How To Play Razz Poker

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Written by: Matt E.

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Razz is a variation of seven-card stud, and is a lowball game where the lowest five-card hand wins. Unlike other forms of poker, the goal in Razz is to make the lowest possible hand.

Before you start playing Razz poker, it is important to understand the rules of the game. Razz poker is a lowball game, which means that the lowest five-card hand wins. The best possible hand is A-2-3-4-5, which is known as a wheel. Other low hands include A-2-3-4-6, A-2-3-5-6, and A-2-4-5-6.

Even though A-2-3-4-5 is a straight, that doesn't matter in Razz.

Razz is included in the popular mixed game H.O.R.S.E so it's good to understand this poker variation.

Is Razz 8 or better? There is no “8 or better rule.” Straights and flushes do not count as playable hands in Razz.

The Rules For How To Play Razz Poker

1. Every Player Pays The Ante

Before the cards are dealt, each player must place an ante. This is a small bet that all players must make before the game begins. The size of the ante will vary depending on the game and the stakes. Once the antes are placed, the game can begin.

If the game is a $1/$2 game, then the ante would usually be something like 0.15 cents.

2. Three Cards are Dealt To Each Player (Known as Third Street)

Once the antes have been placed, each player will receive three cards. Two cards are dealt face-down, and one card is dealt face-up. The first two cards are known as the hole cards, and the third card is known as the door card. Everyone can see the door card.

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3. Begin Betting

The player with the highest exposed card is called the “bring-in” and is forced to be the first to act. They have two options, either pay the “bring-in” amount (the size of the bring-in bet depends on the game and is agreed upon before starting), OR make a full bet. Action goes clockwise until the betting action is complete for that round.

4. Fourth Street (Card Exposed)

The remaining players will now be dealt another exposed card. Whoever has the lowest card is the first to act (this is the strongest card). This player has the option to check or bet. This betting option will be the lower amount of the game type. So $1 in a $1/$2 Razz game.

5. Fifth Street (Card Exposed)

Players get another face-up card, called Fifth Street. The one with the lowest cards acts first, e.g. if one player as a pair 5's or is showing a J, the player with 7 high (a stronger hand in Razz) acts 1st and may check or bet max. On Fifth Street and beyond, all bets are big, e.g. $2 in $1/$2 game.

6. Sixth Street (Card Exposed Face-up)

This is the exact same as fifth street. Remaining players receive another card face-up and exposed and there is another round of bettering. These are also big bets. $2 in a $1/$2 game.

7. Seventh Street (River Card)

The last card is dealt facedown so you are the only one who can see the card. So, you are left at the end with your first 2 cards faceup, your third card facedown, 3 more cards face up, and your last card facedown. There is another round of big bets. The player to act first is the one who is showing the lowest possible poker hand of the cards that are faceup.

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8. Showdown

You then reveal your cards and go to showdown. The lowest possible 5-card hand wins.

Tie-breakers are done by the highest ranking of suits. So if you both have the exact same hand, the higher suit will win. The highest suit is Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs.

Razz Hand Poker Rankings (Strongest to Weakest)

Razz follows the A-to-5 lowball hand rankings system.

In Razz, having pairs is unfavorable. Hands without pairs beat those with pairs. Paired hands are ranked based on the number of pairs, with one pair being stronger than two pairs or three of a kind, etc. When comparing no-pair hands, the highest card is considered first, unlike in high poker where the high hand wins. Straights and flushes are disregarded in Razz and aces are considered the lowest card.

Here is an example of strongest to weakest as the top 20 hands.

  1. 5-4-3-2-A (Wheel)
  2. 6-4-3-2-A
  3. 6-5-3-2-A
  4. 6-5-4-2-A
  5. 6-5-4-3-A
  6. 6-5-4-3-2
  7. 7-4-3-2-A
  8. 7-5-3-2-A
  9. 7-5-4-2-A
  10. 7-5-4-3-A
  11. 7-5-4-3-2
  12. 8-4-3-2-A
  13. 8-5-3-2-A
  14. 8-5-4-2-A
  15. 8-5-4-3-A
  16. 8-5-4-3-2
  17. 8-6-3-2-A
  18. 8-6-4-2-A
  19. 8-6-4-3-A
  20. 8-6-4-3-2


Razz poker is an exciting and fast-paced game that can be enjoyed by players of all skill levels. With a few simple rules, you can quickly learn how to play Razz poker and start having fun. Now that you know the basics of how to play Razz poker, you can start enjoying this exciting game today.

Written by

Matt E.

I've been immersed in the world of poker since 2003. Poker is hard. It has undoubtedly been a roller coaster of experiences for me over the years. My poker journey spans from playing at .01/.02 NL tables to engaging in intense sessions at $5/$10. Poker isn't just a game to me—it's a passion. Outmaneuvering opponents in this test of mental strength and strategy offers an unparalleled thrill. To deepen my understanding of the game and to assist others, I initiated this blog. It aims to elucidate the ever-evolving technologies, strategies, and legal landscapes of poker, especially in the online realm. We're now in the age of solvers, but both online and live poker continue to thrive. A quick visit to a local $1/3 game would be ample evidence of its vitality. Regardless of your proficiency level, from novice to expert, I hope my blog posts offer you valuable insights. Feel free to engage with me through messages or by commenting on my posts. Cheers!

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