3rd street starting requirements for Razz

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3rd street starting requirements for Razz Empty 3rd street starting requirements for Razz

Post  PoWdA on Tue Feb 05, 2008 6:20 pm

I wrote this for another forum I am on and decided to post it here. I know a few here dabble in Razz. I have "dabbled" in Razz more than I could ever talk about. I wrote this advice for some players on another forum. Enjoy!

I see posts about what hands to play and they start with something like "I like to play (A2)6 but not (A7)8" or similar advice along those lines. The truth is that your starting hand requirements change depending on a lot more than just your own cards; your opponents up cards are a main determining factor in what you play in Razz.

The easiest way to illustrate this is with a simple example. Say we are holding (89)J and our opponents up cards are KKKKQQQ. We raise here, no matter what, we are ahead. We raise with any jack here as well. We can also raise with a combination like (JJ)9 as we are ahead as far as our opponents know. This is pretty obvious but I am trying to start from the top here.
As a side note know that if one of your opponents with a K or Q up call your raise they are most likely perfect in the hole, the higher the upcard, the better they are in the hole.

One concept that is looked over very often are your opponents door cards. To make it simple: the more cards you need that are showing the more inclined you should be to fold and the more that pair your cards the more inclined you should be to raise or call (trap). You should always be looking for an edge in any poker game. In stud format games you have a lot of information and you should use it. This is how we use our opponenets door cards against them in Razz.


Now to take this concept further lets take a more realistic example that you will actually encounter often. Say we have (48 )3 and our opponents door cards are Q, 4, 9, 4, 3, 2. Now although we might be behind to one of the lower door cards notice the upcards that pair ours. This is a very very good position to be in. Our chances of pairing are much lower now making our hand much stronger. Here lets say the Q brings in and the 2 and 3 fold leaving a 4, 9, and 4 to our left. Here we need to raise. Some would say call or fold but realistically good hands are hard to come by, for you and your opponents, and the fact that your risk of pairing right now is very low you need to raise for a few reasons:

1) You have a strong door card and your hole cards are not too shabby.

2) By raising 2 open 4's behind us we are showing strength and our opponents may think our hand is even stronger than it is.

3) The 2 open fours may not have much and we can take this pot right here.

4) If we are re-raised we have gained information that someone has a big hand. We call and hope they brick as well and we catch well, if we brick we can usually peel one as our chances of pairing on 5th are low ( open cards remember?), 5th is where we decide to get out or keep going.
I have learned that remembering what cards were open on 3rd can be the deciding factor on wether or not you peel one on 4th. The next time you are unsure about wether or not to peel one off try and re-call what cards wre present on 3rd to see if your outs are clean.

Now lets take our same hole cards, (48 )3 and make our opponents up cards, A, 2, J, 6, 9, 8. Here we are in the opposite spot. Sure our 8 is paired but look at the A the 2 and the 6. Those are our outs! In this spot our hand is very weak as we can plainly see some of our outs are gone (not to mention what they have in the hole) and we don't even have the lowest hand possible! Now depending on position and action we can play this hand a few ways. Say we are to the left of the J (the bring in, first to act) I say put this in he muck. Now if we are to the right of the A (2nd to last to act) and all fold we can bring it in for a raise. If we are called or raised we are still not dead, just proceed with caution, we know for a fact we are missing outs. If we are to the right of the A and there are limpers we can limp as well and play accordingly.

The point I am trying to illustrate is that a key determining factor in what we play in Razz relies on all of the information we can gather. The big point brought up here: The more cards you need (outs) that you can see the worse your hand, the more pairing your cards the better. In a game with not many edges everything counts. Pay attention to those door cards!
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Post  Scrupboy on Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:05 pm

Nice post PoWda!

I would have to say Razz is one of my weaker games and a lot of it has to do with memory of cards. This is also why I am not a strong stud player. I don't seem to retain the mucked cards well and play with somewhat a less informed decision on 4ht and 5th street. Now this is primary online play as I don't usually just play a single Razz table. Most of the time I will be playing multiple tables and act based on what I see at the table at that given time. While playing live, I do tend to retain these mucked cards a little better and make sounder decisions. You just don't find too many live Razz games going.

I do enjoy the vision that you present in your post. Very good reading.
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Post  PoWdA on Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:19 pm

Scrupboy wrote: You just don't find too many live Razz games going.

Trust me I know.. I had to go to the WSOP and pony up $1500 for a live Razz game. The only other times I have played live was one at the MGM during a HORSE game and in home games.
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Post  Mondogarage on Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:20 pm

Very nice and informative post, PoWdA, thanks! I've been trying to implement some of the concepts I've picked up from your posts in my game, and it has helped -- just need to play more razz now.
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