Pairs In Razz
Pairs in Razz are one of the things that most players struggle with, especially when they are first learning the game. Razz pairs can be playable in certain circumstances but generally pairs in Razz are pretty bad. This article will discuss how to play pairs in Razz and provide you with some insight into how you can recognize if your opponent has paired up or not. Hopefully by the end of it you will have a much better grasp of Razz pairs and feel more confident playing hands in which you pair up.
Razz Pairs – Has you opponent made a pair?
Knowing if your opponent has made a pair or not can be a little tricky if you are playing against good thinking players but weaker players will expose their hand for what it is without really knowing they are doing it. The number of times I have seen this happen when playing on Pokerstars is insane.
You have raised with a hand like 2-4|6 and got one caller who shows a low card. 4th street is dealt and you don’t catch great say the dealer deals you a 9 but deals your opponent a 4 or 5. You opponent is first to act, as he has the best hand showing, but chooses to check! Why on earth would anyone check in this situation with such a strong visible hand? usually because the card they have caught has paired up with one of their hole cards. If they hadn’t paired up why on earth would they not bet? If you see this happen then make sure you go on the attack straight away. Usually players who are multi tabling are really bad when it comes to giving off this tell.
A more subtle way of determining the likelihood that your opponent has paired one of his hole cards is as follows. On 3rd street you can assume that the higher the exposed card of a player who has entered the pot the stronger and therefore lower their hole cards are. If they then catch a A, 2 or 3 on 4th street there is a heck of a good chance they have paired up one of their hole cards.
Exposed cards play a big part in Razz and no more so than when trying to work out if your opponent has made a pair in his hand. For example you have raised with a 3 exposed, two players at the table have folded with 3’s exposed and a player with an Ace exposed has entered the pot with you. Your opponent then catches a 3 on 4th street. In this situation you can be certain that he has improved his hand because the other 3’s are either in your hand or folded already.
At this point it probably goes without saying but if you catch good and your opponent makes a visible pair then you sure as hell better be betting into them and forcing them out of the pot!
Razz Pairs – How To Play Pairs In Razz
Lets now take a look at how to play pairs in Razz when you are the one who makes a pair. There are two ways you can pair up when playing Razz; visible and hidden. Visible pairs are far far worse than hidden pairs because your opponent can be sure you have made a pair. Hidden pairs are actually much easier to play. The next example will show you why.
You have opened the pot with 2-3|A and got one caller who has a 4 exposed. 4th street is dealt and you catch a 3 whilst your opponent catches a Q. You are in the visible lead and have what looks like to your opponent an extremely strong hand. In this type of situation even though you have made a pair you should be betting into you opponent and representing the strength that he thinks you have.
One of the biggest problems players face is when they make Razz pairs. In most situations pairs really kill your equity but there are times when it is ok to continue chasing. For example you have raised from early position with A-2|4 and got two callers who both have low cards exposed. You catch a 4 on 4th street which visibly pairs your hand. There is bet and a call in front of you. In this spot you can profitably chase as you are about a 3/1 underdog. You are getting more than 3/1 from the pot so calling is fine. Chasing when you make a pair and you are not drawing to the wheel is a very bad idea, especially in a multi way pot. In fact chasing when you aren’t sure if you hit you will make the best hand is a bad idea period.