Razz poker offers a huge change of pace from the usual games that you find on the internet. In almost every other game, the rules of ranking hands remain the same. Whether it be Omaha, Holdem or 7 Card Stud, royal flushes, straight flushes and fours-of-a-kind reign supreme. In Razz, those are junk hands. What you want to see instead are a bunch of low, unpaired cards that would normally be considered trash in other games.
You may be pleasantly surprised to know that a few poker sites do offer real money Razz today. It isn’t the most popular game in the world, but it does have enough of a following that most big names in poker offer the game. You just need to know where to look. So with that said, let’s take a look right now at the best Razz poker sites:
I ranked these sites in order according to traffic because niche games like Razz need all the players they can get. In my opinion, sites that offer Razz but get zero traffic to the tables might as well not even offer the game. You want to play somewhere where the games get a fair amount of traffic at a variety of stakes.
Although Razz will never generate the same traffic numbers as Holdem or Omaha, you don’t have to settle for empty tables all the time. There is enough interest in the game to get cash games and tournaments running most days of the week. You’ll have the best luck finding action at these Razz poker sites.
You can expect to find Razz cash games and multi-table tournaments, but you probably won’t ever find any Razz SNGs. It’s hard enough to populate the ring games and scheduled tournaments, let alone random SNGs. If single-table tournaments are your thing, Razz isn’t the game for you. I wish it was different but Razz just doesn’t have the numbers to support unscheduled tournaments.
How to Play Razz Online
Razz is played with the same basic rules as 7 Card Stud but with one major difference. Instead of the best traditional poker hand winning the pot, it is the best “low” hand that wins. Aces count as low while straights and flushes are ignored. Thus, the best possible hand in Razz is A-2-3-4-5. The second-best hand would be A-2-3-4-6.
You should also know that there is no “8 or better” qualifier in Razz like you have in 2-7 type games. What that means is your hand does NOT have to consist entirely of five cards all ranked 8 or lower. In full ring games, this doesn’t have much of an impact but it does give you more flexibility in shorthanded games. If your final hand is A-2-3-4-9 and nobody can beat it, you still win the pot.
Pairs do count against you in Razz, so the best starting hands generally consist of five low, unpaired cards. The value of your hand increases if other players are showing cards of the same rank as yours. For example, if you start with 2-3-5 and you look around the table and see a couple of 2s, a couple of 3s and a 5, it bodes well for your hand. There’s less chance that you’ll catch one of those cards and pair up your hand.
It’s best to start with low stakes games as you make the change to Razz. The unique hand-ranking system goes against many of our ingrained habits in looking for powerful hands. If you’re a longtime Holdem veteran like I am, you’ll have to spend some time recalibrating how you value hands and how you estimate what other people have. Start low and then work your way up as it becomes more automatic to properly value low hands.
Is Razz Poker worth learning?
Yes. Razz is a staple in mixed-game formats such as HORSE and 8-game mix. If you like to keep things new with mixed-poker variants, Razz is what I would call a “must learn.” Plus, the game is full of terrible players. It’s funny how many weak players wander into Razz cash games and plop down a bunch of money with nothing more than a vague understanding of the hand rankings.
I also think Razz is worth learning because it exercises your brain’s poker muscles. It’s such a completely different game than what most people play (Texas Holdem) and will cause you to see poker in a new light. There’s a reason all the world’s best Texas Holdem players are versed in Razz and other poker variants. Learning new games is good for the mind.
What kind of stakes will I find online?
Razz cash games tend to go off most often at the very low and very high stakes, with not as much action at the middle levels. I believe this is because low stakes games of any type appeal to casual players and those who are just getting started with a new game type. Meanwhile, the super high stakes games go off occasionally because high stakes players just love to switch things up and find every possible edge they can get over one another.