Razz strategy and tipsArticle By: RuffPoker.com
Razz poker is a relatively new game particularly of the online variety and for this reason alone is being optimized by clever players who see Texas and Omaha tables being saturated with more and more players who know the basic concepts, strategies and betting techniques required to more than hold their own. There just aren’t as many opportunities to find weak players (‘fish’) at tables playing Texas and Omaha as there are at Razz.
Similar to seven card stud in format it does ‘play’ totally differently because of the types of hands that win. First because it is the low hand that takes the pot, second because to make a low hand you do not have to worry about, nor consider, pairs, suite or connection.
In razz poker there are also no blinds so the action is triggered by an initial bet or ‘ante’ which every player puts in and then subsequently by each round of betting where the person ‘under the gun’ is decided by the cards shown on the table. This makes for a fascinating game where strategy and betting knowledge are of paramount importance.
In games like razz poker where players make decisions based on the fact that they can see their opponent’s cards there is great benefit to card counting, reading the board, and working out probability. The skill involved in these disciplines then takes players a long way to being successful. Certainly at the initial stages of the hand vital information can be gleaned from seeing your opponent’s cards and then by assessing how they react. It is crucial that you pay close attention to these face-up cards, not only held by players still in the hand but also held by those that have folded. After all they may have had the cards you are looking for. The probability of hitting a card can be much more accurately deduced in razz poker as opposed to other games of poker. As such you can more accurately make the ‘correct’ fold, call and raise decisions.
Card counting is a particularly important strategic element of razz poker, as we have discussed largely because you can base decisions on some degree of ‘fact’, whereas for example in Texas holdem you have no idea what any of your opponent’s cards are. Keeping track of all the cards that have been shown helps you to ‘predict’ what you will ‘hit’ and from here predict what your opponents are holding. If you can accurately do all this, you have a much better chance of working out the correct pot odds from which to base a fold, call or raise decision.
It is often said that the best way to play poker is in the mind of your opponent. Think about what cards they have shown the table, consider what concealed cards they might be hiding. Ultimately this will help you work out possible hands they currently hold and from there the possible ‘outs’ that help them. Take for example you are dealt 3,10 (faced down) then A,2,6 and your opponent has A,2 (faced down) then 3,10,6. You both have the same cards but as you have knowledge of different hidden cards your perception of the hand will differ considerably.
Razz poker requires elaborate strategy and psychology. You must learn to read opponents and play hands where you are dealt high pictures, just as aggressively as you would when you are dealt aces and two’s. You have to tune your brain to the fact that nobody knows that you have that K,J in your hand. As such aggressive betting when you are drawing dead may pressure those with lower hands and more outs, to fold. Try to gauge your opponent’s style and betting aggression because accompanied with the knowledge of your opponents cards makes for a winning combination.