Razz Poker Origins
Razz poker is a variant of Seven Card Stud, and is a low ball poker game. In fact, it can actually be termed as ‘Seven Card Stud Low.’ The flushes and straights count for nothing in this game and your best hand is made up of an A 2 3 4 5. The history of this game is quite intertwined with that of Stud poker. Razz has grown immensely in popularity ever since it came into being and is considered one of the most popular off-line and online lowball poker games, enjoyed by a great multitude of poker lovers.
Early parts of the razz poker history
As is the case with majority of poker variants, razz poker’s history is also a little unclear. Nevertheless, there are certain moments in its history that came about to define and change razz as a game, giving it the much-deserved popularity over a period of time.
No one knows exactly when razz poker started getting played, however, one thing is certain that it came into being sometime after the introduction of Seven Card Stud poker. Its actual emergence can be traced to sometime around year 1900, after the introduction of the 52-card deck. Before that, poker used to be played using a 20 cards deck, and used to be referred as straight poker, played primarily on the Mississippi river boats all through the 19th century.
Inclusion in WSOP
Although razz poker played a second fiddle to more popular games like Five Card Draw and Seven Card Stud for quite some time, it was included as an event type in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in year 1971.
Thereafter, it is one poker variant that has consistently featured year after year at WSOP, barring 1974 when only two events were included in WSOP.
Although many people believe that the first-ever WSOP Razz tournament happened in the year 1973, as per WSOP portal, Razz was a part of their event in the year 1971, when it was won by a poker player called Jimmy Casella.
Many big names of the poker world have featured in the razz poker history, courtesy WSOP. Some of the popular ones of them are Doyle Brunson, Barry Greenstein, Huck seed, T J Cloutier and Ted Forrest.
The legends of the game
Year 1992 saw Archie Karas, a pool shark and a poker player turning up in Las Vegas with only $ 50 as pocket. In a few months’ time, Archie went on to win one of the most significant razz poker events in the game’s history. He increased his bankroll from a mere $ 50 to more than $ 30,000, playing razz poker most of the times and emerging the winner of the $ 200 / $ 400 limit at Binions Horseshoe Razz poker game.
Thereafter, he improved his bankroll further by playing more poker and pool until it went over and above $ 7,000,000. Carrying around $ 5,000,000 worth of chips with him, Archie threw an open heads up challenge to all the best poker players of the world at the Binions’ heads up table. It was here that he engaged Stu Ungar, the best poker player of that time in a head up Razz poker battle, playing for several days, until he completely busted Stu, winning $500,000 in total from him. It is easily the biggest heads up poker match ever witnessed in the poker history, with razz poker being the poker variant in play.
Modern day revival of Razz poker
Razz poker made a comeback of sorts in the year 2004 with WSOP again. That razz poker event was broadcasted all over the world by ESPN, and was eventually won by T J Coultier, another poker great. It led to a renewed interest in the razz poker game, and resultantly, it got incorporated by a large number of off-line and online casinos.