Razz Poker

razz starting hands

Razz Strategy


Razz Starting Hand Strategy


Razz poker skills are becoming more and more important to all around poker players, mainly because of the increasing interest in H.O.R.S.E. poker, which of course contains Razz. One of the most important aspects when it comes to Razz strategy is knowing how to play your Razz starting hands, because the moves you make at the start of the hand heavily influence how you will play the rest of the hand. Making a bad decision right off the bat can cost you a lot of money throughout a hand, so make sure to read this article and learn the proper tactics for playing your starting hands in Razz.

Razz starts out exactly the same as 7 Stud, with each player receiving two down cards and one up card. Since in Razz you’re trying to make the worst poker hand possible, obviously you want to have low, unpaired cards in your hand. If you have three unpaired cards between Ace and Five, you have a stellar starting hand, and should jam the pot right off the bat. If you have three cards between Ace and Six, you still have a really solid hand and should at least complete the bet if not raise it.

Besides examining your own starting hand, it is important to look at other player’s door cards. If you only play your own hand, you’re doomed to make poor decisions, so I recommend analyzing your hand as well as your opponents’ before you make a move. Some situations are obvious reads. For example, if you have an Ace Three Five and you see that your opponents up card is a Six on third street, you HAVE to have the best hand, so make sure to jam the pot as much as possible. Even if he has Ace Two in the hole your hand is still far ahead, so get your money in.

It is also important to look at other players’ door cards, even if they aren’t posing a threat to you. This is a concept that comes from Seven Stud, and is called “keeping track of live cards”. The important difference however, is that in Razz you actually want all of your cards to be “dead”. Since you want to avoid pairs, it is ideal if the cards in your hand match up to your opponents’ up cards, because that means you have less of a chance of hitting a pair.

For example, if you have an Ace Three Seven, it is a decent starting hand, but nothing really special. However, if you look around the table and see threes and sevens in other player’s up cards, your hand just got a lot stronger because you are more likely to catch low as opposed to pairing up.

If you follow the above Razz starting hand strategy guidelines, you’ll be on the way to becoming a successful Razz player.


Good luck!



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