Razz Starting Hands

This Razz starting hands article will cover which hands to play in Razz and which hands not to play. We intend to cover basic Razz starting hand strategy which is based upon what we have learned from two of the best Razz poker books around. ‘Play Razz Poker To Win’ by Mitchell Gogert and ‘Sklansky On Poker’ written by poker legend David Sklansky. Both books cover Razz starting hands in depth and provide readers with viable and effective Razz strategy. Lets now take a look at which hands to play when playing Razz.

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Hands To Play In Razz

When David Sklansky talks about which hands to play in Razz he classifies starting hands into four main categories. Excellent hands, good hands, fair hands and poor hands. He then goes on to explain which hands fall into which categories (you can see this below). It’s a great way to get to grips with Razz starting hands if you’re new to the game and not sure about the strength of your starting hands.

Excellent Hands are hands which start with 3 cards that could potentially make a wheel. For example 4-3-A, 5-4-3 or 3-2-A.

Good Hands are hands which have three low cards that could potentially make a 6 low. Example: 6-3-2, 6-2-A and 6-3-A

Fair Hands which are hands that can make a 7 or 8 low. He then ranks fair hands by how low the cards are. For example 8-3-A would be considered a good fair hand where as 7-6-5 would be considered a poorer fair hand.

Poor Hands which are considered to be three cards which make up a bad 8 low hand such as 8-7-5 or hands which make up a 9 low.

Make sure you are familiar with the Razz hand rankings as well as Razz starting hands before you play.

Obviously Razz starting hands change depending on the circumstances you find yourself in at the table. Consideration must be given to how many players are at the table, other players images and how many duplicate cards other players are showing. The above Razz starting hands are merely a basic starting point for beginner players.

‘Play Razz Poker To Win’ written by Mitchell Gogert also suggest Sklansky’s starting hand classifications are a good solid base but then expands on the above giving players situational examples of when to play and when not to play certain groups of hands.

From my experience a great way to start out using the classifications would be take a note of the players who are left to act behind you and their face up cards. The poorer their cards the more hands you can consider playing. If you are sat with four players behind you and have a poor fair hand then you need your opponents up cards to be significantly worse than if you are sat with a good fair hand. Also keep in mind how loose or tight the remaining players in the game are.

One thing that Mitchell Gogert talks about a lot in ‘Play Razz Poker To Win’ is getting the pot heads up going into 4th street. He even gives examples of situations in which you should raise with the worst hand just to get a heads up pot.

This really is great advice and something you should factor in at all times when you’re playing Razz. The nature of the game means that the more players there are in the hand the less likely you are to make the best hand at showdown. Getting heads up with weak opponents when playing Razz is just as important as getting fish heads up when playing Holdem. You want to exploit poor players in any form of poker and especially when play Razz!