When I am playing cash games rather than tournaments, I usually multi-table, but when I do I usually have at least one Razz table open. I don’t know why I insist on playing the game since it can really be the most frustrating form of poker there is, however, I am overall quite profitable from it. There are several keys to playing Razz, particularly in cash games that will at least give you a chance to make money.
First of all, aggression is key. Even if someone raises you on 3rd street, it doesn’t mean they are going to win the hand and what it may mean, is that they are a building a pot that they cannot win. I make a lot of my money by calling players down and watching them ‘brick out’ until they finally just give it up on 6th or even 7th street. Most novice Razz players think that they have a great hand when they start out with A-2-3 and they do. However, if their next 3 cards are K-K-A, then it really doesn’t matter and you can scoop some big pots when this happens.
Having said that, the second thing is not get impatient and play 3 low cards instead of hands like Q-9-A where the Ace is showing. The tendency with Razz in cash games is to get impatient and start calling raises with hands like 6-7-9 or 2-3-J. There are times when you can get away with this, but if you draw even 1 high card or pair up, you will have to abort mission and fold. Three cards 8 or lower is a good rule of thumb for starting hands and three cards 7 or lower is excellent.
Another key to Razz is being able to shut these hands down when it is obvious you are beaten. I play against a lot of Razz players who will not fold even though they have bricked out after starting with a good hand. 2-3-4 is nice, but if you follow that with J-Q then you are in trouble and have to draw 2 perfect cards on 6th and 7th street to have a chance in the hand. Don’t be too stubborn.
There are some other keys to Razz that you need to become familiar with if you are going to play the game on a regular basis. If anyone has an interest in Razz, please shoot me an email at chris@internetpokercoach to discuss. As always, good luck at the tables and see you at the WSOP!
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