Razz Poker is a game almost identical to 7 card stud, the main difference between the two being that in Razz you don’t win with the highest ranking poker hand, but rather with the lowest.
It’s not as well known or popular as other poker games, like Texas Hold’em or Omaha, but its popularity is growing in the last years. Since the World Series of Poker Razz event was televized in 2004, it has become much more popular, now being featured in most online poker rooms and online casinos.
The basic rules of Razz Poker are almost identical to the ones of 7 card stud. There is a slight difference in card values, though – in Razz the King is the card with the highest value, and Aces have the lowest, ‘best’ value in the deck.
As with the 7 card stud, the dealer in Razz is chosen by dealing one card to each player – the one with the highest card is designated the dealer. This is not necessary when playing online, as in this case the computer does the dealing. Small and big bet amounts are determined at the beginning of the game.
All players place their ante bet, followed by the dealing of the first cards – two cards facing down, the ‘hole cards’, and one facing up, the ‘door card’. The first round of betting begins – the player with the highest door card has to place the ‘bring-in bet’, amounting as much as the small bet. After each player has acted, the game continues.
Another card is dealt facing up to each player, the ‘fourth street’, followed by another betting round. Again, the person to start betting is determined by the value of the visible cards, but from this point on the lowest ranking visible hand will start to bet.
After the ‘fifth street’, the fifth card facing up dealt to all the remaining active players, hits the table, betting starts again, but from this point on the big bet amount is used – all bets and raises must be equal with this. Another card facing up – the sixth street – follows, and another betting round.
The ‘seventh street’, the final card players receive, is dealt facing down to each player. Sometimes, if the maximum number of players are still in the game at this point, the dealer can run out of cards. In this situation the ‘seventh street’ is dealt as a community card, facing up, all players being able to use it as their final card.
All the remaining players will bet again, then it comes to showdown. Most of the times, though, all but one players fold before reaching the showdown.
All remaining players have to use the seven cards to form the lowest possible poker hand. The best hand that can be formed in Razz is A-2-3-4-5. The player with the lowest hand wins the pot, and the game concludes.
Hope it doesn’t sound too complicated. Good luck!