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How to play Razz

Razz is basically a reversed game of Seven Card Stud, and is one of the fastest growing online poker games. All players are dealt three cards in the beginning of a hand, of which two are turned face down only for the player to see, and one is turned face up, visible to all players. Then the first betting round occurs. After this, three more open cards are given to all players, with a betting round between each card. And finally, a last card turned face down is given to all players, and there is a last betting round.

But wait a minute. Isn’t this exactly like Seven Card Stud? Yes it is, but I haven’t come to the twist yet. In Razz the worst hand, or lowest if you wish, wins the pot. Straights or flushes doesn’t count, and aces are considered to be “low”, so the best possible five-card holding is therefore a straight from ace to five – also known as a “wheel.”

Remember that there is no 8 or better requirement like in Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo or Omaha Hi/Lo. Instead, the player with the lowest hand always wins, even if it would be quads. And actually that makes sense, because otherwise there would be situations where no player would win the pot.

Before the hand starts all players post an ante. In Seven Card Stud, the player with the lowest up-card are forced to bet, called a “bring in”. In Razz, because you aim for a low hand, the player with the highest card makes the “bring in”. If two ore more players show cards of the same rank they are broken by suit. So if one player shows the king of hearts and another player shows the king of diamonds, the player with the king of hearts has to make the “bring in” because hearts is the “highest” card. However, this is the only time where suit is taken into consideration. If two players show the same hand in a show down, the pot is split equally between them.

Razz tables can seat 8 players. If all players at a full table would stay in the hand to the bitter end, there aren’t enough cards in the deck (7 x 8 = 56). In such case, a single community card is placed in the middle of the table. But you will realize that this almost never happens. At least one player will get high cards and be forced to lay the hand down.

If you have played Seven Card Stud, you will get the grip of Razz pretty quickly. It is, as I said, basically the same game played backwards. Look through some poker reviews and look up which sites are offering Razz. Just log on, and go for the low!

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