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8 Game Strategy – Part VII – Razz

Razz Poker Strategy

Last week, we jumped right into the No-Limit Hold’em portion of our series on 8-Game strategy, totally forgetting about Razz. That’s not surprising as Razz is a game that many poker players would like to skip. However, if you want to be successful in mixed games, you must learn Razz.

Razz is Seven Card Stud played for low only and there are no qualifiers. As such, the wheel is the lowest hand. While it is somewhat straightforward to play, there are a few tips we can give you to improve your Razz play.

Pay Attention to Folded Cards

In any Stud based game, you will want to pay close attention to folded upcards. In Razz, it is important for two reasons. First, if you notice a lot of high cards are being folded, then you know that your opponents are packing big hands.

Otherwise, folded upcards will help you narrow potential hands from your opponents. This could become important in situations where hands are close. For example, if you have a weak 7, like 7-6-5, but you see that multiple sixes and fives were folded, then you know your opponent showing a seven draw may be drawing to an eight instead.

Play Strong Boards Aggressively

One thing that will help you improve your winnings in Razz is aggressive board play. Players are able to see four out of seven cards in your hand and they should be constantly trying to put you on a hand. When it looks like your hand is strong, such as two or three low cards in the first five, you need to be coming out firing.

Razz Poker

Aggressive board play will help push weaker hands out, and when you do get called down, you can put your opponents on hands. Often, when a player catches bad and the other player good, a bet will take down the pot.

A Low Card Check on Fourth or Fifth Probably Means a Pair

You have an opponent that completes with a six. On Fourth Street, they catch an ace and check action to you. Odds are that they have picked up a pair and slowed down. Many bad players will check down action when they pair up one of their hole cards. They are neglecting the fact that they should be playing the strength of their board rather than the overall strength of their hand.

Pay attention to this as they are telegraphing their hand to you. You can opt to be aggressive and try to push them out, or take off a card to try and improve your hand.

Watch for Boardlocking Situations

If you are new to Razz, you may not know what the term boardlocked means. When a player is boardlocked, that means their hand cannot improve enough to beat your already existing hand. For example, let’s say you have a 7 perfect on Fifth Street against a player with 10-9-8 on Fifth Street.

In this case, your opponent is boardlocked and the best they can do is make an eight-low. They cannot beat you. Many boardlocking situations will happen on Sixth Street as opposed to Fifth. When this happens, you want to pick up the aggression. You can’t lose, so try and build the pot.

Don’t Fold on the River to a Single Bet in Most Scenarios

Many players will automatically fold to a river bet in Razz if their opponent has a strong board or if they have a weak hand like a 9 or 10. This is generally going to be a bad play. If you have already called down to the river and have any type of hand that could potentially win, call one bet.

In most cases, you will have pot odds to make the call. There are times where you will pick off a bluff with this play. Other times, you will donate a bet to your opponent. If anything, you will prove that you can’t be pushed out of a pot to a bluff, and this could prevent others from bluffing you in the future.

Next week, we will conclude our series by looking at Pot-Limit Omaha. See you then!

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