Did you ever wish your "bad" hands could make you money? Then Razz could be the game for you. Part lowball, part 7-card stud, the goal is to make the best five-card low hand from seven cards.
As in most forms of poker, Razz uses a standard 52-card deck that is shuffled before every hand. The game looks very similar to the more familiar Seven Card Stud. In Razz, however, your objective is to make the lowest possible hand.
Each player starts with two hole cards and one upcard; the dealer then gives each active player three more upcards, and then a final downcard. Each player that stays in for every round of betting ends up with seven cards - four face up and three face down. At the showdown, the player holding the best LOW hand using five of his seven cards wins the pot. Aces are always low, and flushes and straights have no effect on the value of a hand. The best possible hand is A-2-3-4-5.
Each new hand of Razz begins with each player putting an ante into the pot. The ante is a payment into the pot before cards are dealt for the purpose of instigating action. In razz, the ante is usually 20% of the smaller betting limit. For example, in a 10/20 limit game, the ante is two chips. Each player must ante each hand in order to receive cards.
Razz, as any form of poker, is about betting. Razz has five betting rounds. The sizes of the bets depend on the structure of the game. All our Razz games are limit games.
On the first round (known as third street), the betting starts with the player having the highest upcard. This bet is a forced bet. The bet must be at least a specified minimum, which is called the bring-in, but can be more. The bring-in is usually one-fourth the lower limit. If two or more players have the same rank of upcard, who must make the bring-in is determined by suit, in bridge order (spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs). This is the only time suits have any bearing in Razz. For example, if three queens appear on the first round in this order, Qd, Qh, Qs, the holder of the Qs would be required to make the bring-in bet.
At this stage you have two options:
You choose your action by clicking in a dialog box. While you can always complete the bet, you will find players usually open for the minimum. If everyone folds, you win the antes, and the next hand is dealt.
If you open for the bring-in, each succeeding player has three choices:
Each player in turn has the same three choices. If there has been a raise, each player who chooses to continue must either call the total bet thus far or raise. In any one round of betting, there can be a maximum of one bet and three raises. The bring-in plus the completion count as one bet in the first round. For example, in a 10/20 limit game, you open for the two-chip bring-in, another player completes the bet to 10, and then two players raise. That makes the total bet 30. This is the equivalent of three bets, and another player could make one more raise. Doing so would cap the betting for that round, that is, cause it to reach the maximum.
If you fold for a raise, your cards are removed from play and no longer appear on the screen.
Once the betting for the round is completed and everyone has had an opportunity either to fold or match the total betting, the dealer deals each active player a second upcard (fourth street). Players still in the hand participate in a round of betting.
The betting on fourth street proceeds at the lower limit. On fourth and all successive streets, the betting always starts with the player showing the lowest board. If two or more players have the same low board, the betting begins with the player closest to the left of the button.
Don't worry about having to figure out which player starts the betting. The software prompts you when it is your turn to act. It also presents all the options available. All you have to do is click the choice you want.
In all rounds after third street, the player first to act has two choices:
If no one bets, each player in turn has the same choices. It is possible in every round except third street for no betting to occur. No betting in a round is called being "checked around".
If anyone bets, each succeeding player has three choices:
A player who checks retains his cards. If someone bets, when the action returns, a player who previously checked has the preceding three choices.
To check and then raise when the betting gets back to you is called a "check-raise". If you check with the intention of raising, you of course risk the possibility that no one will bet.
Once the betting for fourth street is completed and everyone has had an opportunity either to check or match the total betting for the round, the dealer deals each active player a third upcard (fifth street). Players still in the hand participate in a round of betting.
Once the betting for fifth street is completed, the dealer deals each active player a fourth upcard (sixth street). Players still in the hand participate in a round of betting.
Once the betting for sixth street is completed, the dealer deals each active player a final card, face down (seventh street or the river card). Players still in the hand participate in a final round of betting. The betting proceeds exactly the same as in the three previous rounds.
Once the betting for seventh street is equalized, the betting is over, and there is a showdown. Remaining active players show their cards, and the player making the best low hand using five of their seven cards wins. The software determines the winning hand, and awards the pot to the holder of that hand. If the betting is not equalized on seventh street - that is, one player bet or raised and no one called - there is no showdown, and the software awards the pot to the player who made the uncalled bet. This is the case on any previous street as well. If it happens on earlier streets, no further cards are dealt, the pot is awarded, and the hand is over.
Sometimes a player runs out of chips before all the betting is over. In such a case, one or more side pots are created, and the software awards appropriate main and side pots. When a player is all in, a bet or raise can be made that is not called, but a showdown still takes place.
Players often do not show losing hands. You are entitled, however, to see any cards that were active at the showdown even if they were not shown. Click on “Show previous hand” to bring up a new window that shows the results of the last hand and all the active cards.
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