1. Hand Rankings:
In this game, the hand rankings are reversed. The best possible hand is the wheel or "the bicycle," which consists of A-2-3-4-5, often referred to as the "nut" low. Suits are not taken into consideration when determining the strength of a hand. The worst possible hand is 10-J-Q-K-A.
2. Starting the Game:
Razz is typically played with up to eight players at the table. Each player is dealt three hole cards – two face down and one face up. The player with the highest door card is usually required to bring in the first bet, a forced bet to start the action.
3. Betting Rounds:
Razz follows the same general structure of betting rounds as other poker variants – namely, the pre-flop, flop, turn, and river. However, in Razz, there are no community cards like in Texas Hold'em or Omaha. Instead, each player receives their own individual set of seven cards.
4. Additional Cards:
After the initial three cards are dealt, players receive three more face-up cards, followed by a final hole card. The aim is to use the best five out of the seven cards to make the lowest-ranking hand.
5. Winning the Pot:
At the showdown, the player with the lowest-ranking five-card hand wins the pot. Aces are always low, so a hand like A-2-3-4-5 is the best possible hand.
6. Scooping the Pot:
In Razz, it's possible for a player to "scoop" the pot by having the best low hand and no qualifying high hand (eight or better). In such cases, the player takes both the high and inferior portions of the pot.
The game's combination of strategy and unconventional hand rankings has made Razz Poker a popular variant.