Razz poker is a game similar to the popular 7-card stud – with a twist! Instead of the highest poker hand winning at showdown the lowest hand wins. This comprises the hand with the lowest 5 cards from the 7 dealt. This article first outlines the rules of Razz poker and then gives some starting strategy tips.

There are no blinds in Razz poker, instead an "ante" is taken from all the players in the game before the cards are dealt. This is a small proportion of the initial bets.

Each player is initially dealt 3 cards – 2 of these, known as hole-cards, are dealt face-down and the 3rd (called the up-card) is dealt face up and visible to all of the players. At this point the player with the highest up-card makes a forced small bet called the "bring-in" betting then carries on in a clockwise direction from the bring-in player.

Betting in Razz is in fixed-limit format, with the amount that can be bet doubling once the 5th of the 7 cards is dealt. There is usually a cap of 4 raises on each round of betting.

Once the betting and raising is complete the next card is dealt – in stud games including Razz poker each card dealt is referred to as a "street" – this card is thus 4th street and so on. 4th, 5th, and 6th streets are all dealt face-up to the table, 7th street is dealt face-down so only the individual player can see it.

Before the showdown there are have been a total of 5 rounds of betting, with the bet size doubling on 5th street this can lead to large pots!

At showdown the hand with the lowest 5 cards wins, in Razz poker this is Ace-2-3-4-5 also known as a wheel. Suits and straights do not count in this game. Holding a pair does not invalidate a card (it does however make it more difficult to make a good low!).

Beginning Razz poker players need to take several strategy considerations into account. These include: Taking into account cards which you have seen but have folded, bluffing scare cards and avoiding draws to weak low hands.

Cards which have folded are important in any stud game. Here is a Razz poker example, on 4th street you have 3-4-6-9 (with the 6+9 showing to the table) and face a raise. The strength of this hand will be greatly affected by those cards you have seen fold. If you have seen several 3"s, 4"s and 6"d fold then your chances of making a low have improved (since pairing would not help your hand). If however you have seen aces, 2"s, and 5"s on the table fold then your chances are much lower. In one case the remaining (un-dealt) cards may be full of cards which help you – in the other case the may be very few.

If you are dealt a "baby; (ace,2 or 3) as your up-card but have terrible hole-cards you may be in a position to launch a 4th street bluff. For example you raise pre-flop holding 8-J-2 (with the 2 showing) and are called by a 7 and 6. If 4th street brings you another low card you should bet out, especially when your opponents catch high cards. Do not over-do this move, if you are called again on 5th street then you need to make a legitimate hand, this is because the size of the pot has grown so large as to give your opponents attractive pot-odds to chase.

Finally draws to weak lows should be avoided, for example if there is action on 4th street and you find yourself with a hand such as 4-8-6-7 then depending on the number of aces, two and 3"s already on display your should consider folding. The danger with this type of hand against multiple opponents in a raised pot is that you can easily make a low hand and still end up losing. As you gain experience in Razz poker then these situations can be played more often depending on the tendencies of your opponents.