Razz Poker: How to Play the Lowball Game and Win
Interested in playing a different variation of poker, where the lowest hand actually wins? If so, you've come to the right place! In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about Razz Poker. You'll discover the basics, learn how to play, hand rankings, and, of course, find out where you can find the best sites to play Razz Poker. Let's get into it...
The Basics of Razz Poker
Razz poker is similar to seven-card stud poker, and is sometimes referred to as 'seven-card razz'. The main difference being the lowest hand wins the pot. Like Five Card Draw and Seven-card Stud, it does not involve a flop or any community cards. The gameplay structure is almost identical to a standard stud game, but the hand rankings are reversed. If you are familiar with stud poker rules, learning Razz poker should be a breeze.
...the lowest hand wins the pot!
Razz Poker Rules
Razz Poker can be played between two to eight players. There is a maximum of seven cards which can be dealt to a player should he/she choose to progress through the betting rounds.
Two cards are dealt face down to each player (hole cards), followed by a third card placed face-up (door card).
Then the betting begins, starting with the player who has the highest door card. This is similar to Texas Hold'em's 'Big Blind', as this player must start the betting with an amount larger than the ante.
The betting then proceeds clockwise, where players can call, raise, or fold. Four more cards are dealt to each player, with betting rounds in between. The next 3 cards are dealt face-up, with the final card dealt face-down.
This leaves a player with 3 cards face-down and 4 face-up. The player with the lowest ranking hand wins the pot.
How to Play Razz Poker
Ok, so now that we've got the basic rules out of the way, let's go through a standard hand, step by step...
- The Initial Betting Round (Ante): Before any cards are dealt, players must 'ante' a nominal bet, which is usually a predetermined fixed amount. This is the cost of being dealt into the hand.
- The Hole & Door Cards - Third Street: Each player is initially dealt three cards, 2 hole cards and a door card. The hole cards are dealt face down, while the door card is placed face up. The player with the highest exposed card in the 'bring in' and forced to begin the third street round of betting. The action then proceeds clockwise around the table where players can choose to bet, check, call, raise or fold. Of course, a betting action depends on the action of the previous players. Once all the players have placed their bets and the pot has been called, the dealer initiates...
- Fourth Street: Each player now receives a fourth card which is placed face-up. Betting begins with the player who has the lowest exposed hand. The betting round proceeds exactly the same as the last betting round. Once all players have placed their bets, the dealer can proceed to...
- Fifth Street: Just like fourth street, players are dealt a fifth card which is placed face up. Again, the player with the lowest exposed hand starts off this round of betting. The betting in this round should be made in bigger amounts than the previous betting rounds. Once all players have made their actions, the dealer moves onto...
- Sixth Street: Sixth Street follows the exact same procedure as Fourth and fifth street, as one more exposed card is dealt to each player. A round of betting follows before the dealer moves on to the final card, or...
- Seventh Street/The River: Players still in the hand now receive a seventh card, placed face-down. This final round now plays out exactly the same way as the other rounds. If 2 or more players are still active, we commence to the...
- The Showdown: The last bettor, or raiser, now shows his/her hand first. Hands are then revealed clockwise around the table. The player with the best low hand wins the entire pot.
A Razz Community Card
There is the possibility of a community card coming into play during a Razz poker game. If the game has a maximum number of players, and all players are still active for Seventh Street, there will be a shortage of cards. To counteract this, the dealer deals one final card face up in the centre of the table. This replaces individual seventh cards dealt to each player. All eight players can use this seventh card as a part of their own hands.
Razz Poker Hand Rankings
High Straights and flushes don't count for much in Razz Poker and Ace is always played as a low card.
The best possible hand is 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace, with suits being irrelevant. The second best hand is 6, 4, 3, 2, Ace, with the third best being 6, 5, 3, 2, Ace, and so forth.
There is no standard chart for Razz poker ranking hands, as a combination of the lowest ranking cards is the strongest hand.
Tips & Strategies
💡 If you get dealt cards with a value of 8 and above during Third Street it is recommended to fold. You should also be wary of pairs, as starting hand with a pair can potentially lead to a very poor razz hand.
💡 It is important to understand when it is worth continuing to draw in an attempt to secure a strong low hand. To do this you should keep track of opponents' exposed cards to know which card has been used and which could yet turn up in your hand. A good starting hand can quickly become unfavourable if several low cards show up as other players' door cards.
Find Casinos to Play Razz Poker Online
The popularity of Razz Poker seemed to wane somewhat between the 90s and 00s. However, with its popularity increasing over the past decade, you should be able to find both free play and real-money razz poker games on the best NZ poker sites.
Razz Poker – Summary
Not everyone finds Razz poker the most exciting variant of poker to play, but it is still worth learning how to play the game. Even if you just want to mix up your house poker games with family and friends.
- Youtube. "Pokernews - How to Play: Razz", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ufb6fykVf9s
Senior Content Editor
Noah is the senior content editor at CasinoCrawlers and a writer with many iGaming articles under his portfolio. Therefore, he is skilled at writing bonus guidelines, gambling strategies, and casino reviews. During his spare time, he enjoys playing Call of Duty and is a huge rugby fan.Read more about the author