Hi folks,

Some of you will know by now that when the going gets tough I like to have a bit of fun and relax playing some micro stakes Razz games. However when I get the urge to play I often find games hard to come by so I though I might try and get some of you guys into the game if you've never played before. Now I am by no means an expert but I think I have the basics down and if after reading you want to know more PSO has some great videos available in the library!


The Rules

For those unfamiliar with the game Razz is a lowball variation of Stud. It's a seven-card, fixed limit game. It can be played with two to eight players and is very simple to play. The aim of the game is to create the weakest five-card hand possible from the seven cards dealt to you. There are a couple of rules to keep in mind here; Aces are always low, and straights and flushes do not count against your hand.

The game starts with each player placing a bet or ante into the pot and then the hole cards are dealt. Each player receives two face down cards and one face up, known as the 'door card'. The player with the weakest door card, meaning the highest value, is forced to make an initial bet or 'bring in' to start the round of betting. (please note if more than one player has the same value high card it will go by suit, highest being spades, then hearts, diamonds and clubs) Other players then may fold, call or raise. Once this round of betting is complete we arrive at fourth street. Each player that is still in will receive a fourth card that is face up, followed by another round of betting. Then the player with the highest face up card will initiate the betting from fifth street on. On fifth street players again are dealt a face up card followed by a round of betting. Same again on sixth street. Then on seventh street players receive one more card, this time face down, and the final round of betting is done. Once this point is reach if there are still multiple players contesting the pot then it will go to showdown. Players have to use the seven cards they have to make the weakest five-card hand possible and the pot goes the the player with the best low hand. Remember Aces are low and straights and flushed don't count so the nuts would be 5 4 3 2 A. As with other poker variants if two players have the same first card, i.e. both have a 7 lo for example, it will go to the next card, the lowere the better.


Just to see how things work here is a random hand I played earlier.


Tips and Strategies

Stick to low cards! - Some players will play hands with an 8 or 9 in their hole cards but for beginners it's advisable to just fold when you start with a card higher than a 7. By having a high card you effectively start with just two cards. The aim is to make a low hand so if you start with a high card you are significantly reducing your chances to win the hand as you need to hit one more low card to make the best hand in most cases. This also applies to when you start with a pair, just get rid even if the cards are low.

Be careful bluffing - While it is possible to bluff in Razz it's quite hard to pull off since most of the cards are face up. Usually it's not advisable and not necessary. Just bet value hands and ditch the rest.

Look at the other cards! - This is perhaps the most crucial and useful thing to do in any stud variant. Keep your eyes on other players cards as it can give so much good information. Firstly you can gauge the stranght of your opponents hand to some extent by this. Also you can see if any of your outs or cards you don't want, that would pair you for example, are gone or not. Example: You start with 367, looks nice but then you notice the villains door cards are all Aces and 2s, now not only have you lost outs to make the best hand but your opponents could be starting with a much better hand than you. So be cautious.

Bricking may not be the end - If you brick, hit a high card or even pair, it doesn't mean you always have to fold straight away. Obviously if the villains are showing all low cards and betting like they have it then it, then chances are you're likely to lose. But just because you get one bad card doesn't mean you're done, keep playing if you're not facing heavy action or the villains also have high cards showing. It's about knowing where you stand.

Know when to fold! - This piece of advise may seem contradictory to the last tip but sometimes folding is the best action to take. It's advised if your hand isn't looking too good to fold by fifth street if not before or you stand to lose quite a lot. You may start with a great hand but if you brick out and the villains don't there's no need to chase when you could be done already.


Well all that's left to say is why not give it a go?! And good luck at the tables!