There are several types of poker games – even one for the worse hand! Yes, there is a game for the lowest hand in poker, and it is called Razz Poker.
Razz is a Seven Card Stud poker game where instead of the highest hand winning, the lowest hand wins the pot. The object of the game is to make the best lowest five-card hand out of the seven cards dealt to you. Unlike split-pot hi/lo games like Omaha and Stud, Razz doesn’t have an “eight or better” component to its play. In an hi/lo eight-or-better game, the winning low hand cannot have a card higher than 8 in it to count as a low hand, but since Razz is a game with only a low hand winning, any hand can win, including hands with low pairs or face cards, but highly unlikely.
There are no blinds while playing Razz. Instead, all players post an ante (an ante is a forced bet in which all players put an equal amount of money or chips into the pot before the deal begins) and the player with the highest card is forced to bring in.
Each player is deal three cards, two face-down and one face-up. The highest face-up card on third street has to make the forced bring in bet. This starts the action and the play continues clockwise. On all subsequent rounds, the lowest hand showing acts first. If there is a tie for low hand showing, the first active player clockwise from the dealer begins in the forced bet. Players acting after a bring-in have the right to call the bring-in as it is, even or they may raise the amount needed to bring the current bet up to the normal minimum, called completing the bet.
The lowest hand wins the pot at showdown. Aces count as low. All flushes and straights are ignored and do not apply to Razz. The best possible hand in Razz is A,2,3,4,5 (also known as a wheel). In order to figure out the best low hand is to start with the top card and work down (An eight low beats a nine low for example). If the top card is the same rank, then you move to the second card. An example would be 8,6,5,4,3 would beat 8,7,5,4,3 (the player with the 8,6 low would beat the 8,7 low) . One player has an eight-six low and the losing player has eight-seven.
Razz requires more skill than luck and takes a good amount of patience. Razz players not only have to understand the odds and probabilities of their own hands, but also have to pay more attention to their opponent’s hands and the cards on the board around the entire table. A player needs to pay attention to what cards have been folded as well as current cards on the table.
As far as starting hands in Razz, it will depend on your experience of the game. As a beginner, a player should not play a hand unless their first three cards are low cards with one being no higher than 8. If a player holds three cards that are three cards to a wheel then the player should raise or re-raise. Before you make a decision on your own starting hand, always look around the board and see what everyone else is showing. This is extremely important to be a successful Razz player.