How To Play | Razz Strategy
Razz Poker Strategy
The most difficult thing about Razz Poker strategy might be remembering to build a terrible hand...the worse, the better. Unlike traditional poker scoring, the best Razz hand you can build is an unsuited Ace-2-3-4-5. Each player is dealt seven cards during the round, and the scoring hand is the worst - which in this game is the best - five cards. A good starting strategy is to develop some rules for tight play and some decisions about when to break out with some more aggressive moves to throw off your opponents.
Getting a Good Start
There are no guarantees, but a decent starting hand has any combination of unsuited cards with values of 7 or less and no pairs. Take a look at your opponents' cards that are showing. If you see a lot of cards that are lower than yours, fold. If your cards are lower but not ideal, a shaky hand can be improved.
Calculating the Odds
A lot of players enter poker games with little awareness of the odds. You can see the up cards of the other players and the discards. Discards are important pieces of information. Dead cards can no longer influence your hand. Knowing what's in the discard pile also tells you what's left in play. It is absolutely crucial to keep track of what cards are still in play.
Be a Hard Read
As in any other type of poker, there is a psychological component to play. Good players read the table without getting read. Poker tells are not just a cliché, and most people telegraph exactly what you need to know. It's more difficult to spot online tells, but the more you watch and document, the more likely you are to notice. Players tend to develop playing habits; these habits will become easier to spot if you start by playing with the same group of people each time and progress from there.
If you have low cards showing, go for it. You might not win, but a big bluff might drive more timid players to fold. The key to good bluffing strategy is simple; don't overuse it, and don't change your behavior so your opponents can tell you're bluffing.
The bottom line is that sometimes you lose and sometimes you win, no matter how good or bad you are. Be gracious, win or lose, and people will always welcome you at the table.
Razz poker can be a lot of fun to play. The player sure to stay on top is the one who has good self-control, pays attention to detail, and who understands the game and the scoring best. A good mix of tight and loose play with some occasional bravado thrown in is always a good strategy in poker to psyche out your opponents. Poker requires both performance and analysis to win consistently, but experience doesn't always take the pot. Even the pros can be bested by a newbie with an innate understanding of the game, the psychology, the scoring, and the odds.