Monday, January 08, 2007


I like Razz. Does that make me strange and unusual? I probably already fit that description bur in some ways I think it fits this game. The gut wrenching that takes place when you start with a superior hand only to hit blank and bricks and lose to a donkey who calls you down with a made queen is incredible. Those same player pay you off when you hand is gold.

One of the things about Razz is that you don’t have to have a great starting hand to win. You can have a 5 up with 2 big cards down and make people think that you have a hand. At the same time, other players will do the same thing and try to get you to lay down your hand when the have bricked. In the end, winning at this game isn’t really a question of the cards you get but is based on the reads you get from your opponents.

One thing that I try to do as early as possible is to put every player at the table into categories. This is no different then my approach to hold’em but is very important in Razz. Calling stations and chasers can be the bain of your existence. They will call down with their marginal hands because the have a chance to make a 7 low if they hit runner runner and beat your 8. They will also pay you off so you must watch the board closely to insure that you have them beat. Raising these players when you have an inferior hand because of your hole cards will not push them away.

LAGs, like in any other poker game, like to raise it with any good up card. They will push with any apparent draws and try to move you off your hand. Set these players up and be willing to call down with what may appear to be a lesser hand. They will bet hard when they know they’re beat and try to run you off. Look at their betting patterns to see if they give away information.

The tight players are easy to play with. Don’t be afraid to play them with one blank behind. If the board hits them bad they will fold to pressure. You may be able to see a free card on later streets if you raise back at them early when both of you have similar up cards. If you hit a blank get out when they bet because they will be sitting well. Also, don’t be afraid to raise it up when it looks like they may have paired up a low card. Test them to make sure they like there hand.

The solid players will play different combinations of cards and play them in a way that makes it hard to know what they hold. Don’t be afraid to re-raise players pre-flop to find information. You can do this with a good hand as well as a marginal hand so as to disguise your holdings. Many players will assume that you will only re-raise with all cards under a 5 or 6 put doing this with some higher cards may pay you well when it looks like you could have bricked the board.

This will work in both cash and tourney Razz but changes need to be made as the game indicates. Some of the moves you can make early in a tourney may need to be ignored in later rounds. At the same time, aggression with good up cards will win a lot of blinds in the later stages of a tourney. And finally, Don’t be afraid to push your great draws because being aggressive is always better than being passive, or weak/tight.

I’m sure I didn’t hit everything here but I think it looks good in a nut shell.


I did play some Razz over the weekend at the .50/1 and 1/2 levels. I didn’t see much difference in skill level and also saw many of the same players playing each. I had one small losing session of about $5 but had winning sessions the rest of the time. I got lucky in one hand when two guys were chasing my made 8 with them both having great draws. Neither hit and I scooped a $30 pot in .50/1. What they failed to realize was that many of they outs they needed were already used in each others hands.

I also had a couple of cashes in MTTs, Razz and hold’em, but not for big money. In the hold’em tourney I was above average right at the bubble when the button made a play at the blinds. I held AQ suited and re-raised 4x of his bet trying to take it down. He called. The flop was 1010x and I was unsure what to do. I wanted to push but being on the bubble I wimped out. He bet and I folded after using all the clock and watching to see if I had moneyed. I wasn’t crippled but had a smaller stack. I eventually went out with KJ vs. 1010.

The Razz tourney was OK except for bring it in 7 of 8 times with the antes at 200. I was in 6th place before that run and 13th when it was over. The bets were so big that I pushed with the first hand that looked good and got busted. Without that small run of bad luck I could have final tabled but it’s hard to play Razz when you keep getting Ks and Qs for you up cards.


I’ve read where many of the great tourney players out there support their tourneys by being winning cash game players. I guess it’s time to continue my efforts in the cash area so that I don’t have to count on tourneys to supply and build my bankroll. I’ve said this before but it’s starting to sink in. I spent more hours playing cash games in the past week than I had in the previous month. I also saw the increase that went with it so color me green for money cuz I like the graphs that go up.

By changing to Razz have I given up on the other games? No. It is a simple question of making some money. The player pool in Razz is not as good so I am going to the place I make money with the biggest return. I made about 15 bucks an hour while I single tabled Razz and played tournaments at the same time. If I can play at that rate for an extended time then making money should be easy.

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