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Razz Poker - Starting Hands

One of the keys to being a strong 7-Stud Poker player is to know which hands are playable and which are not. The following chart summarizes the kinds of starting hands you'll want to play:

Winning Hands at Razz :

The winning low hands are the reverse of the winning high hands, except that straights and flushes don't count. The best low hand is a 5-high straight, also known as a wheel. These are the winning hands in razz, listed from best to worst.

No Pair - The lower the card topping the hand, the better the hand. As in high games, when the top cards are tied, the next card is compared; when the top two cards are tied, the third card is compared; and so on. In this case, the lowest hand wins. These are the best of the best:

  • Wheel. Examples: 5 4 3 2 A; 5 4 3 2 A (straights and flushes don't count against a low hand)
  • 6-4: Examples: 6 4 3 2 A; 6 4 3 2 A
  • 6-5-3-2-A
  • 6-5-4-2-A
  • 6-5-4-3-A
  • 6-5-4-3-2
  • 7-4-3-2-A
  • 7-5-3-2-A

Examples of what beats what:

  • 7-5-3-2-A beats 7-6-3-2-A
  • 8-7-3-2-A beats 8-7-4-2-A
  • 9-8-7-6-4 beats 9-8-7-6-5
  • K-Q-3-2-A beats K-Q-7-6-A


One Pair - Any hand with no pair beats any hand with a pair. If you started with the best one-card draw in our lowball game, 4 3 2 A A—from which you would discard an ace and hope for a 5 or 6—and drew another ace, your hand would be worse than the otherwise very terrible hand K-Q-J-10-9. When two hands both contain one pair, the hand with the lower side cards wins. Here are two examples:

  • K Q J 10 9 beats 4 3 2 A A
  • 2 2 4 3 A beats 2 2 5 3 A

Two Pair - Any hand containing two pair is worse than any one-pair or no-pair hand. When two hands both contain the same two pair, the hand with the lower side card or kicker wins.
For example, 3 3 2 2 6 beats 3 3 2 2 8.

Worse Hands - You rarely see worse hands than two pair in contention for a pot, but it does sometimes happen in razz. Obviously two hands cannot both contain the same three of a kind, full house, or four of a kind, but you could, for example, in unusual circumstances, see three of a kind against three of a kind at the showdown. So, in order:

  • Three of a kind beats a worse three of a kind or any full house or four of a kind.
  • A full house beats a worse full house or four of a kind.
    For example, 2 2 2 5 5 beats 3 3 3 A A.
  • Four of a kind is the worst you can get in lowball or razz.

Winning Low Hands in High-Low Split Games

In high-low split games, the pot is split at the showdown between the best high hand and the best low hand that qualifies. To qualify, a hand must contain five cards ranked 8 or lower. Aces can be high or low—or both. In Seven Card Stud (8 or Better), you can use a different combination of cards in your play for high and for low. Since straights and flushes do not count against your low, a low straight or flush can win both the high and the low halves of the pot.

For example, in a Seven Card Stud (8 or Better) these four hands are out:

  • Player 1: A K 9 9 8 7 4
  • Player 2: A 2 3 4 5 K J
  • Player 3: A 6 4 3 10 2 J
  • Player 4: Q Q A Q J 6 Q

Player 2 will probably win a very large pot, because his 5-high straight flush is the lowest hand—and it has beaten a 6-4; and it is also the highest hand-and it has beaten both a flush and quads.

The qualifier is important. For example, if your first four cards in Seven Card Stud (8 or Better) are A-2-3-4, unless you get a 5, 6, 7, or 8 among your next three cards, you cannot win the low half of the pot.

If two or more players have the same low hand, they split the low half of the pot.

More examples of what beats what:

  • 7-5-3-2-A beats 7-6-3-2-A
  • 8-7-3-2-A beats 8-7-4-2-A
  • 8-5-4-3-2 beats 8-7-3-2-A
  • 6-5-4-3-2 beats 7-4-3-2-A