How to Play Razz Poker

Razz is the polar opposite of 7 card stud, so if you’re familiar with that game razz will be easy to pick up.

However, if you’re only familiar with holdem or omaha, or you’ve never played poker at all, razz might be confusing for the first couple of hands. But I’ve create walkthrough of the game below, as well as a brief explanation of winning hands and the betting in razz. I hope it shortens the learning curve for you.

Razz Poker Rules

Here is a walk through of razz poker.

First Things First — Antes

Razz doesn’t use blinds like holdem or omaha, but uses antes instead. All players need to ante up before the cards are dealt. The price of the antes are (usually) 10% of the small bet.

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3rd Street – The First Round in Razz Poker

Once the antes have been collected each player will be dealt 3 cards, one at a time, clockwise around the table. The first two cards are dealt faced down, and the 3rd card (known as the door card) is dealt face up.

The betting round begins with the player who has the highest showing door card. This player is the “bring in.” The bring in will need to place a (forced) bet that is (usually) the size of the ante. The bring in can also choose to “complete” instead, which is to the small bet.

Moving around the table (clockwise) each player will have the option to fold, call or bet.

Third street ends when one of two things happen:

  • All but one player folds. They will win the pot and then a new hand will begin.
  • Two or more players are left after the betting round. Then they go to 4th street.

4th Street

At the beginning of 4th street each remaining player is dealt another card face up.

The betting action begins with the player who has the lowest showing (best) hand. Each player will have the option to check, call, bet or fold depending on the action in front. Action continues clockwise around the table until everyone has had the opportunity to act.

5th Street

5th street is the same as 4th street. The one exception is that instead of using the small bet, the big bet is used instead.

6th Street

  • Same as 5th street.

7th Street

7th street in razz is the same as 6th street, except that the last card dealt is dealt face down. The betting round is the same.

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Razz Poker Showdown

After the betting round players will need to flip over their hands to determine the winner. The lowest hand wins, and there is no “qualifying” hand – whatever hand is the lowest takes the pot.

In the case of a tie, the pot is split. Suits are not used to break ties.

After a winner (or winners) has been determined and the pot awarded, the cards are shuffled, antes reposted and then a new hand of razz dealt.

What Hands Win in Razz Poker

The winning hand in razz is the hand that is the lowest. Trying to figure out what the lowest hand is can confuse players, so here are the top 10 best razz hands that you can use as a guide.

  1. 5 4 3 2 A
  2. 6 4 3 2 A
  3. 6 5 3 2 A
  4. 6 5 4 2 A
  5. 6 5 4 3 A
  6. 6 5 4 3 2
  7. 7 4 3 2 A
  8. 7 5 3 2 A
  9. 7 5 4 2 A
  10. 7 5 4 3 A

How the Betting Works in Razz

The betting in razz can be confusing, too, mostly because it changes halfway through the game and the primary betting type is fixed (most players are used to pot or no limit betting). Here is an overview of how the betting works in razz poker. I’ll use $5 / $10 for the small bet / big bet for my examples.

  • Antes are made by each player. They are 10% of the small bet, or $.50.
  • Bring ins are equal to the ante, or $.50. The bring in can also complete to the small bet, or $5.
  • The first two betting rounds use the small bet ($5) for all bets and raises.
  • The last 3 rounds use the big bet. This would be $10.
  • Raises are in increments of the current bet, and are fixed. For example, on 4th street all bets or raises would need to be in increments of $5. So one bet to $5, a raise to $10, another raise to $15, again to $20 and so on.
  • Most razz (stud) games have a betting cap. This is usually a bet and 3 raises per betting round. After this, the only thing a player can do is call or fold (until the next street / betting round).