In Razz Poker, sometimes also known as Bizarro Stud, it can be confusing to the beginner to know what beats what. Unlike standard poker in which the best hand usually forms something nice, like two cards of the same rank together with 3 cards of the same rank to form a full house, in razz you have to make lowest possible hand to win. In standard poker, the highest possible hand is the Royal Flush, which technically is an Ace-high straight in which all the cards are of the same suite.
In razz however, the best possible hand is the Wheel, which is an Ace-to-Five straight and the suits do not matter. In standard poker, the Ace can play for high or low. In Razz, the Ace always plays low. Do not worry, because after reading the following examples, you will know once and for all exactly what beats what.
The basic principle is that any X-high hand will beat any X+1 high hand all the way up to K-high, which is the worst possible card you may have. In the same vein, any high-card hand beats any one-pair hand, any one-pair hand beats any two-pair hand, and so on and so forth. Oh, and suits don’t count. In a nutshell, if hand A beats hand B in standard poker, the reverse is true in Razz.
A good way to get a visual on this is to look at your hand placing your cards high to low instead of low to high. That is, looking at 6 5 4 2 A instead of A 2 4 5 6. Keep in mind that the first 2 cards on the left are only visible to YOU! It makes a huge different having A2/8 versus A8/2. Having the 2 shown instead of hidden is more powerful.
Order of Winning Poker Hands in Razz
Top Playable Starting Hands in Razz
Ace – Deuece – Three (Any Combination)
Low Without an Ace
Cards under 8
Starting Hands you Should NEVER Play in Razz
Cards Above 8
Best Made Razz Hands (Ranked in Order)
Think you have what it takes? Check out the Hero vs Villain Razz quiz on the left and see if you can figure out who wins!
Razz is a great game to play, and will definitely offer some variety for those that primarily play NLHE. Now that you have read this concise Razz Hand Rankings guide, you also know what beats what, so go out there and pwn n00bs, Tiger!
Hero vs Villain
Looking at a ranking chart like on the left is easy, but now the challenge comes seeing the board, Hero’s and Villain’s hand. Who wins? Remember, the first, second, and seventh card are hidden so only the player who holds them can see!
Results: Hero has 2d5c6c9hJs, Villain has 7s8s9hThJc. Hero would win in a showdown. The Jacks are tied, but the next lowest card belongs to Hero, because 9 is lower than a T.
Results: Despite the fact that Villain currently holds a straight AND a flush, he would still win a showdown vs. Hero who is seemingly holding very small cards, because pairs count very heavily against you in Razz. In Razz, pairs are like the plague and should be avoided at all costs. Do not even mention two pairs, but if you actually somehow manage to end a hand holding two pairs, a one-pair hand or less hand will beat you.
Results: Hero started with the best hand by far, but somehow Villain found a way to make a wheel! What was he doing in the hand after 4th street?!?
Results: It’s a tie, despite Hero holding all cards of the same suit. Remember, colors DO NOT count, only card ranks do.