The Rules of Razz

What is Razz or Seven Card Stud Low?

Razz is also called Seven Card Stud Low because it has the same rules as Stud, but instead of trying to make the best hand (the high), here we'll try to make the lowest hand (the low or lo, depending on the spelling). The lowest card will be the ace which counts as 1 and the best possible hand (therefore the lowest) will be the wheel with 5, 4, 3, 2, A. Note that the way of marking the hands is also reversed; the hand will be written starting from the highest card to the lowest, contrary to the variations of high for which we will indicate for example T-J-Q-K-A, to indicate the straight

Razz hand unfolding

Please note that not everyone will play Razz in exactly the same way, but in this article you will find the most common way to play (a way that you will find in the PokerStars online gaming room and other large gaming rooms)

The first distribution of cards is done in two steps

  • Each player is dealt two hidden cards, one at a time, clockwise
  • Once all players have received their two hidden cards, each player will be dealt a face-up card (this card is called the "door card".) This card is called the "door card". In the first round of dealing, each player will therefore have 2 private cards plus one visible card

In Hold'em, we would have the preflop action here, but in Razz, this is the first round of betting also called 3rd street, because at this stage all players will have received three cards

The player with the highest (not the lowest card as in Stud) visible card, will open the bidding. That person will have to pay what is called the bring-in (some people also use the term "small bet" to refer to the bring-in) which is half the small limit on the pot. If two or more players have the same denomination, the player closest to the dealer will pay the bring-in. The player who pays the bring-in will not have to pay anything more to see the next card if no player raises in this round

If the player who is to put in his bring-in is already all in and therefore cannot do so, the bring-in must be paid for by the next player, clockwise

The player to speak after him or her will be determined by the clockwise direction. As is the case in all types of poker, you will have to pay the down payment to continue in the hand. Players remaining after the first round of betting will move on to the 2nd round of bidding (4th street). Prior to this period, each player will receive one visible card. At this stage, the player with the best visible combination (i.e. the lowest hand) will open the second round of betting. If two players have the same combination, the player closest to the dealer will speak first (on this subject, read "Bring-in Precision" below for another way)

We will then proceed to the third betting round (5th street). If there are 2 or more players left in the hand, a third visible card will be dealt. As is the case for 4th street, the player with the best visible combination will speak first. In this round of betting, the bets must be equal to the big limit

The next round of betting will take place after the deal of a fourth card visible to all players (6th street). The principle remains the same as before, the bidding round will start with the player who has the best visible combination

The last card that players still remaining in the hand will receive will be hidden. We will talk here about the 7th street. Each player will have 3 hidden cards and 4 face-up cards. The bidding round will work as before. Note that some people will play a version of Razz with this card (the 7th) which will be open, therefore visible to other players. But most of the time, in online poker rooms or in the casino near you, this card will be hidden

Note: If exceptionally all players are still in the hand and there are not enough cards left, the dealer will draw a card that is visible to all. This card will be the seventh card common to all players

Precision on bring-in

We mentioned above that in order to determine the player who will pay the bring-in, we had to choose the player who will have the highest exposed card and that in the event of a tie, the player closest to the dealer would be the bring-in. This is one way of doing it. Another way of proceeding that you will also see is to break ties by the card's type (by type, we mean heart, diamond, clubs and spades). Recall that the kinds (the expression suit is also used, but it can be confused with the color of the cards, red and black) in descending order of strength are: spades, hearts, clubs, diamonds. To give an example, if two players have a jack as their highest card, the jack of spades will be higher than the jack of hearts and therefore the bring-in

The showdown

If there are two or more players left in the hand after the river, these players will go to the slaughter. Slaughter is when players compare their hands to determine the winner of the jackpot. Usually, the player who initiated the most aggressive action on the river will be asked to show their hand first. For example, if on the river Player 1 bet, Player 2 raise, Player 3 call and Player 1 call, Player 2 will have to show his hand first. Afterwards, players who find that their hand is beaten can simply throw their hand face down and players with a better hand will be able to show their hand

If two or more players have the best hand, the jackpot will be divided equally between those players