Five Quick Tips—How to Play Razz Poker

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FIVE QUICK TIPS

HOW TO PLAY RAZZ POKER

Razz poker or seven-card Razz is a lowball poker variant where the goal is to make the lowest possible five-card hand. Razz is one of the oldest forms of poker on record, but the game drifted into relative obscurity during the 1990s and early 2000s. However, because of the rise in popularity of mixed games like H.O.R.S.E, Razz has been reintroduced to a whole new generation and is steadily making its way back into the mainstream. On its own, Razz still isn't overly popular, so it's rarely offered at casinos, online or otherwise. Most of the time you will play the game as part of a mixed format, so it's worth getting a decent grasp on how to play Razz. Here are five quick tips to help you play Razz Poker.

1. PLAY TIGHT AND AGGRESSIVE

Playing loose is a good strategy in certain situations, but not in the opening stages of Razz poker. Playing too many hands aggressively early on will more than likely cause you to bleed chips and before you know it, your stack will be gone. Pay attention to the game; play tight and pick your spots carefully.

2. AFTER THE FIFTH CARD IS DEALT, DON’T CHASE

By the time the fifth card is dealt, you should have a fair idea of what your hand will be. Generally, if you still need to chase to improve your hand you should fold here and live to play another day. After the fifth card, the odds of improving your hand are minimal; occasionally you might get lucky, but in the long run, chasing at this stage of the game just results in bleeding lots of chips.

3. LEARN THE RULES

Razz poker has a slightly different ruleset to most other mainstream poker variants. Aside from being a lowball variant where the lowest hand wins rather than the highest, several other rules set it apart from most other forms of poker. Straights and flushes don't generally count, aces are always low and the player with the lowest exposed hand always leads the play. So before you sit down to play Razz poker, make sure you read the rules first and understand exactly how to play; it's in your best interest. It might just save you from making an embarrassing and possibly costly mistake.

4. PAY ATTENTION TO ALL THE CARDS, NOT JUST YOUR OWN

Always look at every available exposed card on the table. Every up card is a valuable source of information that shouldn't be ignored. They can provide clues to your opponents’ hands and give a better perspective of your hand’s overall chances of winning the pot. Keep track of every card on the table, it will help you make the best possible decisions with all the available information.

5. FOLD HANDS WITH A PAIR OR HIGHER

As a rule, fold your cards if you are dealt a pair of eights or higher at the start of the game. In standard poker, a pair is a gateway to high ranked hands like two pair, three of a kind, a full house and four of a kind. These hands will lose you chips in Razz. It's not impossible to win with a high pair, but it does make it significantly harder most of the time.