Know your Razz poker hands

Razz poker is a popular variant of the 7 card stud game, where the lowest hand wins. There are a few other variations, but the best Razz poker hands are usually standard.

Razz has become the most popular form of lowball poker, although it still lags behind in overall popularity to the evergreen Texas Hold 'Em and Omaha. It has a place at the World Series though, and top professionals usually take an interest.

As in 7 card stud, players are dealt 7 cards, and must make their hand out of 5. The lowest hand is the winner. Initially players are dealt 2 cards face down (the hole cards) and one face up. Betting progresses as the rest of the cards are dealt.

There are no straights or flushes in Razz, and aces are played low. Thus the best hand possible is the A-2-3-4-5, or 5 high, popularly known as the bicycle or the wheel. Next best is the A-2-3-4-6.

With the object being to avoid making pairs it is obviously important to analyse the face up cards of other players to ascertain the risk of drawing a pair card. It also offers important information about the relative strength of your own lowball hand.

If you haven't played lowball, at first it can be a little difficult to get into the mindset of finding the worst hand. The analytical player will want to take a look at www.lolpoker.com for a breakdown of the various Razz poker hands and an opportunity to play a few practice hands before you have to pay for real chips.


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