Expert and Advanced Razz Poker Strategy
After you have mastered the beginners and intermediate razz strategies, then continue with this advanced guide to razz poker. You should have a firm expert level knowledge of the rules and how to play the game like second nature. Also, many of the advanced strategies mentioned here are useful for those at any level of difficulty and especially well for experts who frequent the high stakes and high limit tables.
The intermediate guide went through the major topics of bluffing so you should be comfortable with this now as well and will have all the tools for the advanced level where you can turn your razz skills in to a work of art. This expert guide will go through how to read people to find their weaknesses and strengths, and then use these "tells" to your advantage.
First, you will want to move into high stakes tables in the $1/$2, $5/$10 or higher range so that players become much more serious about the game and when there is a lot more money at stake to win. I would recommend starting at the lower end of the stakes unless you are already comfortable playing at the $1/$2 limit razz poker tables. Set a profit or bankroll goal for yourself so that when you meet the goal, move up into even higher stakes. This is how the experts start going from small stakes regular players into professional gamblers, so this is pretty much the turning point for when players become seriously skilled.
Reading opponents and 4 different types of razz poker players
There are 4 main types of players you should look for when playing a game and nearly every player will fall into these categories below. Advanced players who are serious about the game can actually tack a note on each player if you are in an online poker room. This way you can always remember each player even if they go dormant for a few months or if you are following profitable and weak players around to different tables. Here are the types of players:
Tight and Aggressive - This is one of the easiest ones to recognize in a game of razz. A tight player is one who is very conservative and will fold quite often. At the same time, they have an aggressive streak where they tend to attack hard and go all in when they finally get that one monster hand that they were waiting for. If you are correctly observing your competitors, like an advanced expert should be, this is very easy to spot. The strategy here is to scream and run away like a little girl and fold. The reason is that these players fold on every hand unless they get the wheel or one of the most powerful hands in the game. They can still lose but the odds are against you if you play against someone who folds 95% of the time until they get the powerhouse hand.
Tight and Passive - Passive players are hard to detect by nature, but if they are also tight, you can figure this out by the way that they fold on just about every hand. They are sneaky because their strategy is to slow-play the hand when they get something strong, which is actually smarter than being aggressive and literally shouting it out to people who are really paying attention. The advanced strategy is to pay attention to how often they are folding. If they are staying in unusually late into the hand, I would advise you to be cautious...
As a side note, you should try some bluffing more often if you are on a table filled with tight players. These people want to conserve their money as much as possible but you can hammer away at them by stealing the pot and taking the antes and bring-in bets.
Loose and Aggressive - These players are entirely different animals. They can be easy to beat but they are also dangerous. Generally, they will stay in the hand without folding even if they have a poor hand. In many cases, these guys have deep pockets and are not taking the game seriously, so you often times have a great opportunity to milk these cash cows. They will usually bet or call your bets on every round, but they will start aggressively raising and re-raising when they get something good, so watch out then. Call their raises and bets only if you think you can beat them. Their strategies ride on chasing cards so they last a long time into the game unless they know they are going to lose, which increases their chances of catching their late winning card. Advanced tight and aggressive opponents are the ones who usually profit the most from these players.
Loose and Passive - These are some of the most dangerous players in the game because they bring in big money into the game and also play their hands slowly and deceptively. You have a good opportunity to take a lot of money but there is also the major risk of being drawn into slow play and losing a lot as well. The correct strategy against these players when you find them is to become tight when facing them and be cautious because you never know what they have if they are slow playing. Personally, loose and passive players are the hardest to beat.
If you can learn to spot these different players, you will become an expert at razz poker in no time. Although, it certainly takes some time to master this skill but it pays off greatly. Always be patient since it sometimes takes awhile to figure out a player. Note that these 4 types of players exist both online and in real poker rooms as well. Some advanced people change their types over time as well or even during the course of an hour. As I stated before, it might be luxurious and profitable to write down a note for each player once you figure out their style. Pokerstars for example will allow you to just click on a player to open up a text box where you can type in the note, so you don't need a notebook or anything like that and those notes will "stick" to that player forever there will be an "N" under their picture that indicates that you have some saved notes on them. Other experts claim that this is a great boon for serious players and I strongly agree with that strategy.