Razz is one of the easiest poker games to learn, being no more than Stud Hi/Lo without the “Hi”! The play format and set-up of the game is no different to Stud, but in Razz, the aim of the game is to make the lowest possible five card hand from the seven you are dealt, once flushes and straights are ignored. With Ace being low in Razz, the “best” hand you can have is A2345.
The Rules of Razz Poker
Razz is played “Flop Limit”, and Ace is always considered low.
The Start of the Game
Razz is played with a single deck of cards, and the first dealer is established by dealing one card to each player – the lowest card determining who the first dealer will be. Unlike Hold´em or Omaha, there is no benefit to being sat immediately in front of the dealer as the order of betting in later rounds is decided by who has the lowest (non-paired) cards in front of them, but like these games, the betting action and rotation of the deal button moves in a clockwise direction around the table.
At the very beginning of each game players pay an ante into the pot and three cards are dealt to each player – two hidden and one face up. The player with the highest open card has the choice of making a forced bet (“bring-in”) or betting in the event that his two hidden cards are relatively good. Commencing with the player to the left of the “bring-in”, each player takes it in turn to “call” the minimum bet, “raise” the amount of the bet or fold their cards. Those folding their cards play no further part in the hand. Betting is capped after one bet and three subsequent raises (in all rounds).
In the event of there being a tie for either lowest card to determine the deal, or highest card to decide who makes the “Bring-in”, cards are ranked in suit superiority – in the order spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs. So, if the Jack of Clubs and Jack of Spades are both open after the initial deal, it is the Jack of Spades that is ranked higher and who will have to pay the forced bet.
Each player still in the game after the first round of betting now receives a fourth card, which is dealt open. Starting with the player who has the stronger (lowest) open two cards, the betting once again revolves around the table, with each active player having the opportunity to check, bet, call or raise.
For the initial betting round, and the round following Fourth Street, bets are made in the amount of the lower figure advertised on the table. Therefore, if a table is shown as $1/$2, raises and calls are made in increments of $1.
As in the Fourth Street, each player still in the game now receives a fifth card and a further betting round ensues. It is more likely at this stage of the game that players may be dealt “doubles” – cards of equal rank to what they already have in their hands. These double cards are dead cards as they have no value to your hand. For example 2-4-6-8-T is a better hand (at this stage) that A-3-3-5-T. Effectively the second selection of cards has yet to make a hand which qualifies for Razz.
Betting from Fifth Street onwards takes place at the higher figure being played for at the table, so in the event of being on a $1/$2 table, bets and calls are in increments of $2.
The sixth card is the last to be dealt face up, and players are once more involved in a round of betting prior to the final card (“river”) being dealt. Again, the person who is showing the lowest open cards starts the betting. In the event of a pair showing in the open cards, the hand is bypassed in terms of qualifying for opening the betting, so therefore a hand showing open cards of 6789 would commence the betting rather than 3455.
The River is the seventh and final card, and is dealt face down and known (like the first two cards to be dealt) only to the player. The first player to bet is the same as who started the betting after Sixth Street as it is based on who is showing the lowest exposed hand, and continues, as before in a clockwise direction around the table amongst the players who still remain involved in the hand. Each player has the option of checking, raising, calling or folding until such time as all bets have been placed, or the betting reaches a maximum of one bet and three re-raises whereafter it is capped.
The last person to raise is the first to show their cards, and players to the left follow thereafter. The winner is the person who has the lowest non-duplicated values in their hand where straights and flushes are ignored. For example:-
4s-5h-7c-9d-Td-(Js-Qh) beats 3s-(3d)-5s-6h-(6s)-8h-Kd where the figures in brackets indicate the cards which are not included.
Other winning combinations:
Ah-2h-3h-4h-5h-x-x beats Ac-2s-3d-5s-7d-x-x
2d-3c-6h-8s-Jh-x-x beats As-2s-3d-4s-Qd-x-x
4h-5c-6s-7s-8s-x-x beats 3h-5h-6d-7c-9c-x-x
If two or more hands have the same value, the pot is equally split among them. There is no precedence of suit for the purposes of awarding the pot.