How to play Razz Poker

Razz Poker is perhaps one of the more “odd” varieties of the game in that the winning player must build the lowest hand instead of the highest, as is customary.  Another name for it is “seven card stud low”.  Just like in all other games, the Aces can count as low cards, therefore the best possible hand is going to be Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc…  As one might expect, Razz emerged shortly after that of seven card stud and the use of the 52 card deck.  No one is exactly sure about its origins, but it seems to have been developed during the WW2 period.

What you’ll need to play:

  • 52 card deck
  • chips

Before you actually start dealing, all players will need to put up an ante.  Normally, this amount is quite low and is seen as part of the price for entering the game.

We start off with 3rd street, in which each player is dealt 3 cards; 2 of them face-down, 1 face-up.  Whoever has the highest valued face-up card is designated to kick off play with a “bring-in”.  Typically, this amount is equal to or greater than the pre-agreed upon limits. Once that’s done, betting continues around the course of the table until every player has laid their stakes down.

Next we have 4th street, which is going to be another round of face-up cards (one for each player).  This time, the player with the lowest hand will be the first to make a move – they can either bet or check.  Afterwards, the betting continues around the table.

Then we have 5th street, which entails yet another series of dealt cards (one for each player, face-up) and the player with the lowest valued hand will make the first move here.   This is followed by another round of betting.  Note* – a player with an “8-high” hand can either bet or check.

6th street follows the same basic layout – another face-up poker card is dealt to each player, and this is followed directly by more betting from all players (the first to act is the player with the “best” or lowest hand).

Finally, we have 7th street, also known as “the river”.  Each player receives a final card which is placed face-down.  As with all the other steps, another round of betting commences and several players should have dropped out by this point.  Also, the first player to move should be the one with the lowest hand.

Assuming there are still at least 2 players, we will reach the showdown phase.  Whoever made the last bet is to reveal their cards first (or the person with the earliest seat).  The player with the lowest 5 card hand is crowned winner.

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