How to Play Razz Poker
Learning how to play razz poker is actually not too hard to accomplish. The whole concept revolves around 7 card stud since razz is just a variation of this game. We will show you how to play with this step by step tutorial and then you can practice this game online as well in order to get good at playing the game. In the end, it all comes down to practicing how to play in order to get better at razz.
One of the first thing a new players should do is become familiar with how different razz poker hands rank in the game and which hands are stronger or weaker. The next thing to remember is the strength of suites. From strongest to weakest cards, Spades is the most powerful followed by Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs as the lowest ranking.
The first step to learning how to play razz is the table setup. This game typically starts of with fixed bets, meaning players cannot go all in. There are no-limit tables, but for now we will just focus on limit games. Usually, all razz games will require an ante, which is a small required "fee" that all players must pay in order to participate in the game. This ante payment is usually a small partial fraction of the big blind.
In online poker rooms, players can choose what type of table to play at and how much money is at stake. For instance, a table with $1/$2 means that players make a $1 small blind and a $2 big blind. Note that if you are playing online, the computer automatically deals the cards, but I thought I would mention this in case you are playing for real with physical cards.
How to play different rounds of betting and dealing
Now that we got the basics and initial betting down, we can talk about the game. Once everyone is in the round, the dealer will deal out the cards. The main goal is to get the strongest 5 card hand out of 7 cards at the end of the game. First, the dealer will give each player 3 cards. Two are face down and one is face up so everyone else can see it, known as the door card or 3rd street. Whoever has the lowest ranked door card will be the first one to start opening up betting, known as bring in. How it works is not that difficult. King of clubs is the lowest ranked door card and ace of spades is the highest (remember ranking of the suits as tie breakers happen often).
A player who brings in action will have a couple of choices. One is to fold if they have a bad selection. The other is to make a "bring in" bet. Players cannot check or pass here, all players must wager money or fold their razz hand. Players may raise the bets by fixed amounts as well.
The next round is known as 4th street. The dealer hands out the fourth card facing up which is visible to all players on the table. Whoever has the lowest ranking hand card showing will be the first to make the next action of checking or betting. Remember, the two kings are the worst hands and the strongest hand would be A-2, so whoever has the kings or the high royal cards will be the first to make the moves.
5th street comes up with a fifth card dealt facing up. Players then do another similar round of betting, folding and checking. Also, players may now start betting in increments of the big blind, which would be a full $2 in the $1/$2 tables. Again, players with the lowest ranked hand from kings or high cards will be the first to take action and make the first bets. After this round is finished, 6th street is dealt and the sixth card is facing up and players are involved in another round of betting.
Finally, 7th street is dealt and this seventh card is now facing down as well. Since nothing new is showing, the person who was first in betting on 6th street will also have the first options in 7th street as well. Dealing and betting will usually take place in a clockwise direction so the person to your right would be the last person to make a bet.
Finally, after all the betting, checking and folding has taken place, the showdown will proceed if there are still two or more people left in play. All playing stops and everyone shows their razz poker hands. Then the winner is declared and they take the pot.
That is pretty much the whole deal in learning how to play razz. As you can see, it is a pretty simple game to play. If it seems confusing in writing, then actually playing the game will help you learn how to play much easier. After a few hands, you should get it down fairly well. You can play the game for free poker chips or with real money online over at Pokerstars or Carbon.