Playing Razz Poker
Each player is dealt three cards. Two of those are dealt face-down so that only the player they are dealt to can see them. The other card is dealt face-up and fully visible for everyone else at the table to see. As is common in poker, your two face-down cards are known as hole cards. The fully visible card here is called a door card.
In Razz, the player that is showing the door card with the highest rank must post the first bet. This is known as the bring-in. They can, if they so choose, instead place a full-sized bet further into the hand.
Obviously, there is a strong possibility that players could show the same ranking suits. In such cases, the order of suits determines the door. Suits are ranked in the following order, from the highest to the lowest:
Because aces are low in this game, the king becomes the highest card in play. Thus, it is the worst door card to hold because it will force you to pay about 1/3 of or 1/2 of the regular bet size. From there, the rest of the players can either call the bet or raise it to a full-sized bet.
Fourth to Seventh Streets
When each player has made their move, they are dealt another card face-up on the table. This is referred to as Fourth Street.
Again, the player that acts first is the person with the worst up-card. That is, the strongest according to traditional hand rankings. This player may either check or bet. If they choose to bet, this is usually a minimal amount before another round of betting takes place.
As soon as this latest betting has been concluded, Fifth Street takes place. It works exactly the same as Fourth Street, but now the bet size doubles for the remainder of the hand. Play continues in the same way with Sixth Street and then Seventh Street being played to completion.
Revealing the Cards
If there are multiple players left in the game after Seventh Street, the most recent bettor reveals their cards first. Of course, it is possible that there was no bet in that most recent round. In that case, the player in the earliest seat reveals their hand first, followed, in clockwise order, by the rest of the players still in the hand. The player with the best five-card Razz hand wins.
Importantly, there is no qualifier in Razz, so the best low hand wins the entire pot. In the case of a tie, unlike with the starting bring-in bet, suits are not used to determine a winner. Instead, the pot is split equally.
The only Razz hands that typically win are no pair hands with low numerical cards in them. In Razz, the highest valued card in each final five-card hand is used to determine which hand wins.
This is a poker game in which straights and flushes have no ranking. So, the best possible hand is five, four, three, two, Ace. Even when suited, it will not lose to a hand holding as little as one pair. This is because suits are almost meaningless in Razz, save for their decisiveness in bring-in tie breakers.
Top Five Razz Poker Hand Rankings
Points to Note
Remember that you can see one card from the hand of each of the other players. If it's a card that you are already holding or one that is high, that is a good thing for you. The best hand one can hope for from the first three cards dealt is A-2-3. Of course, any cards that are lower than a 5 are potentially useful.
Most of the time, it can be worth raising if you are the door cardholder at the bring-in, even if your hole cards aren't great. This is because players with higher door cards will often fold, while others might show a tell.
Where to Play Razz Poker
While Razz might well be the most popular form of low ball poker, it still isn't as common at land-based poker rooms as some of its more famous poker cousins, such as Texas Hold'em or Omaha. The good news is that there are plenty of online poker rooms that run Razz games, so be sure to check our state pages and see which ones operate in your state.