Play Razz Poker: Rules Game Mechanics
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Razz-a-taz your opponents
Razz Poker can be quite challenging to learn, which is probably why it doesn’t have the same level of fame more popular games like Omaha and Texas Holdem enjoy. Fortunately, if you’ve ever played Seven Card Stud before, then you shouldn’t have as hard a time learning Razz because the two games use pretty much the same mechanics. The only major difference is that unlike in Seven Card Stud, the primary objective in Razz is to go as low as possible when it comes to building your hand.
Razz Poker uses a single deck of 52 cards, with aces being the lowest possible cards you can get. Suits are not given any special meaning, except when breaking bring-in ties (which we’ll talk about in greater detail later). The game can be played by a maximum of eight players, with fixed limit betting being the usual structure used instead of pot limit or no limit.
Each player is dealt a total of seven cards, five of which they must use to build their hand.
This is where things start to get interesting. You see, Razz doesn’t use the traditional rankings more popular games like Holdem do. In fact, there aren’t even straights and flushes in this game. Pairs do exist, however, but they rarely translate to actual winning hands.
Instead, the main hand type you should be focusing on in this game is high cards. Of course, since the goal in Razz is to get the weakest hand possible, the lower the highest card in your hand is, the better your chances of winning. So if, for example, you have a 6 5 3 2 A and your opponent has an 8 7 5 4 3, you win.
Needless to say, the best possible hand in Razz is 5 4 3 2 A, while the worst you can get is K Q J 10 9.
Now, if you need help with figuring out which starting hands to play and which ones to fold, then head on over here for some basic strategy.
Before a hand can begin, all participating players are required to first pay an ante typically worth 10% to 20% of the small bet. This goes directly into the pot.
Once all pre-deal wagers have been placed, the dealer hands each player two face-down and one face-up card. No one else but the players themselves may look at their respective face-down cards.
After the dealing is done, the player with the highest face-up card is required to pay a bring-in bet worth anywhere between half and the full amount of the small bet to get the action going. If more than one player has the same highest face-up card, suits are used to break the tie.
Right after the bring-in is posted, the first round of betting begins, with the player to the left of the player who posted the bring-in making the first move. They can do any of the following:
- Call – bet an amount equal to the current bet value
- Raise – bet an amount that’s higher than the current bet value
- Fold – take themselves out of play to cut their losses
The action then rotates around the table in a clockwise direction until all players have made their move.
At this point, all active players are dealt a fourth face-up card and then another betting round called the fourth street begins. It works pretty much the same way as the first round of betting, but this time around, the players are allowed to check (i.e., pass action to the next player in line without placing a bet), provided no other player has placed a bet or raised yet.
If only one active player is left after the fourth street is done, that player wins the pot automatically. Otherwise, the game proceeds to the fifth street, sixth street and seventh street – which all work the exact same way as the fourth street – with the game ending prematurely if at the end of any of these betting rounds, only one active player is left.
If the seventh street finishes and there are at least two active players left, then all the remaining players must reveal their hands, starting with the last player to make a move and rotating around the table in a clockwise direction. Again, whoever has the hand with the lowest value wins the pot.
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