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Razz Poker Rules

Page summary: An overview of Razz Poker rules and strategy.

Razz Poker Rules - How to Play Razz Poker

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Razz Poker has been growing in popularity and is now being offered at a wide range of online casinos. Razz is very similar to 7 Card Stud. It is dealt in the same way and the betting rounds function very similarly. The main adjustment for 7 Card Stud players is getting used to the fact that the low hand wins in Razz Poker. This concept should be fairly simple for those 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo players. Razz Poker works in favor of those with an aptitude for being able to observe the cards on the table and remember which ones are live and which are dead.


In Razz Poker, the players normally play with antes instead of blinds, which are used in many other poker formats. Each player must place an ante on the table before the hand begins. The dealer will deal each player three cards once the antes have been placed. Two of them will be face down (known as hole cards) and the third card will be face-up.

The betting begins with the bring-in or the forced bet. This is determined a little differently in Razz than in 7 Card Stud. The person with the highest third card, the one that is face-up, will be the forced bet. This means that they are forced to bet the pre-determined amount. Normally, this amount is half the small side of the stakes. In other words, at a $5/$10 stakes limit, the forced bet would be $2.50.

After the first round bets conclude, the next card is dealt face-up. This is also referred to as Fourth Street. There is a Fifth Street and a Sixth Street. Both of these streets are also dealt face-up. There is a betting round between fourth and fifth and also between fifth and sixth. There is also a betting round after Sixth Street.

Seventh Street is the final card and, just like in 7 Card Stud, this card is dealt as a hole card. Since you can see four out of your opponent's seven cards, it is advantageous to be able to analyze the table and determine which cards are live and dead. Basically, you need to remember which cards have been exposed and folded.

In each betting round after the first, the betting begins with the player who has lowest hand exposed instead of the highest. In 7 Card Stud, you also have a betting option that is not offered in Razz Poker. In 7 Card Stud, if you pair your card showing (door card), you have the option to make a double bet. This is not necessary in Razz due to the objective of the game. Pairs are bad so it wouldn't make any sense to have a double bet option.


Razz Poker is fairly simple in terms of strategy and can be profitable by exercising just a little bit of patience. The object of the game is to have the lowest hand possible. Straights and flushes do not count against the low aspect of the hand. In other words, A-2-3-4-5 (the wheel hand) is the best possible hand in Razz Poker. The hand represents a 5-high hand and the straight does not count against the low value.

Determining starting hands is a lot easier in Razz Poker than in games such as Texas Holdem. You always want to be wary of your position and play accordingly. However, position is not as important in Limit Razz as it is in Holdem. For starting hands, you shouldn't even bother with hands higher than a eight low hand.

If you have a 5 high or lower starting hand, this is your prime range. A,2,3 is the best starting hand. Keep in mind, these starting hands are based on having no pairs. 5 high or lower starting hands with no pairs is the prime range.

Hands to be cautious with include 6,7 and possibly 8 high starting hands. The same rule applies - no pairs in these hands. When you get into the 6,7 and 8 high hands, you need to play close attention to your opponent's exposed cards.

Even a 9 high hand can be bet if you're late to act and none of your opponents are showing a card lower than 9. You can do this because you know that you have the best hand. If you get called and 4th and 5th street brings low cards, be careful.

Razz Poker is a fun game that takes a little patience and some adjustment if you're used to 7 Card Stud or Texas Holdem. The concept of the low hand winning is what takes the most adjustment if you're unfamiliar with Razz or the Hi/Lo format games. Remember position is important in all poker games. Although it's not extremely crucial in Razz Poker, you're always at an advantage when you have position in poker. Practice good bankroll management and make sure you're playing at the level that fits you the best.