Razz Poker

Razz (Poker)Razz is a poker game enjoyed by millions of players online. If you’re looking for quality razz poker sites, feel free to browse through our list below.

Razz is actually a 7-card stud variant rewarding the lowest ace-to-five hand. Although it’s not the most popular form of poker, Razz can be found on many well-known poker websites. Razz poker sites organize tournaments where players can compete or even qualify for Razz live events. This poker game is even featured on the World Series of Poker.

How to Play Razz Poker / Game Rules

A game of Razz is played by 2 to 8 players featuring a standard 52-card deck. Razz uses a so called “California system” for ranking hands. This means that the hand with the lowest value wins. The strongest possible hand is called “the wheel” – 5, 4, 3, 2, A. Ace always counts as a low card and straights and flushes are not included in the ranks. Each player can be dealt a total of 7 cards, although only the lowest 5 of these 7 cards (called the “hole cards”) are used to determine the best combination.

Before the cards are dealt, each player must put in an ante, a predetermined bet which starts the action. After that, the dealer gives 3 cards to each player in the clockwise direction – two cards facing down and one card facing up. This is called the “third street”. The player with the highest card facing up is first in turn to play. If two or more players have the same-value card as the highest, the card rank is determined by the suit of that card. Spades are the highest, followed by hearts, diamonds, and then clubs.

The first player in action can then choose to check and pass the action to the next player in the clockwise direction, or bet. Once the player bets, the rest can choose to fold, call and match the previous bet, or raise. Bets are usually limited and the limit values depend on the online operator’s rules.

After the initial betting round has been completed, the “fourth street” is dealt where the dealer gives each player an additional card facing up. This time the first player to act is the one which has the lowest (strongest) hand exposed. After another betting round is over, the “fifth street” is dealt. After another card facing up is given to each of the remaining players, the player with the lowest exposed hand exposed starts yet another betting round. The same rules follow the “sixth street”.

After that round of betting is completed, the seventh and final card is dealt to all remaining players, called “the river”. This card is dealt facing down, just like the first two. Again, the player with the lowest ranked hand starts the final betting round. If more than one player remains after the river, the time has come for the showdown. All remaining players then must show their cards starting from the last bettor, and the lowest 5-out-of-7 hand wins the pot. If two or more players have a winning hand of the same rank, the pot is then equally split among them.

If there are 8 players at the table and they all reach the river, the dealer will run out of cards to deal as you would need 56 cards in a deck to complete this section. In that case, the seventh card will be placed face-up in the middle of the table, representing a community card which all players can use in combination with their hands.

Hand Ranks

Before you go to a Razz poker site, it’s essential that you fully understand how the hand rankings work in this game, as they can be a little confusing for a beginner player. The hand ranks in Razz poker are counted from the top-card-down rather than from the low-card-up. So, for example, if a player has a five-card combination of 8, 6, 5, 4, A, they will have a better hand than a player who has 9, 4, 3, 2, A. In this case, an 8-high hand will beat a 9-high hand, which will beat a 10-high hand and so forth all the way to the King-high. If two or more players have the same highest card, the next highest card in line will determine the best hand (7-5 low beats the 7-6 low; 9-5 low beats the 9-8 low, etc).

Naturally, the two best possible hands in Razz poker are the “wheel” (5, 4, 3, 2, A) and the “6-4 low” (6, 4, 3, 2, A). However, this only counts if you don’t have a pair in your combination. So, if your hand is 5, 5, 3, 2, A, you will still lose from a hand like Q, J, 10, 9, 8. Having three of a kind goes against your hand even more than a pair. Having three of a kind plus a pair (for example 9, 9, 5, 5, 5) is the worst possible hand combination you can get in this game. Remember, there are no straights or flushes in Razz poker.

Razz Poker Tips and Strategy

There are many things to consider when playing Razz poker on top poker websites. The best starting hand you can hope for is 3, 2, A. If you get this hand, you should probably bet from the start. The next important thing is to avoid pairing. This can be calculated by looking at other players’ cards that are facing up. So, for example, if you hold 4, 5, and 6 and you see a bunch of 4s, 5s, and 6s among other revealed cards, chances of you pairing up are much lower and you should perhaps consider raising.

Bets and raises are usually done by the players whose exposed cards are lower than of the other players. This is the correct play, although it does not necessarily mean that you will have a winning combination at the showdown. Always consider which of your cards are exposed and which are not, so that you can conduct strong bluffs even though your hole cards might not be as strong.

Razz Poker History

There is no strong evidence of how Razz Poker came into being, but one thing is certain – it started shortly after the introduction of Seven Card Stud to the world of gambling. The name says it all – Razz poker is a poker variation that uses a 52-card deck, unlike 20-card decks that were used in the 1800s. This implies that Razz games started around the turn of the 20th century.

Razz poker was first brought to the World Series of Poker in 1971 and is the part of the event ever since [1]. The first winner was Fiore “Jimmy” Casella who won the title yet again in 1974. Other legends of the game include Archie “The Greek” Karas and Stu Ungar who is considered one of the best and most controversial poker players of all time [2].

Although Razz poker is still less popular than Texas Hold’em and Omaha, the game has gone through a surge of popularity in the last few decades. The events are now often broadcast, leading Pokerstars to add Razz to their online rooms in 2006. Today, there are many Razz poker sites where you can test your skills on.

Razz Poker FAQ

Where can I play Razz poker?
What is the difference between 7-Card Stud and Razz?
Are there Razz poker tournaments I can participate in?

Where can I play Razz poker?

Razz poker is not among the most popular variants of the game, but it can be found on a lot of poker websites nonetheless. If you wish to find the best sites to play Razz on, refer to our list at the top of the page.

What is the difference between 7-Card Stud and Razz?

The main difference is in the hand rankings. Razz poker uses the California system Ace-to-five low card rankings with no flushes or straights, while 7-Card Stud uses the traditional high poker rankings just like in Texas Hold’em.

Are there Razz poker tournaments I can participate in?

Razz is part of the World Series of Poker since 1971 which is the biggest live event for this game variant. There are also many poker websites that organize online tournaments for their members.

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