Beginners Strategy

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For many newcomers to Razz poker the biggest problem they have is identifying which starting hands to go with and which to fold. In Razz it is the low hand that wins the pot and recognizing a good starting hand that will stay that way till the end of the round is vital to your game. Here is a quick run down of some common hands and how to play them.

The best starting hands to have on 3rd street are simply any three cards from ace to five, although not pairs. These are great hands to have and should be played for all they are worth.

Drawing any three cards from ace to six is also a strong hand to start with. However in this case you need to also keep an eye on your opponents’ door cards, that is to say their face up cards on 3rd street. If you see a lot of low cards below yours then you might be beaten so don’t invest too much in the pot.

Three cards up to seven is a playable hand but again keep an eye on what else is showing around the table and take it as far as 4th street to see if you can improve you hand.

If you have three cards below eight then you are unlikely to take the pot. Depending on how low your cards are this is a hand to fold if 4th street doesn’t give you anything.

In addition to watching your own cards you must keep an eye on what your opponents are showing. This is especially important when it comes to looking for ‘live’ cards. In most poker styles live cards are cards that you need to complete your hand but haven’t yet been dealt out. In other words, if you can’t see them showing on the board then they could very well still be in the pack. However, in Razz you want your cards to be dead. If you are holding some low cards and you see their pairs and triples dealt out to one of your opponents then that strengthens your hand because it means you won’t be drawing them yourself. Drawing a pair on 6th or 7th street can be a mortal blow to a good low hand. However, if you can identify your dead cards when holding a low hand early in the round then stay in there till 7th street because you are in a very strong position.

You can also learn a lot about how strong your hand is relative to the other players from your opponents showing cards. For example, if on 3rd street you can see that all of your opponent’s door cards are higher than your top card then you must be holding the strongest hand at that point.

Generally, you should try and play only hands with a top card of seven or lower. Anything else is taking a risk and in poker taking risks will cost you chips in the long run.