Razz Tournament Strategy
Razz strategy is pretty hard to find online and good Razz tournament strategy is even harder to get a hold of. The Razz strategies in this article will deal with how to play the early and middle stages of a Razz tournament, how to survive late on, good hands to steal with and what are and arn’t good situations to steal the bring in and antes. At the end of the article you will also find a small section on playing HU Razz if you do manage to make it that deep into any Razz poker tournament. It is important to note that this Razz strategy article has been tailored to suit the Razz poker tournaments structure which is used on Pokerstars as it’s the best available online and Pokerstars have the widest variety of Razz tournament options on offer anywhere on the net.
Early and Middle Stages
The same concepts apply in Razz tournament strategy that appear in any successful tournament strategy guide. The best way to approach the early and middle stages is to play a reasonably tight and straightforward style. Stick to what would be considered a tight range of starting hands. somewhere in the region of hands with three cards lower than or equal to an 8, obviously excluding hands which are paired. This will allow you to take advantage of the weaker players, the dead money, at the start of the tournament by exploiting them using your superior hand selection. Your range for calling a raise will need to be stronger than your opening range and dependant on your up card as well as the image and tendencies of the opponent you face.
Enter the pot at any point in the early or mid stages of a Razz tournament with a weak door card exposed gives away a lot of information about your hand, it’s strength and the type of player you are. With this in mind look for players who are playing too loose and make a note of them, they can easily be exploited at a later date when you have a strong holding. Try to get a feel for the table you are at and the players who are around you, keeping an eye on their starting hand requirements is a good way of doing this.
During the early and middle stages stealing the antes and bring in isn’t so much of an issue. The initial size of the pot is small in relation to your stack size making it much less crucial to steal.
The later stages are where things really start to happen no matter what tournament you are playing. Having a good grasp of stealing the blinds and bring in at this stage is vital if you are going to develop a winning Razz tournament strategy. Accumulating chips when playing Razz MTT’s is extremely important. A fact worth considering at this point is that any player who gets all their chips into the pot on third street twice during any tournament is a favourite to get knocked out. Consider that and you’ll recognize how important chip accumulation is when playing Razz tournaments both on and offline.
Stealing the bring in and antes is an art in itself and there are some great spots which are begging to be exploited with this purpose in mind. For example the action is folded around to you and you hold KK|A, not a starting hand you’re ever looking to play, the two players to your left have a 9 and a Q exposed whilst the player who posted the bring in has a K exposed. This is a spot you should be trying to steal in all day long, even though you know your hand is weak visibly it is by far the strongest hand that remains un folded. Whilst in reality you might have the weakest hand in the eyes of the players left to act you have by far the strongest. Raising in this spot is going to steal the bring in and antes a high percentage of the time and it’s situations like this in which you should be looking to accumulate chips.
Sometimes you don’t even need the strongest visible hand to steal with if you know the players behind you are very tight and rarely defend against stealers. The reverse of this situation is when you have the strongest visible hand but you know there is a calling station to your left, in this spot you should decline the opportunity to steal unless you have a playable hand.
It’s in the later stages of Razz MTT’s that players seem to go a bit crazy when it comes to defending their bring in. To be brutally honest if you never defend your bring in when you are visibly weak you’re not making a huge mistake. Don’t donk off your stack or a valuable percentage of your stack defending your bring in with trash, it’s criminal and plays no part in a solid winning Razz tournament strategy.
For more about short handed Razz check this article out: Short Handed Razz Strategy
Heads Up Razz
If you manage to negotiate your way through to the heads up then things are about to get much easier strategy wise. The best Razz strategies for heads up play involve playing the strength of your hand against how strong you perceive your opponents hand to be. This might sound ultra simple and a bit obvious but it’s true. You really have to play your board against what you see and how you think your opponent is reading your hand. Having the lead in any hand when playing heads up Razz is always a major advantage and attacking the bring in when you have a visible advantage over your opponent is always going to be profitable. You can chuck away hands which contain three high cards or a pair pretty much 100% of the time. The average holding when playing Razz is 7-8-T.
The Best Razz Tournaments To Play Online
If you’re serious about playing Razz tournaments online and trying to implement some of the Razz strategies suggested above then you need good tournaments with quality structures to do so. Check out this article to find out where the best places to play Razz are on the net: Razz Poker Tournaments online