Razz Poker Strategy for Beginners

This was published 28-07-2008

RAZZ poker is growing in popularity on the Internet and in casinos and poker rooms the world over. The game itself is easy to learn, with simple rules not unlike 5-card stud; however, as the hand rankings change significantly, RAZZ requires a totally different approach. In this game of the lowest hand winning, the early hand strategy is the most important thing to perfect. For a beginner, RAZZ is usually won or lost by the actions taken before the third street.

Starting Hands

As in any game of poker, the starting hand is a major factor as to whether you want to stay in the game or fold after the deal. In RAZZ, you will want to look for a starting hand that is extremely low, preferably without pairs. Hands that contain cards that rank from Ace to 5 are essentially the ideal starting hand; whereas starting hands containing cards that rank above an 8 should be folded. As you are looking for what would be considered a bad hand in other forms, starting hands with pairs should be folded, as well.

Reading Cards

Reading cards is essential in developing a good RAZZ strategy. Analyzing the other players’ door cards and knowing what cards are live and dead will help you to decide if your own hand is worth playing.

Other Player’s Deals

Take a look at the door cards of the other players and decide if there is a possibility that they will be able to beat you from the deal. For example, if you see that others at the table have door cards ranking higher than a 7 or 8, and your hand contains cards ranking 6 or lower, you can figure that you are safe. However, if there are a number of cards on the table that are lower than most in your hand, you may want to fold early.

Dead Cards

In most styles of poker, you want the cards in your hand to be “live” or possibly still in palace in the deck. In RAZZ, it is better to see the cards in your hand already in play with other players. If you know that the pairs to the cards in your hand have already been dealt, you can more confidently place your bets.

Playing Smart

In RAZZ, smart play is tight play, so pay close attention to what is going on around you at the table. Careful analysis of the cards in play, along with a strong knowledge of the rules of the game will assure that you make the right decisions about when to fold, call, or raise. After each hand is played, take note of the cards that other players have folded on and what they held as they stayed in. Taking mental notes on other players’ game play can help you to develop a strategy specific to your opponents. In order to stay ahead of the game, take as few risks as possible. Though taking a risk occasionally pays off big, the key to a good strategy is playing smart and sitting out when things are risky.

Best Razz Books
Play Razz Poker to Win” by Mitchell Cogert
Sklansky on Razz” by David Sklansky

Best Poker Sites for Razz


PokerStars.com has the higest volume for Razz Poker traffic.  You will always find a game here, and most of the games are VERY soft.  Players are mostly Holdem players that have decided to try a new game, and the games are very beatable.  (Read our Pokerstars Review)


FullTiltPoker.com is the 2nd busiest site for Razz action.  Similar to PokerStars, the games are very soft and easily beatable.  (Read our Full Tilt Poker Review)

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