaving a single player active in the hand, that player automatically wins and the hand is over.

4th Street: Each player is dealt a 4th card, face up. The second betting round will begin, but from now on, the player with the weakest Open hand (face up cards only) will start the betting round.

5th Street: Each player is dealt a 5th card, again face up. The third betting round begins in the same fashion as the last except that all Bets/Raises increase, doubling to match the high-end stakes of $4, for the remainder of the hand.

6th Street: Each player is dealt a 6th card, also face up. Another round of betting…

7th Street: Each player is dealt their final, 7th card, this time face down, followed by the last round of betting.

The Showdown: If two or more players remain active in the hand (i.e. everyone hasn’t Folded), a Showdown will occur. Players reveal their weakest 5-card hand. The lowest hand wins the entire pot.

Razz Poker Rules – Not Enough Cards - running out of cards in razz poker

It is possible to run out of cards before the 7th street is dealt. This occurs when there are 8 players and none choose to Fold (8 players x 7 cards = 56 cards). It’s extremely rare, but it is possible. Should this occur, the 7th Street is dealt as a single card, face up, in the center of the table. It becomes a Community Card for all players to assume as their own 7th Street.

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