That Unconquerable Big R!

The game of H.O.R.S.E. has skyrocketed in popularity amongst online gamers but most players say that it is the middle column of the game, or in other words the big R – the point that separates the winners from the losers, the big dogs from the bench warmers. So what is all the jazz regarding the big R all about? Well, it’s not jazz, its Razz, the most difficult game to master in the entire H.O.R.S.E. succession.

The game of Razz is similar in concept to Seven Card Stud and begins with all players posting up an ante. After the ante has been collected the dealer deals each competitor three cards, two are placed face down and one face up. The player who’s face-up card has the highest value gets to bring in the action. This first round of the game is known as 3rd street, and is followed by, you guessed it, 4th street where each player is dealt another card also placed face up on the table. The player with the strongest hand (based upon the the two cards lying face up) is now in charge of bringing the action. This pattern continues down 5th and 6th streets until the players find themselves at 7th street. 7th street brings each player an additional card but this time it is dealt face-down. The strongest showing hand starts the betting and then we reach the showdown.

When counting up the cards at the showdown, the A-5 lowball hand rankings system is used. This system implies that the best hand that can take them all is the wheel A-2-3-4-5. Aces count as low cards and flushes and straights are ignored. Basically, the player with the lowest hand is the winner. Sound easy? That may be why Razz has become so popular so quickly, it is a very easy game to learn as it is quite straightforward and intuitive; however, easy to play does not mean easy to win. Razz is known to be one of the absolute hardest games to master and by far the hardest out of the H.O.R.S.E. rotation. Therefore, players in the H.O.R.S.E. tournament might consider that if they make it over the big R hump in the middle it could be clean sailing to the finish line after pulling through the Razz storm.

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