Razz Poker - Real Money Games, Rules & Strategy Tips
Seven Stud Low, also called "Razz", has been the least popular of the seven card stud variations. However interest in Razz has increased since the multi-game contest of H.O.R.S.E. poker has become a favorite with the all-around poker players. Razz is the "R" in the name. As with all the poker games covered in this site, this game strategy and tips is a consensus of the experts' opinions.
Limit Seven Card Low Poker / Razz Rules - 2 to 8 Players
- The lowest five card hand wins
- Ace is the lowest denomination
- Straights and flushes have no value and do not count against you
- 5432A (Wheel) is the lowest possible hand
- The highest up-card is a forced starting bet
- Three raise limit per round
- Cards speak
The image below depicts the card distribution and betting procedure for Razz Poker.
How to play a $2/$4 Razz / Seven Card Stud Low game:
After all players have anted $.50, (1.) Each player is dealt two cards face down and one face up. The player with the highest upcard* makes a forced bet of either $1 half minimum or $2 full bet (player's choice) to start the game. The rest of the players, in clockwise order, either call the opening bet, raise it, or not call and "fold" their hands back to the dealer.
(2.) All get a fourth card face up followed by a round of $2 betting. From this round on, the player with the lowest upcard(s) is always first to check or bet.
(3.) After the fifth card is dealt face up, the minimum bet goes to $4.
(4.) The sixth card is dealt face up and there is another round of $4 betting.
(5.) The seventh and last card is dealt face down and followed by the final round of $4 betting. The dealer then determines the winning low hand and awards the pot.
*(Note) Only for the purpose of determining the starting highest upcard in the case of ties, the card denominations are sub-divided by these suit values in descending order: Spades are the highest, then down through Hearts, Diamonds, and finally Clubs that are the lowest.
Seven Card Low, more commonly called "Razz", is of course a LOW card game with the Ace being the lowest denomination. Straights and flushes have no value in Razz and don't count against you but pairs and higher do count if they are part of the lowest hand you can make. So with this being the case, a "wheel"- 5432A is the lowest or best possible hand that can be made. The second lowest hand is 6432A - a "64" for short. This is lower than this third lowest - 6532A - a "65". A simple way to compare low hands is to look for the lowest of the high side denominations from the top down. Sometimes you have to go five deep to find the lowest hand (or a tie).
To give you an idea what you are up against, suppose you make a medium strength eight low hand (fairly common). Just don't forget that there are more than thirty possible lower hands that can beat it. This happens a lot so you should work for one of the better low hands that can beat that one. When you choose to play an average 8 or higher, be sure you are in competitive shape around the board to play it with confidence.
In Razz, you can gain an edge over your competition by paying closer attention to the board than most others do. Try to remember the folded low denominations and stay aware of the important upcards on the board. You want to see denominations dealt out of the deck that would pair any of the cards in your hand. Likewise you don't want to see those that you need get dealt to other players.
These are just a couple things that are important to know because they tell you when your hand is getting weaker or stronger. Board awareness can often give you critical clues about your opponents down cards and other crucial information.
- High Cards
- J to K
- Medium Cards
- 9 and 10
- Low Cards
- A to 8
- The Board
- All the face upcards that everyone can see.
- (5 4 3 2 A) The lowest possible hand in Razz (Sometimes called a "Bicycle" or a "Bike").
- Door Card
- The exposed upcard in a starting hand.
- Dead Cards
- Denominations that have been revealed to be no longer hidden in the deck.
- Paint / Picture
- Slang for a face card.
- Fast Play
- Bet, raise and re-raise to get as many other players out as possible.
- Slow Play
- Just call along to keep other players in the game and increase the pot size.
- Limp In / Limp Along
- Check or call as little as you can to see more cards.
- Check when you can and fold if you are bet into.
- Smooth Low
- The lowest possible version of any complete or partial low hand (8 4 3 2 A - 7 3 2 A).
- Rough Low
- The highest possible version of any complete or partial low hand (8 7 6 5 4 - 7 6 5 4).
- Good Low
- Hands that are in between "smooth" and "rough" (8 6 5 4 2 - 9 7 5 2 A - 8 7 6 3 A).
Starting Three Card Razz Hands ("No Paints, No Pairs, No Tens" version)
STRONGEST - Always Playable
Six or Lower - Typical: 6 5 4 - 6 5 3 - 6 4 A - 5 4 2 - 4 3 2 etc. down to 3 2 A (Any three to a wheel are the best starters possible).
MEDIUM STRENGTH - Usually Playable
Any Seven - Typical: 7 6 5 - 7 6 A - 7 5 2 - 7 3 A
Eight / Six or Lower - Typical: 8 6 4 - 8 5 2 - 8 4 3 - 8 3 A
MEDIUM to LOW STRENGTH - Usually Playable
Eight / Seven with the Eight Down - Typical: (7 8) 4 - (8 7) 6 - (8 7) 3 - (8 2) 7 - (A 8) 7
Nine / Six or Lower with the Nine Down - Typical: (9 5) 6 - (A 9) 2 - (9 6) 5 - (9 4) 6 - (3 9) 4
- Almost Always Fold a Starting Hand with a "paint", a pair, or a ten.
- By Fifth Street, shoot for at least a completed eight or four to a seven if you start with a hidden nine or catch bad on fourth or on your fifth card draw. Then you will have two draws to at least a 7 or 8 low if you think that can win.
- Get Out Early if you do not start out doing extra well against two or more strong looking hands.
- Avoid Paying to Play for Two Perfect Cards with only two shots left. In the expensive late streets when you only have two draws left to make. Only one good card to make in two draws is much easier than making two out of two.
- Keep Track of the Board and Folded Cards. Watch for the "good" cards that would pair your hand and for the "bad" cards that you need, as they are used out of the deck. Also try to stay aware of the cards that your opponents might need.
- Usually Fast Play Strong Starting Hands. Try to get down to one or two opponents.
- Usually Call the Last Bet when you are heads up and have any chance at all to win.
- Get out early when you think you are "chasing".
- Study your opponents, Do they find more hands to play than they fold? Do they bluff? Can they be bluffed? Do they have any "tells" (give away mannerisms) that disclose information about their hands etc.
Odds & Rankings
Have fun and GOOD LUCK!