Razz is a 7 card stud low game. It is played like 7 card stud, however the lowest wins. In this game every player gets 7 cards where they only use 5 cards as their final hand. There are five rounds of betting in this game. Razz is usually played with a maximum of eight players, with limit betting, meaning that there is a fixed amount that can be bet per player per round.
The procedure for Razz:
Every player must ante up before the hand begins (before the cards are dealt). Ante is approximately 1/5 of the low limit bet size. Also, the ante does not count toward any future bets or calls.
- Dealing of the cards
Three cards are dealt to each player, two face down (the hole cards) and one face up (the ‘door card’).
- First round of betting (“Third Street”)
The player with the highest card showing has to make the first bet. This is called “bringing in” and it is mandatory. ‘Bring in’ is usually one third to one half of the regular bet. The player responsible for the bring-in can instead opt to “complete the bet”, i.e. make a whole regular bet. If he opts to make a normal bring-in, the remaining players can either call his bet or “complete”, by raising to a regular bet. From that point the betting continues in regular bet increments.
In a case where two people have a door card of the same rank, the bring in is determined by suit. Spades is the highest possible suit, followed by hearts, diamonds, and clubs. Play continues clockwise from the bring in, as in normal Stud poker.
- Second round of betting (“Fourth Street”)
Each player still in the hand receives another card face up. Betting begins with the lowest hand showing. Betting proceeds until all players have put in an equal amount of money or folded.
- Third round of betting – “Fifth Street” (goes in the same way as 2nd round of betting)
- Fourth round of betting – “Sixth Street” (goes in the same way as 2nd round of betting)
- Fifth round of betting – “Seventh Street”
The seventh card is dealt face down, and action would begin with the same player who opened betting on the 6th card.
Anyone who has not folded until after the last betting round will have to show their cards to win the pot. Usually, the person who made the last bet has to show his hand first and it proceeds clockwise from him. If there was no bet on the final round, the player in the earliest seat shows his or her cards first (Seat 1, then Seat 2, and so on). The person with the lowest hand wins. If two or more hands have the same value, the pot is equally split among them. The card suits are not considered in hand ranking.
ADDITIONAL RULES AND SITUATIONS:
- If the player with the highest card showing on first round of betting is all-in for the ante and therefore is unable to make the mandatory bring-in bet, the bring-in moves to the next player at the table, no matter of the value of that player’s exposed card.
- In rare situations, a dealer may run out of cards in the middle of play when the maximum of 8 players are in play. This occurs when all 8 players are still present before the 7th and final card is about to be dealt and no one has folded. In this case the dealer will deal the last card into the center of the table face up instead of face down and this card will count as a community card. Everyone at the table will use this one card as part of their own hand.
Important: Razz uses the ‘Ace-to-five low’ system for ranking hands.
As in all low hand games, pairs count against the player. That is, any hand with no pair defeats any hand with a pair; one pair hands defeat two pair or three of a kind, etc. No-pair hands are compared starting with the highest ranking card, just as in high poker, except that the high hand loses. In ace-to-five low, straights and flushes are ignored, and aces play as the lowest card.
For example, the hand 8-5-4-3-2 defeats 9-7-6-4-3, because eight-high is lower than nine-high. The hand 7-6-5-4-3 defeats both, because seven-high is lower still, even though it would be a straight if played for high. Aces are low, so 8-5-4-3-A defeats 8-5-4-3-2. Also, A-A-9-5-3 (a pair of aces) defeats 2-2-5-4-3 (a pair of deuces), but both of those would lose to any no-pair hand such as K-J-8-6-4.In the rare event that hands with pairs tie, kickers are used just as in high poker (but reversed): 3-3-6-4-2 defeats 3-3-6-5-A.
The lowest (and therefore best) possible hand is 5-4-3-2-A, called a wheel. The next best possible hand is 6-4-3-2-A, followed by 6-5-3-2-A, 6-5-4-2-A, 6-5-4-3-A, 6-5-4-3-2, 7-4-3-2-A, 7-5-3-2-A, etc.
Note: The antes, bring-ins, and betting limits are determined by the size of the game.