Playing Pairs in Razz Poker
The first thing you should know already is that pairs are worthless in razz and they can even damage your poker hand as well. This page will talk about what to do when you get a pair because this situation is quite common in the game and comes up a lot. Unfortunately, many players do not know how to use correct strategy when they do get dealt matching cards. Note that a pair can be used in the game but it almost always has bad results.
First we will talk about how to play pairs if you are dealt one. There are two situations that you can get into. First and the worst is when you have a pair showing, or when your pair is displayed on your face up cards where the whole table can see it. The other is when both of them or one of them are concealed in one of the hole cards facing down where only you can see it.
For example, if you have a 4-5-6 with the 6 showing and someone else has a 10 showing, you are obviously in the lead. Now if you get a 5 when the dealer deals out 4th street, then you should have a pair of fives, which is hidden from the other players. If the other player is dealt a Jack, he will assume that you still have a powerful hand when in fact, you do not, unless the other player also has a hidden pair. This is something to think about taking advantage of, especially if you are bluffing.
If instead, 4th street was a 6 instead of a 5, then you would have a pair of sixes and everyone would see this. If you initially raised big money before this, other players may take advantage of you and make massive raises which either forces you to chase a better hand or fold. You can do the same thing to other players if the situation was reversed. You can also play along and chase the cards some more. If a few other low cards come up, your opponents might get a little more worried since you do have some low cards in your hand.
So what if your opponent has a pair? There is actually an awesome strategy to determine if he has a hidden pair so read carefully. Let's say you have a hand such as A-3-7 with the 7 showing and then you raise after the starting hands are dealt and everyone folds except for one other person who also has a low card showing. Then 4th street comes and you both get another card with your card being a Queen and the other player having a 3. It turns out that he checks and passes the bet to you even though it is apparent that the player has the higher card. In this case, there may be a good chance that this player has a pair, which makes his hand awful and it is a great opportunity to take advantage of your razz poker hand.
One thing for certain is if players have exposed hands, you should be attacking and betting aggressively against them. Three of a kind is even more damaging than a pair and a four of a kind will almost guarantee that the hand will lose unless someone else has multiple pairs, full houses and stuff like that, which are also worthless in razz poker. Straights and flushes are just ignorable and have no effects on the game since they are not bad and they are not good.