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Filler Up

Another winning day! Why, that must be two in three weeks! Do I sense a streak?!

Probably not.

It's been meager pickins online for me lately. I've resolved myself to losing $10 to $15 a night. No, I'm not broken. I haven't given up on winning. I just have been hardened to losing. I won't entirely blame anything either. My game isn't atrociious, although I could plug some holes, like loosening up when I'm losing. My luck isn't the only thing wrong, but I did suffer a long spell of lost coin tosses.

Yesterday, however, those things never got to be a factor. I was playing well. I made several calls, including a couple that were almost perfectly correct. In one instance, I pushed pre-flop with AJ, knowing that a late position caller would call with "AT or A9". He had A8. In another, I called an all-in preflop with AK, after calling a player as having TT. He had JJ. Whether I should've made the call is another story (I lost the hand). But I had a good grasp on what people were playing and how they were playing them. Granted, those two examples aren't anything spectacular. BUT, those are just the ones I remember easily and could verify.

The night started off with some 1/2 Razz on Full Tilt. I ran my $47 up to about $70 before cutting out of there. Razz is a new favorite of mine. Most of the time, I was playing heads-up or short handed. The key, at least when short handed, is to put a lot of pressure on your competition. I'm sure there are many players who are willing to call all the way down with a J or T high. BUT, they are the exception. AND, when its heads up, its easy to exploit the boards and their timidness.

As an example, I'd like to go through a Razz hand and discuss why I might play otherwise poor hands with the opportunity to capitalize later in the hand. This applies mostly to heads-up and three or four handed games. I can't speak for anything higher than that, because usually the tables are short handed, and besides, that was what I was playing (so successfully) yesterday.

You are dealt A8/K. Your opponent is dealt xx/9. So far, it looks like you are beat, right? So, you bring it in and he flat calls. Good, free card. If he raises, you can fold. No sense in chasing what looks like a lost cause. Or you can call and hope to get lucky. But let's assume he simply calls. You get dealt a 9. He gets dealt a J. So, now he STILL has you beat. He can see from the board that he has you beat. But often, he'll check. And even if he bets, you can call here. His original call indicates that he isn't sitting on A2/5. Slow playing just doesn't seem to happen at Razz. It may be the level that I'm playing, but I suggest that you always assume that no one is slowplaying until you have reason to suspect otherwise (like a A234 board where the player continuously checks, or when he shows a slowplay in an earlier hand). So, you "foolishly" call his raise, even though you are behind. The next card is crucial. If you hit a good card, you can smile. However, if he hits a bad card, you can officially dance.

Let's go through a couple of scenarios. Remember, the cards so far are: (YOU) A8/K9. (HIM) xx/9J.

Scenario #1, The Fold
- He is dealt any card from A to 7 and bets out. Unless you are dealt a real low, like 3 or 4, you may consider it time to fold. This is a fold situation. Now, the A through 7 is slighly less than half the cards in the deck, but no one said Razz was going to be easy. You are going to have to take some chances early on and fold when it looks like you are dead. will need to catch a couple of perfect cards for any chance of winning, while he catches two bricks. . So, give it up boys.

Scenario #2, Taking the Hint- Let's say that he gets a card between A and 7 and doesn't bet out? Hmm... Well, this is likely a sign that he has paired up with his hole cards. For instance, if he slows down once he is dealt xx/9J2, you can bet, because he probably has a x2/9J2. Assuming your board doesn't pair and you are dealt anything 6 or under, including an A, go for it. That's right. Even if you paired a hole card, i.e. A8/9JA, you can bet out. Why? Because betting just increased (in my case from 1 to 2), and he now shows a sign of weakness. If he did pair cards, he will likely fold. If he calls, no problem. Now, your 2 bet isn't about whether you have the best hand. You are really betting on the next card, or more accurately, whether the next card will hurt him more than it hurts you.

Scenario #3, The Easy Choice- Now, this one is fun. He gets dealt a J, or 9, pairing his board, showing you that he has a pair. As long as you are not dealt an exposed pair (i.e., a 9 or J), then bet out. He will more often than not fold. I caution you, however, if you are dealt a T or higher. Some players will call you here, because they expect not to pair again AND you clearly have an inadequate hand if your opponent can get anything going and you continue to get crap cards. But, once again, when in doubt, bet. At the very least, you may win on the next card when your opponent catches another brick.

Scenario #4, Taking Advantage- This is similar to #3, but warrants its own inspection. If your opponent is dealt a Q or K here, you can bet out, unless your board paired or you are dealt a card over 8. Remember, 8 is great, 9 is crap. Your opponent will be showing xx/9JQ. You will be showing xx/K98. 8 may not look good there, but you are showing a draw to a 9-high hand. There is no way he is going to put you on a pair if you bet out. Meanwhile, he is drawing to a J high board. Most players will freeze up in his spot and consider the hand lost. Easy pickins! Now, if you are dealt a card higher than a 8, just check and hope for a good card coming up. If he bets out with his Q high, consider calling. The pot had been built up and you know he is drawing to poop, even if you are drawing to poop as well.

That is how I'd play fifth street. On sixth, I go through much of the same processes. The difference is that if I don't have a decent draw to a 9 (or sometimes ten) low and he does have one, I'll just check it. No use throwing good money after bad. I'll also fold if he suddenly livens up and bets.

By the river, I know that I have to call unless I'm sitting on a low that involves a pair, or anything higher than a J high. Sometimes I'll call with J high, because your opponent may be just as aggressive as you. At the very least, you can see what he is playing with for a cheap $2, after investing more than $5 already anyway.

Ah, that was exhausting. I didn't even know I'd be writing about Razz today. I thought I was going to drop a NLHE You Decide. Maybe for later.

Aside from Razz, I also took 1st in a single-table SNG, bubbled in a 6-person with GCox, lost a 2-table SNG, and took 2nd in another 6-person SNG, for a net win. The 1st place was a $10 game, and the rest were $5, so I can't complain. When I asked G if I played poorly in my bubble finish, he thought not. Good, it isn't just me.

Have a good day everyone. I'm living New York, but feeling Atlantic City.

posted by Jordan @ 9:42 AM,


At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Razz makes my pee-pee hurt.

Damn that was quite a post. I'm gonna have to read it again when I get home just to absorb it all..

At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post. I agree Jordan, in Razz you must embrace the Aggression Monkey and strike when your opponent shows weakness.


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