If you enjoy 7-card Stud poker, then you’ll definitely like this variant. In razz poker, card values and hand rankings are flipped so that your best hand is made up of the lowest-value cards!
Indeed, the best ace-to-five low poker hand ends up being a winning hand in this game. Let’s take a closer look at the rules.
Razz Poker: Game Rules
In razz poker, players are each dealt 7 cards throughout the course of the game. There are no community cards like in regular poker, so each player can only use their own hand to win.
Razz poker uses the ace-to-five rule, otherwise known as the “California system”, for ranking hands. This means that, unlike in regular poker, straights & flushes DO NOT count.
There is no suite precedence and aces are the lowest-value cards. So the best possible hand you can have is a “wheel”: 5-4-3-2-Ace.
Razz Poker: Order of Play
After the bring-in bet and third street, players are dealt cards one at a time, and given time to bet. Here’s how a game of razz poker usually unfolds.
Ante & Third Street
In order to begin the game, all players ante a nominal amount. Then, each player is dealt 3 cards: two hidden hole cards, and one face-up. The player with the highest-value exposed cards then makes the “bring-in” bet to get the ball rolling.
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Streets
Players all receive cards one at a time. These cards are all known as “streets”. The seventh is also known as the “river”.
They are all dealt one at a time, face-up to players except for the river, which is dealt face-down. After each card is dealt, a betting round goes around the table clockwise.
In all of these rounds, the first player to act is the one with the strongest face-up hand (therefore, the lowest in value).
The last bettor or raiser shows his cards first. If there was no bet in the final round, the player closest to the dealer shows his cards first. The best Ace-to-5 low hand wins the pot. If there’s a draw, then the pot is equally split among players.