‘Invention is the mother of necessity.’ Someone said that years ago, and it is true in almost every facet of life. Soccer got Futsal, cricket got T20 and poker can now talk about ‘Razz Poker.’
This style of poker is a form of stud poker and is played for an ace to five low, which is also referred to as lowball poker.
The basic aim of Razz is to make the lowest five-card hand from the seven cards.
Flushes don’t count against any player and the best hand possible is 5-4-3-2-A.
This set or hand of cards 5 high (although it is the lowest card combination possible).
The popularity of the game has been on the rise for quite some time now.
This format of the game featured in the World Series of Poker in since 1971.
The format has been played in every World Series of Poker event since then, apart from 1972.
Razz is also part of the mixed game rotation H.O.R.S.E., with the ‘R’ standing for Razz, of course.
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The game dynamics
The game style, as discussed is exceptionally similar to seven-card stud, the only difference being that the lowest hand wins.
The dealer shuffles an ordinary deck of cards and deals seven cards per player.
The five lowest cards from each player make the hand.
The game begins with each player wanting to join the game making an ‘Ante’ bet.
This is a nominal amount, just to ensure that you can be a part of the game.
Each player gets three cards.
Two cards are face down while one card per player is face up.
The player with the highest card value of the face-up cards must make the first best.
It could be possible that two players have cards of the same value.
The player who would be making the first bet would then be decided by the suit of the cards.
The spade is the highest suit; hearts, diamond, and clubs follow.
A player who gets the king of spades makes the first bet in Razz poker.
The fourth card is another exposed card; the player who must act is the one with the lowest (best) set of exposed cards.
This is a round of betting and a player can either check or bet, which would be another nominal amount.
The fifth and sixth cards also face up.
The player with the best set of exposed cards makes a move.
This is a round of betting and now all the bets increase in their amount.
The last card, the seventh card face down and is the final card for the player at the table.
The player who has the lowest cards has to act first and if any other players remain after this round of betting, it is time for the showdown!
In the last round, if there are two or more players, the showdown takes place.
The player who was the last person to be in the previous round exposes his best five cards (lowest cards).
The next set of players follow him. If no one bet in the previous round, then the exposure of the cards is dependent on the seating positions of the players.
Seat 1, seat 2 and so on, determined before the start of the game, to avoid any confusion later on.
The player with the lowest hand of five cards wins the pot and another game of Razz can start.
If two players have the same value of five cards in their hands.
In Razz poker during the pay-off; suit color is ignored.
8 players per razz poker are possible
Up to 8 players can play Razz Poker, but there is a little caveat.
Since you only have 52 cards in a deck, when all eight players make it into the last round, the dealer cannot produce 56 cards to fill it up.
Instead, he produces one final card that is the community card for all players.
The card is face up; at the center of the table.
Razz poker is gaining steam in popularity, and another variation of this game is London lowball.
European circuit usually plays this; the pot-limit version of the game.
The best three cards to start off a game of Razz would be the A-2-3 combination.
There are many strategy guides out there and that can help you get better in this version of the game.
The most significant bit about the popularity of the format of this game is that it is available in almost all online poker rooms.
You do not have to travel to a physical room to play the game; instead, you can take up the game from the comforts of your home.
Razz poker wasn’t the most popular game in the beginning; but slowly and steadily it has risen in the different varying versions from the original.
It is one of the most fun games to play and is a different take.
Usually, the aim is to get the highest set of cards; and bringing in flushers, this game, however, makes it a different ball game and can be a great way to check how well you can adjust to different kinds of game styles.