Early Origins of Razz
Razz was invented around the around the same time as Seven-Card Stud. As stud poker became more prominent before and during World War 2, players began developing variations. As with the origins of many poker games, there are no accounts of when Razz was first played or who invented and developed the game. There is no “father” of Razz but the game has come a long way from the smoky card rooms of old.
Rise in Popularity and WSOP Event
Razz was not as popular as Seven-Card Stud or 5 Card Draw but the game started to develop a steady stream of stud enthusiasts throughout the 50s and 60s. In 1971, a Razz event was added to the World Series of Poker, the $10,000 prize was won by Jimmy Casella and Razz had finally made its home at the WSOP. A Razz event has been a constant in the WSOP’s 40 plus years, with at least one event each year excluding the 1974 WSOP in which there were only two events due to poor planning.
Razz is also a favorite among many great professional players such as Doyle Brunson, Barry Greenstein, Ted Forrest, and Huck Seed. All of which have WSOP bracelets in Razz events. Thanks to the WSOP and the great players who enjoyed playing Razz, ESPN began airing Razz along with their other WSOP coverage. ESPN’s coverage of T.J Cloutier’s bracelet win in a Razz event sparked the game’s popularity and players everywhere began talking about Razz.
Recent History and the Online Game
In recent years Razz has grown in popularity and while it surely will never reach the heights of Texas Hold Em’ or Omaha, the game has become a mainstay in the poker world. After ESPN began airing Razz events regularly, online poker rooms across the internet added Razz as an available game for their players. PokerStars has a large Razz player base and even has games going in the mid limits. Razz is also a featured game in the WSOP’s H.O.R.S.E events, a special tournament with mixed games.
Razz may be worth learning to those players who tired of Hold Em’ or Omaha and would like a change of pace. As the game continues to grow, Razz action can be soft at some sites making it lucrative for skilled players.