Razz: Poker game lots better than reputation

Mar 24, 2009 4:07 PM
Back in the Saddle by Johnny Hale |

My wife Carol, loves to play Low Ball Razz, but this type of poker, can be one of the reddest games.

The very best hand is A-2-3-4-5 and the second best A-2-3-4-6. The very worst is A-A-A-A-K. Straights and flushes do not count, but you can win with them if they are the lowest shown down at the end of the hand.

Razz is an eight handed ante game and may be played at any fixed limit from $2x $4 with anywhere from 2-to-8 players involved. At the old Stardust hotel in Las Vegas, Razz was the most popular game in the room. Most of the games were $1 ante. The high card would begin the action by taking an option of betting $5 or completing it to $15.

The limit would remain $15 until every player still active in the pot held five cards. At this point the limit would double to $30 for the sixth card, which was dealt up and for the river (a seventh dealt down).

At the end of the dealing each active player would have three cards down and four up that all could see. The first two cards were dealt down as in seven card stud. Then the next card was dealt up and the highest one (the King of Spades) would start the action by betting $5 or $15.

When each player had his turn to act in a clockwise rotation, a second face up card was dealt to those still in the action. Now the lowest possible hand would have the honor of betting first or checking in a clockwise rotation.

Razz had some problems and got a bad reputation. Take blackjack for example. In most of the blackjack pits, the house will not let you touch your cards. Reason: They are afraid of cheaters hiding or changing cards from one player’s hand to another.

Magicians, if you will.

So the no touch rule is for the protection of the house. Now think about Razz where the house has no interest in the winning hand, only in the drop. If one player happens to change cards or take one from his sleeve, it’s still not house money like in blackjack.

Some players like the aces really good and would put their special mark on the outside of the card or a little notch on the edge. Other players would mark cards in their own special way.
Some would like to have a reserve card or two up their sleeve or under their butt on the chair. You would see players buddy up with the dealer and signal him the card needed to complete the hand. The mechanic would then deliver that card to him.

I was told that I was cheated almost every day when I played Razz at the Stardust!

But I managed to dodge the raindrops. For years I played at the Stardust and mostly won.

It is very easy to dodge the raindrops if you do not play when it is really cloudy.

And it is really easy to walk on the water if you know where the rocks are located.

One of the dealers was a magician and could pull any card he wanted out of your ear. But he was a friend of mine and promised never to hurt me. This magician/mechanic wanted me to help him get his act on the stage!

I did and he became the house magician in the Sultan Club at the old Dunes.
I am a World Series of Poker Razz champion and finishing as high as third at the final table three times!

OK-J Tip of the Week

All the shows are not on the stage and all the golf experts do not play in golf tournaments. The best team does not always win, but that is the way the public wants to bet.

The old west is gone. It’s the new west now! Have fun and do not play in the Red Games of Poker!

Until next time remember to Stay Lucky!!