Tuesday, August 18, 2009

5 Reasons Why You Should Play Razz Poker Now!

Razz Poker Today (photo is Katja Thater--she won a WSOP Razz bracelet)

I hadn't been playing much poker at all with everything going on in my life the past few months. I decided to play Razz poker tonight after probably 6+ months away from the game.

I entered a middle limit game of Razz. I played for almost 90 minutes and tripled up. It really wasn't that difficult. And I suffered a few of those really annoying Razz hands where you start way ahead and some guy sucks out with a runner-runner-runner. Ugh!

Katja Thater at the 2007 World Series of Poker...Image via Wikipedia

Don't get me wrong. It's not like I expect to sit down and triple up every time. But I do expect to win long-term, if I have the patience for the game like I had tonight.

5 Reasons Why You Should Play Razz Poker

1. Many of the poker players who play Razz really don't understand the game.

These players either like to be aggressive and try to steal too often, don't know when to fold a hand, and of course, you get those players who love to chase.

I wrote a book on the game called "Play Razz Poker to Win." I wrote the book based on computer simulations I ran with different hand situations and the odds presented. You can run these same hand simulations at the site www.propokertools.com and you'll most likely come up with the same conclusions I did in my Razz book.

2. You need patience and you need to take your emotions out of the game.

Frankly, there is nothing more difficult for me than to leave my emotions out of poker. But if you are in the mood to be patient and emotionally under control, when someone does chase and beats you, it won't effect your play.

Tonight, the player to my right lost in a hand to me, he thought he should have won. He started to write stuff revealing his anger. I knew right then and there that this guy was going to lose a lot more--and he did.

3. Use my Starting Hand Point System to stay out of trouble.

Razz poker is a 7 card game. It can get expensive if you go all the way to 7th street and lose. I developed a starting hand point system that takes into account the cards showing on 3rd street, compared to your position, and your starting cards. Is it perfect? No. There are no perfect systems where you follow which hands to play so you'll always win. But in Razz poker you have more information than hold'em at the start, so you can get a better idea if you should call, fold or raise.

Okay, I guess I'm pimping my book because the system is in the book.

4. Stealing is important in Razz poker but some players just get stupid about it.

Do you have an Ace showing? It doesn't mean you should always raise.

Do you have the 2nd lowest card showing, and only the player with the lowest up card separates you and the bring-in player? It doesn't mean you should always raise.

Do you have one rank lower than the bring-in player and you are heads-up? No, it doesn't always mean you must raise.

These are all good situations to try to steal some of the time. But not all of the time. Get a read on your opponents, and you'll know who to try these steals against and who not to bully.

5. Don't call someone just because you think they are stealing.

All this does is start the chase. There is no rule that you have to defend the King high of the bring-in player. Be patient.


No, you don't have to buy my book. Check out Sklansky's book that has Razz poker in it. Learn the game. It's not that hard of a game.

You should seriously consider learning how to play Razz poker. The expertise of your opponents in Razz poker is much wider than players in no limit poker tournaments. Enter Razz poker cash games slowly. In fact, you don't ever have to play against the highest limit Razz players since the middle and lower limits are great hunting grounds.

I continue to believe Razz Poker is the easiest way to build your poker bankroll.

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