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Introduction to Razz

Razz is most known for being the R in H.O.R.S.E, but it also has tables of it’s own. Razz is relatively new to online poker, which means that most players haven’t got past learning the basics of the game. Now is the best time to put in the time and effort towards mastering the game so you can capitalize off of the inexperienced players.

Rules and Game-play

Your goal in Razz is to get the lowest possible five card hand. Suits, pairs, and straights don’t count for anything. It’s like playing stud Hi/lo with only the low. For those unfamiliar with the stud format, here is how a hand plays out:

  • Before cards are dealt, players have to ante. The ante is usually 1/5th of the small bet.
  • Two cards are dealt face down with one face up and there’s a round of betting, starting with the player who has the highest face up card. The initial better may choose to either bring-in or raise the the size of the small bet.
  • One at a time, 3 more cards are dealt with a round of betting after each. The player with the lowest visible hand always starts the betting round. Beginning from 5th street, bet sizes double to the size of the big bet.
  • The final (7th) card is dealt face down with one more round of betting and the player with the lowest 5 card hand wins the pot.

If two players have the same high card, then the player with the next lowest card wins. For example, A-2-3-4-6 beats A-2-3-5-6

Here are some more examples of what beats what in Razz:
A-4-5-6-7 beats A-2-3-4-8
2-3-6-8-9 beats 2-3-7-8-9
K-Q-J-T-9 beats A-2-3-4-A-A-3

Razz Starting Hands

Any three cards 8-high and below are playable in Razz, but it still varies depending on the texture of the board. For example, if everyone has Low cards showing then you might not want to get involved with your 7 high.

Another thing to consider is which cards are showing. (5-6)-A is a more powerful hand then (A-5)-6. Lower visible cards can put a lot more pressure on other players.

Razz Strategy

In games like razz, where you have a glimpse at other players hands, a lot of the skill is in reading the board. When the hand is first dealt, look at all the face up cards to get a feel of who’s definitely going to fold and who might play.

You should also keep a count of live and dead cards throughout the hand. This will help you be more precise later in the on when putting your opponent on a hand and estimating your pot odds.

Try and play through the eyes of your opponents. They can’t see your concealed cards, so what are the possible hands they’re putting you on? Although two different hands like (5-7)-3-4-A and (A-3)-4-5-7 both look the same to you, your opponents will have completely different outlooks on them since they’re not seing the concealed cards.

Note taking and reading players is another a huge part of Razz. You have to know which players are capable of playing (K-Q)-2 like (A-3)-2 and the ones play (A-3)-2 just like (A-3)-2. Most sites let you view what the players mucked at the showdown, which is a great source of information for your reads.