How to Play Razz Poker – Rules of Razz

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Razz Poker has become a popular game that is offered in many casinos around the world. Online casinos offer Razz Poker by itself as well as in the rotational game, HORSE Poker. For all you 7 Card Stud players, you should find the concepts in Razz to be really simple.

Razz resembles 7 Card Stud in a lot of ways. Razz Poker works to the advantage of players with a good eye and memory for the exposed cards. Remembering which cards are dead and knowing your possible outs or live cards is crucial to being successful in Razz Poker.


Razz Poker is a game that uses antes instead of blinds. Each player pays antes prior to the hand being dealt. The deal in Razz Poker is laid out exactly the same as in 7 Card Stud. Each player receives three cards. Two of which are face down and one of them is face-up. Face down cards are often referred to as hole cards.

The action begins with the bring-in. Action is another term for betting. The bring-in is the player who has the lowest face-up card. The bring-in is required to bet and this is referred to as a forced bet.

Upon conclusion of the first round of action, 4th street is dealt. In Razz, just like in most stud games, there are seven streets. This refers to the seven cards that each player receives if they stay in the hand. The first three streets are dealt initially off the rip.

After each street, there is another round of action with a final round after 7th street. 4th, 5th and 6th street are all exposed cards, meaning that they are face-up. 7th street is the final card and this card is the third hole card. To review, the seven cards are dealt with two face down, one face-up, three face-up (one at a time) and a final card face down.

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The strategy of Razz Poker is about as straightforward as poker gets. The object is to have the lowest hand. In this regard, Razz is very similar to the Lo aspect of 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo. If you have a straight or flush, it doesn’t count against you. However, pairs are bad.

The best hand possible is A-2-3-4-5. This hand is also referred to as the wheel hand.

In Razz Poker, your prime starting hands are three cards no higher than five. Since pairs are bad, this means three cards no higher than five without having a pair. Moving on up from there, hands that have a 6 or 7 high and even possibly 8 are fairly decent hands. However, they should be played with caution and should most certainly be only considered in accordance with position. For example, you may want to fold an 8 high hand in early position with a lot of loose players behind you. This is where knowing how to play position comes in handy.

Position is important in virtually every poker game there is. Position can take a while to master but the basic concept is quite simple. The later you are in the action, the better your position is. If you’re last to act on the table, your position is the best. Position in accordance with starting hands often refers to position in stages – early, middle and late. Late is the best and early is the worst.

For example, a nine card high or even a ten high with extreme caution may be played in late position if a lot of players fold and you’re last to act. You actually may be able to use a little bluffing to take down the pot in these scenarios. If you’re playing an 8, 9 or 10 high starting hand, be aware of the exposed cards of the other players in the hand.

Playing a ten high hand may not be that bad if you’re late to act and all of the other players in the hand are showing a card higher than ten. If this is the case, you know you have the best hand currently. Being observant of your opponents and the cards exposed throughout the streets is vital to Razz Poker strategy.

Do you remember which cards were exposed in folded hands? This can help you determine whether or not you’re drawing dead. If you’re looking for a card that has already been folded away and was exposed, you may have fewer outs than you think. The bad part is, you had the opportunity to see the card and you still made the bad play. Be observant and try to keep good mental notes.

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Razz Poker is a fun format of poker. There are no monster Royal Flushes or quads smashing a boat. It’s simply straight up – the lowest hand wins. Regardless of the simplicity of the rules, the basic poker strategies of playing position, exercising good hand selection, calculating odds and observing your opponents’ tendencies still very much apply.