While the name might not be familiar to a lot of people, Razz Poker is more or less just Seven Card Stud with one major difference; the lowest hand wins the pot.
If you've played Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo or Omaha Hi/Lo before, you're probably already familiar with the concept of a 'low' hand.
Straights and flushes do not count, Aces are valued as a '1' for low, and the best possible low hand accordingly is an Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5.
What differs from Razz and the traditional low hands in split-pot games is that the pot is not split; there is no high hand element to the game.
Because there is no high hand, there is also no need to 'qualify' a low hand, any cards may be played, including those higher that 8, and even pairs if need be.
A game of Razz is dealt out just like regular 7 Card Stud:
- Initially, every player antes up at the start of the game before any cards are dealt (the ante is usually determined by the table with the normal ante rate being 10% of the betting limits, i.e. a $5/$10 game would have a 50 cent antes).
- Everyone is dealt three cards, two cards face down and one card face up. Common names for the first face-up card are the 'door card' or "Third Street".
- Betting takes place. Usually the person with the lowest 'door card' has to bet first (some rooms make the highest 'door card' player bet in a pot limit game); this is referred to as the 'bring-in bet'.
- Every player is dealt another face-up card (known as "Fourth Street").
- There is another round of betting.
- Every player is dealt another face-up card (known as "Fifth Street").
- More betting, with the betting amount raised.
- Every player is dealt another face-up card (known as "Sixth Street").
- There is another round of betting at the same level as the Fifth Street.
- The last card is dealt this time face down (called the "River" or "Seventh Street").
- Final bets are placed.
After the final round of betting is complete, everyone shows their cards, and the person with the lowest five card hand wins the pot. In the event of a tie, the pot is split amongst the players with the lowest tied hands.
The Betting Rounds
During each round of betting, players still in the hand have 4 actions they may take:
Betting continues until all but one of the players has folded or until no-one wants to increase the bet. With the betting round over the next sequence in the hand takes place.
- Fold - if a player does not lot the cards they have, and does not wish to continue paying to play in the hand, they can fold and sit out the remainder of the hand with no more cost to them.
- Check - if no-one has bet before them, a player may "check", meaning they will stay in the hand but do not wish to bet at this point.
- Call - if someone has bet before a player and they still wish to stay in the hand, they must match the bet(s) that were made before their turn.
- Raise - to increase the bet amount by not only matching, but then raising the number of chips other players must call to remain in the hand.