The Razz poker variation (sometimes known as “seven-card Razz”) is a stud variant that gained popularity alongside other “lowball” games several decades ago.
During the 1990s and early 2000s, its popularity declined a little, but the rise of mixed games and H.O.R.S.E. (of which Razz is the “R” variety) helped reintroduce the game to a new generation.
Razz is a board game that can be played with two to eight players. It doesn’t have a flop (like hold’em or Omaha) or any community cards, just like a seven-card stud. Unlike seven-card stud, the goal of Razz is to produce the best five-card poker hand possible with the seven cards available.
Game Play in Razz Poker
The rules of Razz are quite similar to those of seven-card stud poker. The first two cards are handed face down to each player, followed by a third card that is dealt face up.
This first deal and the betting round that follows it are known as “third street” in stud, with each following deal/betting round being referred to similarly (“fourth street,” etc. through “seventh street”).
The two cards on the bottom are known as “hole cards,” while the third card on top is known as the “door card.”
In Razz, as in seven-card stud, a player will determine whether or not to continue in the hand based on the first three cards, with starting hand selection being a vital element of the game’s strategy once again.
Ante, Bring-in, and Betting in The Game
Ante and bring-in bets are used in Razz to generate play, just as they are in seven-card stud. We’ll use a $10/$20 Razz game with a $1 ante and a $5 bring-in as an example. (Razz, like most stud games, is usually played with a fixed-limit betting structure.)
Each player who wishes to be given a hand must first post the $1 ante, resulting in a pot worth vying for. The first three cards are handed to each player before it is decided which player will be responsible for the bring-in.
In a seven-card stud, the player with the lowest-ranking door card must pay the $5 bring-in, but in Razz, the person with the highest-ranking door card must pay the bring-in, with the Kx being the highest-ranking card in the game.
The player who posts the bring-in has the opportunity to “complete” the betting to $10, much like in seven-card stud (the small limit of the game).
Following that, each player has the option to call, raise, or fold clockwise around the table. After the betting is finished, each remaining player in the hand is handed a fourth card (known as “fourth street”).
The Strategy in Razz Poker
In Razz, the best beginning hand would be Ax2x3x. Experienced Razz players will frequently fold three-card opening hands including any card higher than an 8x in full-ring Razz games (i.e., with eight players).
It’s also worth remembering that in Razz, pairs count, making hands unnecessarily higher. That implies any starting hand with a pair is terrible, and partnering up in subsequent rounds hurts players’ chances of producing good Razz hands.
In conclusion,not everyone considers Razz poker to be the most interesting poker variant, it is a popular game among many and well worth mastering.
In many H.O.R.S.E. games, razz is one of the lesser-known versions, which means that a little research might make you far better at the game than your opponents, perhaps making the Razz round profitable for you.
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