How To Play Razz Poker

razz written in black on white brick wallThose of you that are fully up to speed with the rules of Seven Card Stud will have a slight advantage here as the poker variant of Razz is essentially the same game but played with low hands rather than the more common high hands.

What we mean by this is that aces are low in this game and the lowest hand will win the pot. Other than that, the fundamentals of both games are pretty much the same.

Of course, do not worry if you are unfamiliar with Seven Card Stud we are merely highlighting that the only differences in rules between the two variants is in how the hand strength is determined because in Seven Card Stud the highest 5 card hand wins.

The Rules Of Playing Razz Poker

know the rulesAt the start of the game, each player is dealt three cards, two face down that only they can see, plus another card face up that is fully visible for everyone else at the table to see. As is common in poker, your two face down cards are referred to as your hole or pocket cards while the fully visible card is known as a door card.

In Razz, the player that is showing the door card with the highest rank is the player that must post the first bet, known as the bring-in. They can, if they so choose, instead place a full sized bet further into the hand. Obviously, there is a strong possibility that players could show the same raking suits, in which case the door is determined by suits in the highest to lowest order of spade, heart, diamond and club.

Because aces are low in this game, the king becomes the highest card in play and thus it is the worst door card to hold because it will force you to pay about 1/3 of or ½ of the regular bet size. From there, the rest of the players can either call the bet or raise to a full sized bet.

When each player has made their move, each of them receives another card facing up, referred to as Fourth Street. Again, the player that acts first is the person with the worst up card, i.e. strongest, thus the lowest. This player may either check or bet. If they choose to bet, this is usually a minimal amount before another round of betting takes place.

As soon as this latest betting has been concluded, 5th street takes place working exactly the same as the last round only now the bet size doubles for the remainder of the hand. Play continues in the same way until the 7th and final street is dealt. The player that went first after 6th street will again go first after 7th street.

If there are multiple players left in the game after 7th street, the most recent bettor reveals their cards first. It is possible that there was no bet in the last round in which case the player in the earliest seat along reveals their hand first followed, in clockwise order, by the rest of the players still in the hand. The player with the best five card Ace through Five low hand wins the pot.

Importantly, there is no qualifier in Razz so the best low hand wins the entire pot. In the case of a tie, unlike with the starting bring-in bet, suits are not used to determine a winner and the pot is split equally.

Hand Values

ace two three four five off suit

The only Razz hands that typically win are no pair hands with low numerical cards in them. In razz, the highest valued card in each final 5 card hand is used to determine which hand wins.

This is a poker games in which straights and flushes have no ranking and the best possible hand is five, four, three, two, ace.

Even suited, it will not lose to a hand holding as little as one pair because suits almost meaningless in Razz, save for their decisiveness in bring-in tie breakers.

Top Five Razz Poker Hand Rankings (Strongest First)

Rank Hand
1 Ace, Two, Three, Four and Five
2 Ace, Two, Three, Four and Six
3 Ace, Two, Three Five and Six
4 Ace, Two, Four, Five and Six
5 Ace, Three, Four, Five and Six

Razz Strategy

Betting SystemsRemember that you are able to see one card from the hand of each other player and if its one you are already holding or one that is high, that is a good thing for you. The best hand we could hope for in our first three dealt is Ace, two and three although any that are lower than five, including the lower value ace, are useful.

It is also worth – most of the time, at least – raising if you are the door card holder at the bring-in, even if your hole cards are not great. This is because players with higher door cards will often fold, while others might show a tell.

Where Can I Play Razz Poker?

poker chips in shape of a question markWhile Razz might well be the most popular form of low ball poker, it still isn’t as commonly found online as some of its more established poker game cousins. When you do happen across an online poker room offering Razz, try to play some free to play Razz games to get the hang of things as well as a feel for the game.

Also, one of the most important factors for you to consider when you are deciding where you play Razz poker online is safety. It really cannot be understated how imperative this point is. Always play at a site that has been licenced by an official regulatory body and employs the latest in online encryption technology. After all, you will be needing to enter important and sensitive data, including potential financial information, into their systems if you want to play for real money.

Razz Poker FAQ

Can I Play Razz Poker For Real Money Online?

Yes, you can play Razz at some rooms for no cost

Is Razz Easy To Understand?

Razz takes a little getting used to but overall it is easy to understand, especially if you have experience of stud poker

Are Aces Higher Or Lower In Razz?

Aces are lower in this game

Why Are Aces So Low In Razz Poker?

Because it is a low ball version of poker where the poorest hand wins. In such games, Aces typically devalued, and games run ace through five low

Is Online Razz Poker Safe To Play?

Of course, just make sure you play at recommended site