Rules of play Edit
As in 7-stud, each player posts an ante of about 1/10 big bet, a little more at higher limits, before each hand. The dealer then gives each player two hole cards and one upcard. However, the bring-in is now posted by the highest upcard. Note that aces are always low in razz.
Many people consider razz primarily a game of catching cards. And to an extent, it's true! There is a ton of luck in razz, but there is nothing as profitable as a loose razz game. Razz strategy often seems fairly straightforward and simple (bet a good board, call with a good draw). However, if you understand a couple of basic concepts beyond this (that your opponents do not) you will have far the best of it.
To start with, follow a tight/aggressive approach. In a full ring game, don't play anything with a card higher than a 7. Just don't. (Of course, in shorthanded games, your starting requirements will have to loosen). You should usually raise with your starting hands, and only re-raise if you think you're ahead. The exception to these starting requirements would be if you have just a low door card, but only high cards are showing behind you -- if you have KT9 with the 9 up and are looking at a bunch of paint, raise that mother! Also, it is rarely correct to defend your bring-in, especially if you're up against multiple opponents. Sure the raiser might be stealing, but it's usually more costly than profitable to try and find out.
Remember that a made 8 is ahead of a perfectly smooth draw like 2345 on fifth, but a made 9 is often behind! If you're behind, call only if pot odds warrant. A hand like 34622 is behind 35678, but ahead of 46789. In each case, the made hand will likely bet, since he can clearly see that he is currently ahead. In the first case, he is, and it's a marginal pot odds call, while in the second he is ahead right now, but you are the money favorite, so a raise is in order (his bet appears correct to him but is really a big mistake -- this is where a lot of your razz profits will come from). The best way to get a feel for situations like those is to go to twodimes or pokerstove and run a bunch of sims.
No free cards!
Razz is sometimes played deuce to seven. Remember that you can get counterfeited by a straight -- be sure to take that into account.
Learn to recognize the nuts, which can often be clearly seen in razz (you know your 9-low on sixth can't be beat if your opponent is showing JTQ). Bet 'em if you get 'em.
Where to play Edit
- Full Tilt Poker
- (Planet Poker) - used to host a weekly razz tournament and have totally empty ring games, so apparently they took it out of their software.
- Commerce - Hellmuth's book claims that they spread high limit razz and mixed games there.
Print References Edit
- Sklansky, David. Sklansky on Poker. Henderson, NV: Two Plus Two Publishing, 1994. - Half of this book is a preexisting book Sklansky on Razz. The 2+2 verbiage makes it sound like razz is something important for every player to understand for theoretical reasons. Razz also plays an important role in the examples in Sklansky's seminal book The Theory of Poker.
- Hellmuth, Phil, Jr. Play Poker Like the Pros. The razz advice seems pretty good and in keeping with that offered by bholder above. Basically, don't enter pots without three cards seven or under (eight or under in some cirumstances) and don't be afraid to attack the antes and bring-in if your upcard looks good. All in all, there are about 22 pages of advice, which is more than you'll find just about anywhere else.
Discussion threads Edit
- Defending the Bring-In in Razz (Two Plus Two thread)
- Razz: defending the bring-in (Two Plus Two thread)
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