By Christopher Gates
While most casual poker players are familiar with Texas Hold ‘Em, many online card rooms offer a lot of different kinds of games for players to partake in addition to it. In this article, we are going to take a look at one of these games, the game known as Razz.
Razz is played in a manner similar to Seven Card Stud. The difference between the two is that in Razz, you are attempting to make your best five-card low hand, as opposed to the high hand you will attempt to make in Stud. Each player will receive three cards face down (their first two cards and their final card) and four cards that will be face up for the entire table to see. Aces are always low in Razz, and straights and flushes do not matter. Hence, the best possible hand in Razz is a wheel, which is a straight comprised of A-2-3-4-5.
The hand will start with an ante, which is usually about 1/5 of a small bet. So if you are playing $1/2 Razz, the ante will be $.20. Each player is then dealt three cards, the first two of which come face down and the third coming face up. After the initial deal, the player with the highest card must post what is called a “bring in,” which means he has to place the low-limit bet size into the pot. In our example of $1/2 Razz, the bring in would be $1. If two people have the same rank of card, then the player closest to the left hand of the dealer has to post the bring in.
After the bring in is posted, each player after can choose to fold, call the bring in, or raise. As Razz is a limit game, the amount that can actually be raised is limited. When the initial betting is completed, each player remaining in the hand will receive their fourth card, which comes face up. Betting in this round is still done in increments of the low bet, so in our $1/2 Razz game, we are still looking at bets and raises of $1.
When betting is completed again, the fifth card comes. This card is also face up. The bet size in this round changes to the high limit bet, so now we would be looking at bets and raises of $2 based on our example game. Any players remaining after betting has finished will get their sixth card, which is the last one that comes in face up. Another round of betting will ensue after this, and we have almost completed the hand.
The last card that any remaining players are dealt comes in face down. The exception to this being if you are playing at a full table of eight players, and everyone has stayed in until the last card. In this case, there would not be enough cards for everyone to get one, so the dealer will simply place a community card in the middle of the table, and everyone would be free to use that card in their hand. (As you can probably assume, this is a rare occurrence.)
Betting once again takes place, and we then advance to the showdown. The last person to make a bet will be the first to show their hand, and it continues clockwise from there, with players choosing to either show their hands or throw them into the muck.
Those are your rules for Razz. It might sound like a fairly easy game, but it takes quite a different mindset to play Razz than it does to play Hold ‘Em or most other poker games. The next time you log onto your favorite internet poker room, give Razz a try. You might like it!
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