How to Play Razz | Poker Rules

Razz is is a variant of Stud with almost identical gameplay, but hand rankings are reversed. While Stud follows the conventional high hand poker rankings, Razz follows the A-to-5 lowball hand rankings.

razz poker rules

Overhead view of a Razz poker game.

However, there are no high hands in Razz, which means there are no qualifications for low hands. A player can have a Queen low or a pair or worse and still win the hand, so long as their hand is lower than their opponent's at showdown.

How to Play Razz Poker

Razz plays very similarly to Stud, but you'll notice a few key differences.

  • Razz is almost always played as a fixed limit betting game. The small bet size is used during the first two rounds of betting (third and fourth street), and the big bet size is used on fifth street and beyond.
  • Each player antes a fraction of the small bet before the cards are dealt. In a $2/$4 limit game, for example, the antes are usually $0.30.
  • Three cards are dealt to each player, including two face-down "hole cards" and one face-up "door card."
  • The player with the highest Door Card must start the betting with the Bring-In, which is usually a little larger than the ante. Alternatively, the player may also complete the size of the small bet.
  • If multiple players have the same high card, the card with the highest suit will Bring-In (the order from highest to lowest is spades-hearts-diamonds-spades). This is the only time suits are used in Razz, and this method is not used to break a tie at showdown.
  • Aces are always low in Razz, so a King is the highest possible Door Card.
  • A round of betting begins with the player to the left of the Bring-In, who may call the current bet, raise, or fold. The betting proceeds clockwise.
  • Four more cards are dealt to each player with rounds of betting in between:
    • Fourth Street: Each player is dealt another card face up. There is then a round of betting, and the player with the lowest value exposed hand is first to act, so a player with A-4♠ exposed would act before a player with J♠-9 exposed. The player may bet the small bet size or check unless any player is showing a pair, in which case they, or any other player, may raise the stakes by using the big bet size instead.
    • Fifth Street: Each player is dealt another card face up. As with the previous street, there is a round of betting and the player with the lowest exposed hand acts first. This time, the player may bet the bigger limit bet or check.
    • Sixth Street: Once again, each player is dealt another card face up, and the player with the lowest exposed hand must act first, either checking or betting the big bet size.
    • Seventh Street (the 'river'): On Seventh Street, each player is dealt one final card face down for a total of three face-down cards and four exposed cards. The player with the lowest exposed hand is first to act in the final round of betting, and they must bet the big bet size or check.

Showdown and Hand Rankings

Limit Razz follows the A-to-5 lowball hand rankings, meaning flushes and straights don’t count against your hand and the best hand is 5-4-3-2-A.

Qualifying for the low is not necessary in Razz, so a Queen-low like Q-J-7-4-2 would beat a paired hand like 7-6-6-3-2.

razz mixed games showdown

Razz Example Showdown: The player on the left has a 6-5-4-3-A low, beating the 9-8-5-2-A low of the player on the right. Note that the five spades do not count against the player on the left's hand.

Check out this article for some Razz strategy tips.