Stud Razz - The Basics
Razz is Seven Card Stud played for low, but with no qualifier. That is, the winning hand does not have to be an 8 low or better. The ranks of hands are shown under Winning Hands.
A maximum of eight players can play at a Razz table. There are five betting rounds in a complete game of Razz, not including the ante. Each player, starting from seat 1 (the seat to the left of the dealer), is dealt two cards face down, then four cards face up, and the final (river) card is dealt face down.
Each player must put an ante into the pot before he receives his first three cards. The initial deal consists of two cards dealt face down, called the hole cards, and one card dealt face-up, called the door card.
The player with the highest exposed (door) card (using suits in bridge order—spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs—if there is a tie) is required to initiate action by betting a minimum of half the lower limit. This starting bet is called the bring-in. When you have the bring-in, you always have the option of betting either half the lower limit or the lower limit for the table designated. For example, in a $2-$4 game, the player with the highest door card must make a forced bet of either $1 or $2. (See "Betting" below.)
After the initial round of betting, which is initiated by the "High Card Must Bet" prompt, all subsequent rounds start with the player with the low hand on board initiating the betting action. In cases of a tie, the player to the left of the dealer initiates the betting action. Examples:
- After each player has two upcards, one player has 2-3 showing, another player has A-4, and others have higher cards; the player with the 2-3 has first action (initiates the betting).
- After each player has two upcards, two players have 4-3 and others have higher cards; the player with the 4-3 sitting closest to the left of the dealer initiates the betting. Suits have no bearing here.
Each bet and raise during the first two rounds of betting is set at the lower value of the limit structure. For example in a $2-$4 game, all bets and raises are $2 for the first two rounds. There is one exception to this rule:
- The exception is the High Card Must Bet rule. After all players have received two downcards and one upcard, the player with the highest exposed card of the round can bet either half the lower limit or the lower limit. For example, in a $2-$4 game, after each player has anted and each player has received three cards, one player has the K. That player can make a bring-in bet of either $1 or $2. If the player bets $1, subsequent players have three choices: fold, call $1, raise to $2. Once the betting has reached $2, further raises must be in $2 increments until the cap is reached. If the bring-in bet is $2 (which doesn't often happen), subsequent players have three choices: fold, call $2, raise to $4.
Each bet and raise during the last three rounds of betting is set at the higher limit of the stakes structure. For example, in a $2-$4 game, all bets and raises are $4 for the last three rounds (fifth street, sixth street, and the river).
The maximum allowable number of bets per player during any particular betting round is four. This would consist of the opening bet and three raises. Once the betting limit for that round has been reached, players have only the option of calling or folding.
Check-and-raise is allowed in all Razz games (except on the first round, when any player except the forced bet, on his turn, must either bet or fold; the player with the forced bet does not have a choice of folding).
At the showdown, if more than one active player remains, all hole cards are displayed and pot is awarded to the holder of the lowest hand.