Introduction to Razz Poker
by Greg Cavouras  

So you like Poker but always seem to get terrible hands? Maybe you should take up Razz! Similar in play to 7-card stud, Razz is a game where the object is to make the “worst” 5 card hand from 7 cards that you are dealt. Every player that stays in (doesn’t fold) all the way through the hand will finish with 7 cards, and they will play the 5 that make the lowest ranking poker hand. To note, unlike other poker games, in Razz having a straight or flush does not rank your hand; that is to say having five cards in consecutive order, or five cards of the same suit doesn’t lower the value of the hand. Also, in Razz, Aces are always the lowest ranking card; therefore the best possible hand in Razz is A-2-3-4-5.


The action in Razz begins by each player putting in an ante, and each player being dealt a total of three cards- one is dealt face up, and two are face down hole cards. This is followed by a round of betting, and action proceeds clockwise as in any other Poker game, beginning with the player having the highest displayed card. The first player to act may either fold, or place the Bring-In amount which is a forced bet to ensure action. After the conclusion of this round of betting, a 4th card is dealt to each player, face up for the rest of the table to see. Another round of betting ensues after this 4th card, and at the conclusion of this betting, a 5th card is again dealt to each player, again face up for the rest of the table to see. A fourth round of betting follows, and a 6th card is dealt face up to each player. Another round of betting follows, and then the 7th and final card is dealt to each player, face down.


The deal of the 7th card marks the end of dealing in Razz. At this point, each remaining player at the table holds 3 hole cards, and 4 cards face up that opponents may view. Now the final round of betting begins- after all bets have been placed and settled, hands are compared, and the best (worst) 5 card hand is the winner. Note that there are no community cards, and each player may use any 5 of his 7 cards. Hands are ranked based on the highest card adversely affecting the hand’s ranking; for example a T high would beat a Q high and so forth. Likewise for pairs, the lower pair would be the better hand, however either pair would be beat by the High Card hand.

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