Razz Poker is a popular version of 7 card stud poker in which only the lowest hand wins. Online poker games of Razz Poker ignore straights and flushes when calculating who has the best hand, so A,2,3,4,5 is the ultimate hand to make, irrespective of suit. Razz also owes its position as the most popular format of lowball poker to television – being the first WSOP side event to be televised in 2004.
Razz Poker Hand Hierarchy
As mentioned above, A,2,3,4,5 is the best possible hand to make when playing Razz Poker, however there is often confusion about what constitutes the best hand when the card distribution is not so straightforward. The winning hand is determined by who has the lowest “hi” card. Therefore 3,6,7,8,9 is a better hand than A,2,3,4,10 – even though the second hand has a better range of low cards.
Razz Poker Dealing
At the start of each hand of Razz Poker, players pay a pre-agreed ante to be dealt into the hand, and each is then given three cards – two face down (known as “closed” or “hole” cards) which are private to the player and one face up (“open”) which the other players can see. A round of betting follows, after which a further open card is dealt to the players remaining in the game and a further round of betting ensues. This sequence continues until seven cards in total have been dealt to each player remaining in the hand, with the final card dealt face down.
Razz Poker Betting
In addition to the ante, there is a defined structure of betting when playing Razz Poker. When the first three cards have been dealt, the player displaying the highest ranking card has to pay a forced “bring-in” (usually 30% of the betting stake) or can “complete” by making a bet. Stake levels in Razz Poker are usually pre-determined, and therefore a bet would be of a fixed amount ie $1.00. Action continues in a clockwise direction, with players having the option to call, raise (by $1.00) or fold. A maximum of four raises is usually permitted before the next card is dealt.
Later Rounds of Razz Poker Betting
After the fourth card has been dealt, the action starts with the player who has the lowest two card non-paired combination of open cards. For example, a player showing 5-8 would act ahead of a player showing 3-3. That player has the option of betting or checking his hand, and the action then passes clockwise around the table with each player having the choice of calling any bet, raising the bet or folding their cards. After the fifth card has been dealt, the bet stake values double (e.g. $2.00 bets and raises instead of $1.00).
Suit Values in Razz Poker
Quite often in Razz Poker, players will have the same open card values – especially at the very beginning of the game when one or more players may have (say) a Six showing. The player to act is determined by the suit of the card (or highest open card in later rounds of betting). Suits are ranked from lowest to highest in alphabetical order, with clubs being the lowest, then diamonds, followed by hearts, and spades being the highest. Therefore, in our example, the player showing the Six of Hearts will act rather than the player showing the Six of Clubs.
Razz Poker Showdown
When the seventh card has been dealt, and the betting options exhausted, the player who made the last aggressive betting action is the first to display their cards. The showdown continues around the table in a clockwise direction until a winner is determined according to the Razz Poker hierarchy. If a player does not have a winning had, he has the option to “muck” his cards (return them to the pack unseen) to prevent other players seeing the quality of the hand on which he was betting.
Online Poker Sites Offering Razz Poker
Despite not being one of the most established online poker variants, a good number of online poker sites offer this game to their clients. With the exception of the online poker sites on the Merge network (who offer cash games of Razz Poker at Fixed and Pot limit) Razz Poker is offered at Fixed Limit only and games can usually be found in the Stud Poker menu.
PokerStars offer Razz Poker tournaments with increasing blind structures several times a day and host a weekly $8,000 guaranteed tournament every Sunday afternoon. Check our PokerStars review here or continue to PokerStars by using the link below which will give you the maximum bonus of $600 at your first deposit.
Carbon Poker is the oldest poker site on the Merge network. They offer huge promotions and it’s a solid poker room. Definitely check them out if you are not playing over there yet. Good part is that they accept players from all over the world, including the United States. Use Carbon Poker bonus code CARBONPK.
Bet365 Poker is another poker room offering options to play Razz Poker online. They are on the iPoker network, check them out by using the link below.