In order to play Razz Poker on a consistently winning basis, one must truly understand the fundamentals of the game. Understanding Razz Poker is not difficult, but if you're reverting to Razz from 7 Card Stud or 7 Card Stud Hi / Lo, the transition may be awkward at first.
While Razz Poker is similar to 7 Card Stud and 7 Card Stud Hi / Lo, the winning requirements are quite different. Razz Poker is played exactly the same as 7 Card Stud except that you are essentially trying to get the absolute worst hand, not the strongest.
Razz can also be compared to the Low half of 7 Card Stud Hi / Lo, since your goal is to achieve the lowest hand, but the rules of hand development are not so strict. In the Low half of 7 Card Stud Hi / Lo, your hand must 'Qualify' in order to win, meaning there must be 5 cards of 8 or better (nothing higher than an 8). Razz Poker does not require players to qualify, therefore any hand can win at the Showdown so long as it is the lowest.
Another important aspect to understand Razz Poker is that t is not played with Blinds, as many of today's other most popular poker variants. Razz Poker uses forced bets called Antes and Bring-In.
Much like Blind Bet, Antes are a small percentage-based bet of the low-end stakes, but every player must place an Ante of equal amount before any cards are dealt. The Ante is generally 10-25% of the low-end stakes. When Antes are used, all players have a stake in the pot, encouraging more players to stay in a hand. In poker games that use Small Blind and Big Blind bets, most players that are not in these betting positions will fold a bad or marginal, with nothing at stake.
The Bring-In Bet is also comparable to a Blind Bet, except that it is placed after the initial deal. The player in the Bring-In position may not fold once he has his cards. He must place the Bring-In Bet, equal to half of the low-end stakes, starting off the first betting round. Once betting comes back around to this player, only then may he choose to Fold. This does not work to the advantage of the player since the Bring-In Bettor is always the player with the highest Door Card (the 3rd Street, face-up card after the initial deal).
By understanding Razz Poker and how different it is from other poker variants of its kind, you should be able to minimize chip loss and increase your profits invariably.