When it comes to poker, there are several different types and variations in gameplay. Recently, Texas Hold’em became probably the most popular version of this well-known game. During the 2000s, thanks to television and literature, the popularity of Texas Hold’em skyrocketed. But what was it like before?
Before it was dethroned, stud was the most common type of poker both in casinos and home games. While the rules of any poker game are more or less the same, there are certain variations when it comes to the card numbers, bets, and several other things.
Stud is a version of poker where each player receives a number of cards facing both up and down. The downward-facing cards will be available to one player only, while others will remain to be seen by everyone. Stud poker is usually a non-positional game, meaning the order of bets and playing isn’t something that is determined but rather depends on the progress of the game.
The most popular type of stud poker is a seven-card stud. Each player will receive seven cards in total during the course of the game, where three of them would remain facing down.
If we don’t count special occasions, stud is one of those poker games where players don’t have community cards to combine with their own hand.
There are many players that dislike playing regular poker because of the luck they have. It might be difficult for them to get a straight flush or even three-of-a-kind. This is where Razz comes to light.
Razz poker is a version of seven-card stud, but with the goal that is rather opposite compared to the predecessor. The main difference is that Razz is a low-hand poker, which means that the winning hand in regular stud would be the losing hand here.x
The entire game is like a reverse stud. While the basic rules still apply, the winning combinations will count in reverse. Interestingly, this is one of the oldest forms of poker, and it originated at the beginning of the 20th century.
Lowball poker or Ace-to-five low is the term used to describe the scoring of this game. The goal of Razz is to get the lowest possible five-card combination, out of seven cards you’ll get during the game.
The game is completely opposite from everything you know about poker, so the lowest (or the best) hand you could have is 5, 4, 3, 2, A. This combination is also called “the wheel” or “the bicycle.” Furthermore, both flushes and straights won’t count against the player.
How to Play Razz
Razz poker has a total of seven different sections. Ante, third street, fourth street, fifth street, sixth street, seventh street, and the showdown. The number of players for Razz is between two and eight.
At the beginning of the game, players will place bets before getting any cards. The ante is the name of the bet, and it is usually the fifth of the lower increment. There are two types of bets in the game, and the higher one is double the amount of the first one.
All players will have to pay bring-in, and it is the cost of the cards that will be dealt in the next round.
After all the players have paid the ante, each will get three cards. Two of those cards will remain face-down, while the third one is faced up. Hidden cards are also called “hole cards,” and the visible one is “the door.”
The player with the highest door card will have to take action. They will have to pay the amount of “bring-in,” or to choose to raise the amount to lower betting increment. The betting order is clockwise from the first player, and they can opt to match the bet, raise, or fold.
The third street will last until all betting is complete, and they could proceed to the next round.
During this round, players will get an additional card facing up. There won’t be any need to place further bets, but players can choose to raise for the lower bet increment. The first player to make a choice is the one with the strongest card combination.
This round is the same to the previous with the difference that from this round forward, players can opt to bet in higher increment.
The sixth street will start again with the player who has the strongest revealed cards, and after that, the betting round will start.
During the seventh street, players will get the final card that will be placed facing down. This card, or river, will remain known only to the player who got it. This is the last card that players will get, for a total of seven cards (four facing up, and three facing down). The final round of betting will start, and if more than one player remains, they will proceed to the showdown.
The showdown is the last part of the Razz game, where players will reveal their hands and see who the winner is.
During the bring-in, players who have the same card will compare the studs. The higher stud will determine the person who will start the round in order spade, heart, diamond, club. Unlike the bring-ins, during the showdown, if players have the same hand, they will split the pot equally.
Because Razz is the game with up to eight people, it is possible that the dealer will run out of cards if all players remain until the end. In this occasion, the dealer would place a community card that all players can use.
There is a version of Razz, common in Europe mostly, where the rules are the same with one exception — straight and flush count against the player. In this version of the game, the lowest possible combination is 6, 4, 3, 2, A. In all versions of the game ace is always low.
Because Razz is played with fixed, limited bets, it fell behind Texas Hold’em. In almost every tournament there will be a no-limit Hold’em. Nevertheless, this version of poker still remains popular as the opposite stud. Every player that had trouble getting a good hand in regular poker will love Razz.
Furthermore, if you are prone to getting bored after playing several rounds, you will love to know that there are HORSE games where five different types of poker are played. H is Texas Hold’em, O is Omaha Hi-low split-eight or better, R is Razz, S is a regular seven-card stud, and E is seven-card stud hi-low split-eight or better.