Playing 3rd Street in Razz
Strategy for Playing 3rd Street in Razz and Positions
While there are several streets to play in Razz, a player must keep in mind that to be successful in any hand they must start with a solid foundation. In other words, players will need to carefully choose their starting hands in razz order to play them effectively on 3rd street.
For those of you that are unaware, 3rd street in Razz is when the cards are first dealt and players are choosing whether or not to move forward to 4th street. These decisions will be based on the cards a player is dealt, what everyone’s door cards are, and what position a player is sitting in.
Starting Hands in Razz
Starting hand requirements are the most important thing to learn in any game as it sets a player up for the rest of the hand. In Razz that is no different and players will want to start with the lowest 3 cards possible with no pairs. To put this into perspective, an A-2-3 would be the best starting hand, preferably with the lowest card showing.
Since Razz is a game of live cards, it is important to also factor in your opponent’s door cards when choosing what hand to start with. For example, if you were to have [3-5] 2 and you noticed that a 3, 5, and 2 were also in the hands of your opponent’s, then your hand is worth that much more since those are “dead cards” that you cannot catch. Dead cards are a good thing in Razz since a player does not want to make a poker hand such as a pair, two pair, and so forth.
On the other hand, if you were to have [5-6] 4 and noticed that most of your opponents had low door cards such as A’s, 2’s, and 3’s, the value of your hand was lowered significantly since these are cards, or outs, are cards that you want but now cannot catch.
Once a player has an understanding of what cards to play and how to keep track of live cards, then it is important to factor in when a player has to act in comparison to their opponents.
Playing Position in Razz
Position in Razz is not nearly a big a factor as it is in other poker games such as Hold’em or Omaha. However on 3rd street, position will play a little bit of a factor when choosing whether or not a player feels good enough to move forward in the hand.
Playing From Early Position in Razz
For example, if an opponent that was first to act decided to raise it and they were showing a low door card such as A thru 3, then being last to act is beneficial as you can then look at your hand and decide if it is worth playing. This is a situation where a player would want to take the “Gap Concept” into consideration which means that a player needs a better hand to call a raise with, then if they were to make the initial raise themselves.
On the same note, if you are in early position it is very important to raise the pot to discourage mediocre hands from drawing out on you. Once in a while it may be ok to limp to try and disguise your hand, but it is important to have an “ok” door card such as a 6 or 7 and low hidden cards such as an A-2. It is not a good idea to play weak hands from early position as the more money that gets put into the pot, the better odds that the next player will have to make a call with less than par hands that can potentially beat yours.
Playing From Middle Position in Razz
Playing in middle position is slightly different. It is recommended that players play their hands simple and straightforward and just play them for what they are worth. This is because although a couple players have acted in front of you, there is still a few to act after you. It may be easier to raise in an attempt to steal based on the door card that you may have, but it is still suggested to have a halfway decent hand prior to doing so.
Playing Late Position in Razz
What happens in late position will all be dependent on what happens before you. If some one raises, then as we mentioned above it would be important to take the Gap Concept into consideration. However, if it is limped to you then the odds will be there to limp in and see 4th street even with mediocre hands such [x-x] 7. And it may be possible to push an opponent of a hand if 4th street brings them a face card and you a baby card. Also keep in mind that raising after everyone has limped to you will only sweeten the pot and more often than not most everyone will call.
If it has been folded to you, then it will all depend on who is left to act, their door cards, and of course your cards. If you have a low door card you may be able to steal regardless of your hidden cards. If not, depending on how strong your opponents hand looks like on 4th and 5th street, another attempt may be possible. Of course at the same time, if you happen to have great hidden cards but an “ok” door card such as 6 or 7, then limping in may be an option to get more money in the pot. But this is completely situational and should be done sparingly. The more free cards you give your opponents, the more ways they can potentially beat you.
Razz Strategy on 3rd Street
Strategy on 3rd street in Razz is probably one of the most important as it starts to set the tone for the rest of the hand. Players need to keep in mind that its not only about the cards they are dealt but also the cards that are dealt to others as that can affect the value and probability of a hand being the winner at showdown. Once you have a strong grasp of these concepts outlined above, playing 3rd street in Razz should be that much easier.