Razz is a lowball variation on Seven-Card Stud poker, in which the lowest-ranked hand wins. Razz is typically played using ace-to-five (A-5) low ranking, although deuce-to-seven ranking is also sometimes used. For details of how low hands can be ranked in lowball poker games such as Razz, see lowball poker.
In Razz, straights and flushes don’t count against the player for a low hand, and the ace always plays low. As in other forms of lowball, a low hand can’t include a pair. Razz is most often played as a limit game, in which a pre-agreed limit is placed on the values of bets. Typically, the value of bets doubles after each player is dealt their fifth card.
The best possible low hand in Razz is “five-high” (5-4-3-2-A). This hand is commonly referred to as “the wheel” or “the bicycle.”
As in Seven-Card Stud, each player is dealt two hole cards and, in between betting rounds, a total of four face-up cards. Finally, each player is dealt a seventh card, face down. The player who has the lowest hand wins the pot. For more details on how Razz is played, see Razz rules.
Razz and the World Series of Poker
A H.O.R.S.E. poker tournament is one in which Texas Hold ‘em, Omaha, Razz, Seven-Card Stud and Eight-or-better are all played.
Razz has been included as an event in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) since 1973. The first Razz event was won by Sam Angel, for a total prize of $32,000.
Starting in 2006, the WSOP has featured a H.O.R.S.E. event with a staggering buy-in of $50,000 – a buy-in value five times as high as the buy-in for the WSOP Main Event at which Texas Hold ‘em is played. Because of the high buy-in, fewer amateur poker players are attracted into the game. Chip Reese won the WSOP event in 2006, and Freddy Deeb won in 2007.
The inclusion of Razz in the WSOP H.O.R.S.E. event has added to the popularity of the game, which is now commonly found in casinos.