Good Razz strategy is hard to come by and whilst this can be a pain for players trying to learn the game it is also a blessing in disguise. The lack of Razz poker books and dedicated Razz strategy articles actually helps keep the fish in the dark. Poker training sites are popping up all over the place at the moment and lets face it they are educating the fish in how to play and win at the more popular variations of poker. Razz strategy and videos just don’t exist in the same way which means the best players have a really big edge.
Razz has a bad reputation with some poker players for being a high variance game which involves a lot of luck on a hand to hand basis. This reputation is more than unfair and in fact many of the worlds top poker players actually believe that they have the biggest edge over their opponents when playing Razz. You only have to check out our Razz poker history section to find out why.
There are two essential books that anyone trying to learn Razz strategy should read; ‘Super System’ and ‘Sklansky On Poker’. ‘Super System’ only has seven pages dedicated to Razz poker strategy but they are seven of the best pages of Razz advise you’ll find anywhere. ‘Sklansky On Poker’ has much more on Razz and is considered by many to be a Razz poker bible. Check out our Razz poker books section for a full review on both books and a third reading option.
Razz Poker Strategy Online
I have played thousands of hands of Razz online at Pokerstars.com, between the 25c/50c level and the $5/$10 and to be honest have found the games reasonably easy to beat. When I first started looking for Razz strategy I came across players recommending certain books, as I have above, but couldn’t find much online. So, in the rest of the article I will share with you some of the techniques and tactics I have used to develop to win at Razz.
To win at Razz, online or offline, you have to understand the value of stealing the bring in and antes no matter what stakes you are playing. At a $1/$2 table on Pokerstars after the bring in there is $1.30 in the pot. Considering a good expected Razz win rate is 3 big bets per 100 hands ($6 per 100 hands in $1/$2) stealing the blinds even a couple of times more than you are per 100 hands can up your win rate substantially.
Stealing the blinds in Razz is all about looking at your exposed cards and comparing it to the exposed cards of the players left to act and the player who has brought in the action. Your hole cards are actually irrelevant when you are stealing the blinds. For example the table has folded round to you and you have a 3 showing. There are three players left to act including the bring in. The player in who brought in the action has a King exposed and the other two players have a 9 and a Queen. This is a fantastic spot to steal even if you have K-K in the hole.
For more detailed information about stealing the blinds and defending your bring in check out this Razz bring in strategy article.
You should learn when to steal in Razz before you even learn which Razz starting hands to play. Stealing should always be in your mind and every hand you play the first thing you should be doing is deciding if it is a good spot to steal the blinds or not. Obviously there are going to be occasions when your hand is strong enough to warrant a raise or re raise that is not a blind steal. Good Razz starting hands obviously consist of three low cards, hands which have the possibility to make a wheel (A-2-3-4-5) are considered the strongest possible holdings. For more information on which hands to play when playing razz you should check out this Razz starting hands article.
More Razz Strategy
In Razz aggression is as important as ever. Attacking your opponents and forcing them to either fold or pay to catch up is one of your most valuable tools. To win at Razz you need to be able to look at your opponents exposed cards and make a read on what you feel their range of hole cards could be. This is easier said than done but to keep it simple if you opponent hits a King on 4th street and checks you should bet as long as the card you hit is lower. Betting into opponents who are bricking cards is seriously profitable. Make a note of players who will fold when they hit badly and put maximum pressure onto them whenever possible.
Having a good read on the other players at the table is always important when playing poker and getting to grips with your opponents styles when playing Razz is key as you can adapt your Razz strategy to suit. There are only ever 6 or 7 Razz games running at a specific limit so one of the best Razz tips is to check out the lobby and see who is multi tabling and who isn’t. You’re going to get much less resistance from players playing more tables and you can know that they are mainly playing hands face up. Use this to your advantage and put pressure on them, especially when they are hitting bad cards. Look to get into pots with these players when your exposed cards are low and use the fact that you know they are only looking at your exposed cards and their cards to make their decisions against them.
Related reading: Heads Up Razz Strategy