Playing Trash Hands in Razz Poker
Razz poker is one of the most straightforward games in all of poker. As such, the game allows for a lot of opportunities to bluff. Much of bluffing in Razz is dependent on one’s board. Often, you will start off with hands in Razz that are unplayable but can still take down pots in the right situation. Today, we will look at playing trash hands profitably in Razz.
High Door Card With Babies
Some will argue that a high door card with two babies is not a trash hand, but it is not a prime starting hand either. These hands are trickier to play because you’re telegraphing your hand. The exception is if you’re the bring-in. However, if you have a 10 up and a king bring’s it in, a call from you tells everyone your hand.
This is good in a way because if you catch low on Fourth Street and your opponents catch bad, you can represent your hand. Players coming in with their own trash hand or catch cards that have them drawing worse than you will get out the way to a bet. Board awareness is crucial to making this play work.
Trash Starters With Low Door Card
You’ll often get trash starter hands in Razz such as K-10-6, Q-J-3, 10-9-2, J-10-4, and so forth. The key component in these examples is that your door card will always be a low card. Depending on the situation, you can potentially play this for an outright steal on either Third or Fourth Street.
On Third Street, you can generally steal the pot if you can come in for a completion against high board cards. If your opponents are showing cards above eight, a completion from you will take down the pot a high percentage of the time. When it doesn’t, you then know that your opponents are playing another form of trash hand.
If you don’t complete with a three, you may still be able to steal the pot on Fourth Street if your opponents catch bad. Let’s assume a 10 brings it in and he gets called by a 4. You call to see Fourth Street. The 10 catches a jack and the 4 catches a king. If you catch anything under nine, a bet will generally take the pot down right here.
All High Cards
There are times where you may opt to play high cards in Razz. This is the most speculative holding you can start with but sometimes you will win with them. In most cases, you’ll start with a door card of 9 or 10 when playing all high cards. This works best because it gives the illusion you’re starting with two babies in the hole.
You’ll approach this much the same way as you would with a high door card and babies. You’ll attack players that catch badly on Fourth Street. You won’t go past Fourth on this type of hand that often, so be prepared to slow down or dump the hand on later streets.
Don’t Go Overboard Playing Trash Hands
Finally, don’t go crazy playing trash hands in Razz. The best place to play these hands is when you find yourself in position against the other players based on the bring-in. Also, when you’re against players that are particularly tight, you can consider using this play.
Also, don’t get involved in raising wars or give a ton of action with these hands. If you’re in position and facing a completion or more, you can safely dump these hands without spending a lot of money.
Lastly, tread carefully on Fifth Street and beyond. By Fifth, you will be able to put them on a hand and you know how far you can represent your hand. If someone is sitting with a made king and their lowest second card showing is a 7, you will not be able to represent well with a 10-8 as you at best have a ten with an eight redraw. They have a potential king with seven redraw.
Board awareness is crucial in making these moves work. Playing trash hands is like bluffing in any other form of poker. It will not always work, but it can help you pick up pots you would not normally win.