Thanks to popular culture, television, and literature, games like poker have been widely accepted. While there are many different types and variations, the basis of every poker game is the same. You will need to outsmart your opponent, and with a bit of luck, win the pot.
Probably the most popular and known version of poker today is Texas Hold’em. But this wasn’t always the case. Before the recent interest in this type, stud poker was crowned king of the game.
Stud is the name that is associated with several versions, among which the seven-card stud was always the most popular.
What Is Razz?
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the game of Razz was as popular as any other poker type. The main difference is that in Razz, the cards that you would consider bad in any other version will get you the pot.
Unlike standard stud, straights and flushes will not count against a player’s hand. The ace is always low; the lower the card number, the better.
How Many Players Can Play Razz?
The optimal number of players for Razz is between two and eight. It is worth mentioning that there is a chance that when playing with eight people, the dealer might run out of cards. He will need to place a community card on the table during the last round; that card is available to all the remaining players.
Razz Poker With Three People
If you choose to play a game with three people, one of them will have to be a dealer unless you opt to play with two players and the dealer.
The best way to go around this is for the dealer to change after every game. This way, it will be more natural and—more importantly—fun.
Since Razz is a game with betting limitations, you will have to determine the amount of lower and higher bets before starting the game.
The First Round of Bets
Before the cards are dealt, each player will have to pay a certain amount or—how the players call it—the ante. The lower and higher bets are usually in a 1:2 ratio and the ante is one-fifth of the lower bet.
Let’s say that you’ll opt to play with $5/$10 bets, your ante would be $1.
After all three players have paid their bets, the dealer will deal one card each (clockwise) until everyone has three cards. Two of the three cards are hidden, while the third one is revealed for everyone to see.
The player with the highest visible card or door card will have to start the betting round. They will have to choose between paying the bring-in, which is the amount of an ante; or in our case $1. Of course, they can fold in which case they will lose only the initial bet. Finally, the third option would be to raise the bet or complete it to lower increments ($5).
Depending on their choice, the other two players will have to either follow the bet or fold. When all bets are matched, the first round or third street is over.
The Second Part or Fourth Street
During the second part, the dealer will give another card facing up to every player. The player with the lowest combination (the best for Razz) will call the shots. In this round, they needn’t bet and can choose just to check. This will allow them to continue the game, keeping their cards without investing further. Other two players can choose to check or raise the bet to the lower increment. The round is over when players match all bets.
Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Street
The third part of the game is where players get the opportunity to place bets in higher increments if they want ($10 in our case). During the fifth and sixth street, all three players will receive an additional card (one per round), along with the betting part between each round.
The final card that the remaining players will get is placed face down, and it is called the river. Naturally, if two players fold during any of the rounds, the remaining player will take the pot.
After the players have finished betting, each of them will have three hole cards (hidden) and four exposed cards. The showdown is the round where all remaining players will reveal their hand and show the best combination of five cards out of seven.
The player with the lowest card combination will take the pot. The dealer will shuffle the deck, and you can start a new game. The dealer token will switch places, and the next person would deal the cards, and so on.
The showdown is played only if two or three players remain after the seventh street. If only one player remains, and other two fold in any other round, there will be no need for the showdown. Furthermore, if two players fold, the third player won’t need to reveal his hidden cards.
Good Starting Hand
Since only one card is visible during the third street, the best option would be to have an ace. We already mentioned that aces will always count as low; the ace will always be your best option. While the other two cards are visible only to “owners,” they will be your starting hand combined with the visible door card.
Furthermore, non-pairs are stronger than pairs or three-of-a-kind, so if your door cards are aces, the best option for the other two would be to have two and three, and so on. We already mentioned that flushes wouldn’t count, so you can collect the ace to five combinations in any suit you want.
If two or all three players have the same door card, or the same combination during the bring-in bet, the suit of the card will determine which player acts first. The strongest suits are spades, then hearts, next ones are diamonds, and the lowest ones — clubs.
Razz Is Excellent for People Without Luck
Interestingly, Razz is a game where the first player to act may change after every round. The player is determined by the highest card (or the lowest depending on the street). If you ever felt that you wouldn’t get that royal flush in a million years, Razz might be the perfect choice for you. All Razz hands will value opposite from the regular stud. In addition, Razz is one of the most popular games at homes in the USA and Canada, so all you have to do is find two friends to it.