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Let's talk Razz. Since my recent Razz posts and my heavy endorsement of Razz at Full Tilt, more than one person has told me that they've picked up the game and had good results. I played a little 8/16 and 3/6 (very shorthanded) tonight, and had great results, netting about $120 in 15 minutes while waiting for a PLO MTT to start.

I truly love Razz. The game has a subtlety to it that is unmatched in any other games. Hold'em will always be the kingpin of poker, but Razz is the drinker of the, a subtle drinker...think Al.

Let's look at two hands to see the vast advantage some simple knowledge will give you over the common Razz donkeys.

We are sitting at $8/16 Razz, with $1.50 antes. For "intimidation" purposes, you bought in for $400 and are now up to $412. You are second chipleader. No one has impressed you yet.

I am dealt 7A/6. Igot brings it in for $2 with a Jack showing. A nine and a jack fold. I raise, because I have a Felicia-level hand, basically 3 cards 7 or under (my standards to play are 8 or under). You are ok with winning the blinds, as they amount to $11 of easy money. Soes, a player I sort of know to get into a lot of hands, calls with an Ace showing. Everyone else folds.

Realistically, this is what I know: (a) he doesn't have a 5 and under or else he'd raise, (b) he likely doesn't have a 6 and under, so I'm possibly ahead, (c) he very well might have a dead card underneath, like a T2, because frankly, that happens more than you think at 8/16.

The turn is:

HighOnPoker: 7A/66
Soes: XX/A2

That looks terrible. I freakin' paired and he has two ideal cards showing. So, what will logically happen is, he'll bet and I'll fold. Well, he does bet, but I decide to call. The next card could change everything, and we are still at the $8 betting stage. If I hit another low an he whiffs, I can take him for bets the rest of the way. If I whiff, I fold. It's just too early to give up this hand, especially when I give him no faith for good cards underneath.

HighOnPoker: 7A/664

Here's the beauty. We are now essentially even. We are both hoping to draw to one more good card. His Jack-high is no good. My 66 is no good. We both need that next card.

He bets $16. Now, the way I see it is, there is already a lot of dough in that pot. There is $59 in the pot with his bet, and I have to call $16 for a hand that is essentially the equivalent of war. He gets one card, I get one card and whoever has the better one wins! I like them odds, as I used to dominate War when we played it at home (its one of my specialties along with PL 5-card draw).

HighOnWar: 7A/664A
Soes: XX/A2J2

Okay, terrific. I have two pair. How come this never happens to me when I play stud? Fortunately, this is the one instance in which this street was not War. I now have an opportunity to bluff. We are both still drawing to one card, first of all. His pair hurt him just as much as mine hurt me. However, my board is very deceptive. Any advanced player in his position might be able to piece together that I had an Ace underneath, considering my initial aggression, but most likely, he has a J in the hole anyway. Players are just too loose and stupid sometimes. Not all of them, mind you, but you can suss out the bad ones pretty quickly.

Soes checks, I bet, he folds, and I win a hammerific $72.

And now, for the intermission:

Welcome back. Let's take a look at one more Razz hand before we call it a day. Same table, but I've dipped a bit to $395. I am still the second big stack though. Me and my five opponents post the $1.50 ante.

A King brings it in for $2, and a ten calls. First off, this guy with the ten is an idiot. He's got two players behind him with 2s showing, and he's calling out of position with a ten? Just mail me your $2 and save us the rake. Moseley is next and has a 2 showing. He bets $8. I'm right behind him with 56/2, another Feliciable hand. After me are a Q and a K, so its really me and Moseley squaring off with 2s. He's the player with more chips than me, but that doesn't bother me in the least since its a limit game. I just use my stack to intimidate min buyers, which is a whole other story. If I have 3 under 6, I'm probably ahead. Even if I'm not, the next card is nothing but possibilities. I raise to $16. The Q and K fold, but, now get this, the TEN calls! $14 cold! With a god damn TEN! Moseley calls also, but notably doesn't raise, so I've ruled out A3 and probably anything 5 and under.

Moseley: XX/28
HighOnPoker: 56/29

Okay. So, TEN likely has two really low cards beneath. Either that or he's "special." I figure I am definitely behind Moseley. Oddly, he checks first, which should have been a hint to me that he already had an 8. Otherwise, any self-respecting player in his position would be out. I check anyway, and so does TEN.

Moseley: XX/28K
HighOnPoker: 56/299

Not good. Suddenly TEN is in the lead?! He doesn't wait a moment and bets out $16. Moseley is a little bitch and folds. He definitely paired the 8. I am behind, but how behind am I? If he was playing the Ten in the first place, I'd assume he had A2 beneath. If not that, A3 would be the next most likely. He sees the messed up boards and knows our hesitation to bet so he takes the lead. I know what's up too. I'm drawing to a 9, which so far looks good if he misses the next card. Also, I really have a feeling he paired the Ace. I call.

HighOnPoker: 56/2993

I hit my 9! And at best, he has a 9 as well. My next card is a 6, and thats low enough to make me feel confident. I'm still eying him for a pair of Aces. He bets and I call, because he could have me beat. In the unlikely event that he was loose enough to play a Ten showing with two low cards that are not an Ace, I do want to minimize my losses somewhat.

HighOnPoker: 56/2993/9

I have a 96 low. Not too bad. Who knows what he has. I am hesitant about what to do until he checks to me. Then I easily check. I win $120 for my trouble.

And what were TEN's other cards. Well, Full Tilt mixes up the cards at showdown, believe it or not, so I don't know exactly. But I do know that the three cards were T, 4, and 3. So, he probably started with 34/T. What a tool! He paired and then hit the Ace and then bluffed at the pot because I was passive and had paired 9s. Also, he was ahead of me on that particular street, my 99 to his 44. But I called him down, confident that a 9 would carry me through. It was definitely a risky hand, and looking back, I almost question my play a bit, but overall, the tipping point was his willingness to play a Ten. Anyone who would play a Ten to a reraise are going to give away their money. Let's call TENLOVER exhibit A.

I believe that is enough for right now. Hopefully, you see the benefit and fun that can be had by playing a variety of games. After all, are you a Hold'em player or a poker player?

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:14 PM,


At 1:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. I'm going to go play some razz.

At 8:35 AM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...

I think I'm going to get into playing more Razz. I have to practice reading boards and thinking things through, though, so I'm probably going to hang out at the lower limits until I get the hang of that.

At 9:15 AM, Blogger TripJax said...

Either that or he's "special."

HaHa. Good stuff.

At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did someone have the high end of the Straight Flush?

Nice hand.

At 3:23 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Actually, he had the Th, but nothing else. He even typed, "I wish I could use only one card."


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