Seven Card Stud Low Razz Strategy

The object of Seven-(Hard Stud Low, or Razz, i s to make the worst hand possible! Razz is dealt j ust like basic Seven-Card Stud, b ut the object, oddly enough, i s t o make the l owest hand. In Razz, flushes and straights don't count against you (that is, they have no value). But pairs and trips are bad (because it is harder t o make a five-card low hand with them). Aces are considered low. I n Razz, t he best possible low hand is 5-4-3-2-A, which is called a wheel. The second-best possible low hand is a six: perfect, or 6-4-3-2-A. The chart on page 291 shows a list of the best possible l ow hands i n order

You wiil eventually figure out that it isn't that hard to discern which low hand i s best i n close c ases. A seven-five low (7-5-x-x-x) i s l ower t han a seven-six: low (7-6-x-x-x). A seven-six-five-three low (7-6-5-3-x) i s lower than a seven-six-five-four l ow (7-6-5-4-x). Figuring out the best low hand is j ust a matter of

The Best Low Hands from Best to Worst ^^

1.

5-4-3-2-A

21.

7-6-5-4-3

41.

8-7-5-2-A

2.

6-4-3-2-A

22.

8-4-3-2-A

42.

8-7-5-3-A

3.

6-5-3-2-A

23.

8-5-3-2-A

43.

8-7-5-3-2

4.

6-5-4-2-A

24.

8-5-4-2-A

44.

8-7-5-4-A

5.

6-5-4-3-A

25.

8-5-4-3-A

45.

8-7-5-4-2

6.

6-5-4-3-2

26.

8-5-4-3-2

46.

8-7-5-4-3

7.

7-4-3-2-A

27.

8-6-3-2-A

47.

8-7-6-2-A

8.

7-5-3-2-A

28.

8-6-4-2-A

48.

8-7-6-3-A

9.

7-5-4-2-A

29.

8-6-4-3-A

49.

8-7-6-3-2

10.

7-5-4-3-A

30.

8-6-4-3-2

50.

8-7-6-4-A

11.

7-5-4-3-2

31.

8-6-5-2-A

51.

8-7-6-4-2

12.

7-6-3-2-A

32.

8-6-5-3-A

52.

8-7-6-4-3

13.

7-6-4-2-A

33.

8-6-5-3-2

53.

8-7-6 5 A

14.

7-6-4-3-A

34.

8-6-5-4-A

54.

8-7-6-5-2

15.

7-6-4-3-2

35.

8-6-5-4-2

55.

8-7-6-5-3

16.

7-6-5-2-A

36.

8-6-5-4-3

56.

8-7-6-5-4

17.

7-6-5-3-A

37.

8-7-3-2-A

57.

9-4-3-2-1

18.

7-6-5-3-2

38.

8-7-4-2-A

58.

9-5-3-2-1

19.

7-6-5-4-A

39.

8-7-4-3-A

20.

7-6-5-4-2

40.

8-7-4-3-2

The Best Low Hands reading the low hand from the highest card to the lowest card and seeing which hand goes l ower first. I once l ost a $15,000 pot to the legendary Seymour Liebowitz in a low-ball event at the World Series of Poker when his 9-7-5-4-2 beat my 9-7-5-4-3 low. It came down to the fifth and final card in this case! We both had a 9-7-5-4 in our hands, but his deuce "pipped" my three ( edged it o ut by one point i n value).

Right now Razz i s something of a fringe game i n the poker world. In fact, most poker rooms don't even spread a Razz game these days. Although we have a Razz World Championship each year, it is among the l owest-attended events at the WSOP. S tiil, Razz i s an important game that i s played for high stakes on a daily basis i n Los Angeles at t he Commerce Casino. Razz i s also often included in high-stakes games at the BeUagio in Las Vegas, sometimes dealt j ust by itself, but more commonly dealt as part of a rotation of games like HORSE (Hold'em, Omaha, Razz, Stud, and Stud Eight or Better). By the way, s ometimes while playing HORSE, the players wiil not notice that t he game has changed—for i nstance, when the game goes from one variation of Stud to the next—and they lose a large pot because of this! It happens t o everyone, including me, more t han once.

Even though many top professional players feel that Razz involves more luck and requires less s kiil than most other poker games, I feel that Razz demands a lot of s kiil. In Razz, reading your opponents well is crucial t o being a great player. If you're reading your opponents weH, you can make some calls or folds that other players cannot make. The reading part comes when your opponent hits what appears to be a perfect l ow card for him. I f you read that it was, indeed, perfect for him, then you'l need to fold your hand (depending on what you caught). If you read that the card in fact paired him, then you'l be able t o continue playing your hand. For e xample he might hit a t hree, f or a board of ( x-x) 2-3, but there is a decent chance that the card paired him, because, presumably, he is starting with al low cards in his hand.

In Razz it's important to play tight, make well-timed bluffs, and steal t he antes on the first round of betting. In other words, in many ways Razz is a lot like al the other poker games in this book.

In this chapter you wiil l earn:

z The Razz starting hands t hat you can play no matter what the cost.

z That t lie up cards in Razz determine t he strength of y our hand.

z That t hie up cards in Razz tell y ou when to make an "ante steal."

z Why you should j am your strong three-card starting hands. z The argument f or s low-playing in Razz. z Which hand is favored to win after five cards. z How to "represent" hands i n Razz. z What "board lock" is in Razz. z When you should fold your hand. z When to call a bet as t hie bring-in bettor.

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