Know Your Opponents Playing Habits
Players have habits. If you observe the players around you, you will witness certain habits of players. At the most basic level, here are some common player types, their habits and how to take advantage of these habits with your starting hand:
a) The ABC player: Knows that he should only start with three cards to an eight.
Habit: When he believes he is ahead, he will raise. When he thinks he may be raised from a player yet to act, he will call. When he doesn’t have the goods, he folds. (Sound familiar?)
When he raises, you know where he is at–three cards to an 8 low. This will make it very easy to play your hand.
When he calls, you know he has the same type of hand, but he is aware of possible lower starting hands behind him. In fact, if he has not played a hand for a while, he may even be calling with a hidden 9 card for his starting low.
If you and this ABC player are the only ones with low cards on the board, raise when you are first in the hand, regardless of your hole cards. You are betting that he does not have three cards to an 8.
When he calls, and you do have a good hand, you should raise and try to get heads-up.
b) The Aggressive player: Knows he can win more pots by raising and betting, than waiting for the three cards to an eight.
Habit: Raising when first in a hand with any low card showing.
This is the type of player you will win lots of money against long term.
When he raises with a low card showing, and you have a lower card showing, re-raise and try to get heads up.
When he raises with a low card showing, and you have a higher low card showing (8 or lower), re-raise and try to get heads up.
When he raises since he has the 2nd low card remaining before the bring-in bettor, and you have the other low card, re-raise.
The reason you are making these re-raises and not calling is because you want to be heads-up and you know that if you get a better card on 4th street, you will often win with a bet. And, it gives you pot odds to call a bet when you are behind on 4th street…to see what happens on 5th street.
c) The Cautious player: Wants to make sure he has the best starting hand, before he raises.
Habit: Raises only when he knows he has the best starting hand. Otherwise, he will limp.
You will rarely win a big pot against the cautious player, but you can win more pots, and also avoid losing big pots.
When he raises, and you have a good starting hand, just call.
When he calls, and you have a good starting hand, raise to get heads up.
Play straight-forward Razz poker against the cautious player. Remember if he checks, you must bet.
If you just identify these three types of players, you will go from a poker player to a winning Razz poker player.
Tip #2: What Razz Poker Players Don’t Know Will Make You Money
One of the interesting facts about Razz Poker is how little knowledge there is as to the probabilities–unlike other poker games.
If you ask a No-limit player a basic question about the game, he will know the answer. For example, ask a No-limit player if a small pair is favored over A-K, and he’ll say it’s “a coin flip, but the pair is the slight favorite.” Heck, even my Mom knows that fact.
Ask a Razz player a basic question, he doesn’t have a clue. But, he will get angry if he loses when he thinks he has the better starting hand, not realizing that his opponent was the favorite since he had two or more duplicate cards on board.
To play winning Razz poker, you need to know the percentages because you want to maximize situations where you are the favorite.
Here is a test question: