I played quite a number of Razz games over the weekend. Both in cash games, Razz tournaments, and of course, during HORSE, and I noticed that most guys you will com up against are really weak in Razz. Especially in HORSE tournaments/cash games, you will find guys that really are poor players in this frustrating game. So, if you can exploit this weakness, it will improve not only your Razz play, but your mixed game play dramatically.
So what is the key to Razz?? Probably not letting it drive you insane is the most important thing. If you have ever played Razz, you know that you can start out with a hand like A-2-3-4 and then hit K-K-K. It happens, get used to it. I busted in a tournament the other night because I had 7-5-4-3-2 and the other guy had 7-5-4-3-A, if you can believe that!
Here is my basis for playing Razz hands unless I have a reason to change it (blinds are big and I am short stacked in a tournament, etc)1. Look for all 3 starting cards to be 8 or less. Obviously, the lower the better. 2. When you play a hand, play it hard and GENERALLY stick with it until the river. Razz hands can change in the blink of an eye and unless you draw really bad cards (2 or 3 high cards in a row, pairing or tripping up) you should play the hand through once you have started playing it. You need to pay attention to your opponents cards that are showing, but don’t get overly scared of them. Sometimes his up cards look great, but he is only pairing his hole cards. As long as you have a reasonable low yourself, it is usually worth taking the chance to see the river. You may find that where you thought you were facing 5-4-3-2-A, you were really up against K-4-3-2-A and your 8-7-5-4-3 wins by a mile.
The only other key to Razz is patience. You need a lot of it to avoid playing dumb hands. Yes, you can get loose and wild in NL Hold’em and hit some monsters, if you try that much in Razz, you are dead meat. No matter how much you like to bluff J-9-8 is just not a good Razz starting hand! Play tight and smart and you will have a huge edge over the other players at the table.
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