General Strategy and Definitions
General Strategy of winning at a razz poker
Seven card low poker, which is more popularly referred to as a razz poker, is a type of low card game wherein an ace holds the lowest value. Flushes and straights are of no value in this game, but if you have them, they don’t often count against you. On the other hand, pairs and higher value hands do make a difference if they constitute the lowest hand you’re trying to make. Hence, this being the rule, you can consider a wheel – A 2 3 4 5, the best possible or lowest hand in razz poker. A 2 3 4 6, also commonly referred to as ’64,’ the next best hand. And A 2 3 5 6, also referred to as ’65,’ the third best hand.
The easiest way to compare different low hands is by looking for the lowest of the high value cards, taking a ‘top to down’ approach. In some cases you may even have to go five deep for finding your lowest hand!
Let’s make things clearer with the help of an example. Let’s say you create an eight low hand of medium strength (fairly common). While you may have a good hand to play with, you mustn’t forget that there are actually 30+ lower hands capable of beating yours. And since this happens pretty frequently, you must aim at creating one of the better low hands, capable of beating others. However, if you do choose to play with an eight or higher, ensure that you’re in a fairly good position compared to others, and that you know how to play with a lot of confidence.
The best way to gain an edge over your competitors in razz poker is by paying close attention to others’ show cards, something which isn’t done by everyone. Try remembering the folded denominations and always keep the important up cards in mind. You’d like to see cards dealt from the deck that may possibly pair up with the other players’ up cards. Furthermore, you wouldn’t want others get dealt the cards which are needed by you.
These were merely couple of things that can play a significant role in helping you determine the strength or weakness of your hand. Let’s now go over some of the important definitions used in razz poker.
Common definitions used in razz poker
High cards – These are the Jacks, Queens and Kings
Medium cards – These are all the 9s and 10s
Low cards – All cards from A to 8
The board – The face up cards on the table that can be seen by everyone
Wheel – A hand of A 2 3 4 5, the lowest hand you can get in razz poker. Also commonly referred to as a ‘bike’ or a ‘bicycle’
Door card – The up card dealt in the starting hand
Dead cards – Revealed denominations that aren’t hidden anymore in the deck
Picture/paint – A slang term used for the face cards
Fast play – Indulging in frequent betting, raising and re-raising to remove as many players as possible from the hand
Slow play – Continuing to call, simply to keep everyone else in the game, with the idea of slowly increasing the pot size
Limp along/limp in – Calling or checking as fewer times as possible, with the intent of seeing more cards
Check fold – Checking whenever you can and folding if you’re needed to place a bet
Smooth low – Any partial or complete low hand’s lowest possible version, for instance A 2 3 4 8 or A 2 3 7
Rough Low – Any partial and complete low hand’s highest possible version, for instance 4 5 6 7 or 4 5 6 7 8
Good low – All hands falling between the rough low and smooth low, for instance, A 3 6 7 8, A 2 5 7 9 or 2 4 5 6 8