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How to Play Razz

Get an edge with these quick tips and basic strategies

Played with 2 hole cards, 4 up cards and 1 down card, Razz is for 7 Card Stud players who like to complain.

Razz is one of the easiest games to learn, but it takes a lot of seat time to grasp the nuances of the game. Because there is so much information revealed in up cards, memorization and math are key componets of the game.

Invented in the early 20th century, this lowball version of 7 Card Stud has been a staple in the highest mixed games offered.

Razz Poker
Game ComplexityIntermediate
TypeLowball Stud Poker
Players2-8

Gameplay of Razz

  • Setting Up

    Setting Up

    • You'll need: antes from each player.
    • Most Razz games use a limit betting structure.
    • Deal each player 2 cards face down and one card face up. This is 3rd street action.
    • Play begins with a forced "bring-in" bet where the highest up card (called the door card) must make a bet. The bet is generally 3-4 times less than the small bet. Action then goes clockwise starting with the player left of the bring-in. Players then have the option of folding, calling or completing to the small bet amount. Once a player has completed the bet, all other players can fold, call or raise. Raises are capped on each street at either 3 or 4 raises (4-5 bets).
  • Action

    The Action

    • There are 5 betting rounds:  3rd street, 4th street, 5th street, 6th street and 7th street.
    • On 4th street all remaining players are all dealt an up card. Action starts with the best low hand showing. Players can check or bet. Once a bet has occurred, remaining players can call, raise or fold.
    • Action on 5th and 6th streets occur the same as 4th street, except the bet is doubled (also known as the big bet).
    • On 7th street the card is dealt face down and betting occurs the same as 4th - 6th streets.
  • Who's the Winner?

    Determining a Winner

    • Players who complete the last round of betting without folding go to the showdown.
    • The player with the lowest 5-card hand wins.
    • The best hand possible is A-2-3-4-5, also called "the wheel". Suits and straights do not count against you in Razz.

Basic Strategies of Razz

  • 3rd Street

    Beginners should focus on playing starting hands with three cards 7 or lower.

    Position is not as important in Razz. The lowest hand goes first on every street and moves clockwise, so the order of play can change from street-to-street.

    Scan other players door cards to see if your outs are still live.

  • 4th Street

    This is the street beginners should decide to play the hand out or fold. Since the bet doubles on 5th-7th streets, decide now if you have a hand worthy enough to play out.

    One more street means more information. Keep track of the up cards to see if you are drawing to live outs. 

    Pay attention to other players hands to see if their betting represents what they could have.

  • 5th-7th Streets

    Betting doubles on 5th-7th streets. Keep watching the boards of other players to see if you are drawing live.

    If you do not make your hand on 7th street, go ahead and fold. Saving bets is the name of the game in Razz. 

What You Need to Know About Razz Starting Hands

  •  Good Starting Hands

    Play these hands:

    • Three cards 7 or lower.
    • Three cards 8 or lower if other players door cards are 8 or higher.
    • All hands where you are showing the only low card and all other hands are showing a 9 or higher.
  •  Poor Starting Hands

    Never play these hands: 

    • All hands containing a pair.
    • Hands where most of your outs are already appearing on other players boards.
  •  Marginal Starting Hands

    Play these hands sparingly:

    • Hands with two wheel cards as long as one is the door card.
    • Hands with two cards 7 or lower as long as one is the door card and all of your outs are live.
  •  Positional Hands

    Play in late position when folded to you:

    • Complete hands where all remaining door cards are higher than yours, as long as your door card is a 9 or lower.

Do's and Don'ts for Better Razz Play

  • Complete, Complete, Complete

    If you have a playable hand, complete the betting on 3rd street. On rare occasions you can limp if there are multiple low cards yet to act behind you.

  • "Whipsawing"

    If a player ahead of you has completed and a player has called in-between with a 9 or higher, make the raise. If you made the original raise, there is a call with a 9 or higher and someone raises, make the three bet. Whipsaw the player with the bad card in-between for as many bets as possible on 3rd street. Remember, players with a bad card showing must draw perfect on 3 of 4 streets to make a hand. You only have to draw good on 2 of 4 streets.

  • Board Lock

    Having a player board locked means you have their hand beat 100% of the time. You can tell if a player is board locked if their up cards can't beat your hand even if they have a perfect hand underneath. It's a rare occasion, but you must always bet when you have another player board locked.

Famous Razz Hands

  • Razz: Famous hand from the WSOP

    Howard Lederer and T.J. Cloutier board lock each other.  

    This Video Contains:

    1. A hand from the 2004 WSOP Event #26 - $1,500 Razz.
    2. Board locked with identical hands.
  • Razz: Basic Razz rules

    Learn the basic rules of Razz in about 2 minutes with this beginner video.  

    This Video Contains:  

    1. How to deal Razz.  
    2. Basic betting and hand-making.

Where Can I Play Razz Online?