Razz is a form of stud poker. The goal of Razz is to make the lowest possible five-card hand from the seven cards you are dealt. RAZZ is a very similar game to Seven Card Stud. The difference? In Razz, you are looking to make the WORST possible hand, not the best. What is the best possible hand in RAZZ? A,2,3,4,5, known as the wheel. There are five rounds of betting in RAZZ, one more than in Hold'em or Omaha. But the betting however, is very similar to that of Hold'em and Omaha. As always, you are looking to make your best poker hand.
For this section, we will assume that we are playing a $10/$20 game. This will help illustrate our points more clearly.
Let's delve into the game.
In RAZZ, there are no blinds. This game uses an ante system. An ante is basically an amount (usually between 1/10th and 1/4th the amount of a full bet) that every player is required to place into the pot before the cards are dealt. Just how big the ante is varies from game to game and is determined beforehand by the casino or the players involved. The size of the antes will help determine your strategy in RAZZ. If the antes are large, you need to play more hands. If they are small, patience is a virtue.
Once the antes have been collected, every player is dealt three cards. Two of them are face down, and one is face up. Wait until it is your turn to look at your cards. Instead, look at the faces of your opponents while they look at their cards. They might give you an idea of what they have as their hole cards. Remember in Poker, you are playing the player as much as you are playing the cards! The first person to act is the one with the LOWEST up card. This person must make what is called a bring-in bet. The size of the bring-in bet is usually about 1/3rd of the lower standard bet. If there is a tie in up cards for the lowest, it is broken by using suits. Clubs are lowest, followed by Diamonds, Hearts, and Spades. This is the only time that suits are used. Now the player sitting to the left of the bring-in has three options: fold, call or raise. Fold is easy to understand, but raise is a bit tricky. If the player decides to raise, he must "complete the bet". That means he makes the bet one full size bet. This is only a matter during the first round. A call simply matches the bring-in bet. The action moves clockwise around the table much like in Hold'em.
In RAZZ there are no community cards, so after the betting is finished, a second face up card is dealt to every player who has not folded yet. Now the game changes a bit. Instead of the worst hand betting first, the BEST UP hand gets to act first. This will also be the case for every round of betting. Another change is that player holding best face up hand is NOT forced to bet and can CHECK instead. As you can see, the person who acts first can change as the cards are dealt. This is important because who acts first and last can severely affect how the hand is played. Be aware of this and know it can change, but also take note when it seems the order is set. After the high poker hand acts first, the action again moves in a clockwise motion, it does not go in hand order. Note, that the small bring-in bet is eliminated. The smallest bet allowed is the small bet decided on by the games limits. In our case, that is $10 ($10/$20 game). If a player has made a pair with his up cards, he or she is allowed to increase their starting bet to the upper limit, in our case $20.
Another face up card is dealt and the betting continues the same way as in Round 2. The only difference is now a player can bet the higher limit without a pair showing, again $20 in this example.
Exactly the same as Round 3, with another card being dealt face up. Remember what a player folded if he did fold. If you see someone fold a 9, and you need 9, well that might change your odds or your decision to go for it.
The final card is dealt, facedown. Some people call it "down and dirty". Again, the person with the best hand showing after Round 4 (it will remain the same since the card is dealt face down) will start the betting. Anyone still left after the betting reveals their cards and the best poker hand wins. A player may use 5 of his any 7 cards to make the best hand possible.