Razz poker is known as the best poker game option for the unlucky poker player. That is because it takes a really crappy hand to win when you’re playing razz.
Learning to Play Razz Poker
Razz is a fun and exciting game that can be played on the majority of online poker sites, it’s also a great option for someone that’s just plain sick of hold’em poker and is looking to play something different for a change.Razz poker is actually a variation of Seven Card Stud, in reverse. When you’re playing Razz the lowest five card hand wins the pot instead of the highest. There’s an exception to this rule however, flushes and straights count as low hands and have no effect on the low value of a Razz hand.The game is played with a maximum of 8 players and every player will have to pay an ante before any cards are dealt. The size of the ante in razz poker is usually 20% of the minimum bet.There are five betting rounds in a hand of Razz. Players are dealt a total of seven cards, but each players best (or worst actually) 5 card hand plays. That means that you’re given 7 cards to choose from, but can only actually play with 5.
Betting Rounds in Razz Poker
Razz Poker – The First Round (1st Street) First, each player in the hand will be charged an ante, usually something right around 20% of the minimum bet. Then the dealer will deal each player two cards face down, and one face up for everyone to see.Much like blind bets in holdem there is some forced action in a Razz game, in addition to the ante bet made prior to the cards being dealt, the player with the highest door card, which is that card that was dealt face up so that everyone could see it, has the worst visible hand, and as a bonus, gets to be the first guy to bet into the pot! This player is forced to make a mandatory bet known as the ‘bring in’.The bring bet in is most commonly 1/2 of the minimum bet so in a $3/$6 razz game, the bring in bet would be $1.50. If two people at the table have matching ‘highest’ door cards then the player that is closest to the left of the dealer button makes the bring in bet.Razz is generally played as a limit style poker game, so there is a fixed amount that can be bet per player for each betting round. After one player bets however, another can raise, and then the initial better can reraise and so on.Just like in limit holdem, every bet made during this round is made at the low bet amount. So if this were a $3/$6 game, players would bet in $3 increments.1st Street Razz Poker StrategySince you have the advantage of seeing a peek-a-boo card for your opponents you’re going to want to remember to use that to your advantage. For instance, let’s say your board card (the one you were dealt face up) is a 6 and all the other players are showing cards higher than 8, than you should bet your hand, regardless of the value of your pocket cards.In fact, any time your opponents catch a big card and you catch a little card, you should bet because you are a strong favorite for the hand. If nothing else, you have the possibility that they will fold based on the information visible to everyone alone, even if you have Jack/King underneath.
Razz Poker -The Second Round (2nd Street)
Another card is dealt to each player, again face up for all players to see. This is the fourth card for the players. At this point, Ace-Two is the lowest possible hand, with that in mind, the player with the lowest valued hand must begin the betting. That player can opt to check or place a bet. This bet is also a small bet, so in that game of $3/$6, this is another $3 bet.
Razz Poker – The Third Round (3rd Street)
Yet another card is dealt to every player face up, now each player has a total of five cards, three of which are face up for all the other players to see. The player with the lowest hand value opens the betting, just like before, only now the bet will be made at the high limit, so in our $3/$6 game, the bet would now be $6. Any player wishing to make a raise would also raise $6.3rd Street Razz Poker StrategyGreat third street hands are A-2-3, A-2-4, A-2-5, A-3-5, A-3-4, and so on. If you have one of these hands on this street, good razz strategy would be to bet your ass off, get every cent in that you can. Bet initially, raise any bet, and reraise any raise.
Razz Poker – The Fourth Round (4th Street)
Again, the players each receive a card face up, giving each player a total of six cards a this point in the game. The betting continues as before, with the lowest visible hand opening and either checking or betting $6 (or however much the high bet is in the game you’re playing).4th Street Razz Poker StrategyUnless your upcards make it painfully obvious that you cannot have a winning hand here, if there’s been no action up until now, and no one seems overly interested in the pot, this is a good place to make a bet.
Razz Poker – The Fifth Round (5th Street)
Finally, if there are less than 8 players remaining in the hand each player receives their 7th card, this time, face down. Betting is again opened by the player with the lowest visible hand, which would be the same person that bet the last round first, because no new cards have been shown. The bet would again be the high bet amount from the round prior.If however 8 players still remain in the hand, then there will not be enough cards remaining in the deck for each player to get a 7th card. In this case, the dealer will place a community card in the center of the table for all of the players to share. Then the player again with the lowest visible hand opens betting, and the bet is the high bet.
Showdown in a Razz Poker Hand
Now it’s time to table your hand and take down the pot. The player that bet or raised last will be the first player to show his/her cards. The showdown will continue in a clockwise direction thereafter. Any player that wishes to show their hand for a chance at the pot simply turns over their cards. Anyone player that realizes they’re beat has the option of simply throwing his/her cards into the muck and giving up the pot.
Razz Poker, Also known as Lowball Poker
The best hand possible in razz poker is A-2-3-4-5 for this reason, the game is also known as Lowball Poker, so the best hands to play are any three cards as close to a five low as possible. The winning hand is the lowest possible hand. Pairs are bad, pairs make your hand stronger, when you’re looking for weak. Flushes and straights are again irrelevant. No such thing in Razz as a straight or a flush.Just like when you’re playing Hold’em, you want to get as much money in to the pot as possible when you are the favorite and have the odds to win.