Razz Bring In Strategy
The "bring in" is a particular time in razz poker when the person with the highest card (weakest ranking) has to be the first person to bring in action to the table by making a small bet. This bet is known as the "bring in" wager that is required of the person with the high card, otherwise they must fold. During this time, there is a great opportunity to take major advantages and build a solid strategy for the rest of the hand because not too many cards have been dealt yet. This is also the perfect time to use the strategy involved with stealing the blinds, keeping out the chasers, reducing the number of players in the pot and increasing your chances of going heads up.
We will explain a few simple strategies to determine when you should make some moves during the bring in time. First we will talk about stealing the pot, which contains the antes and bring-in wager. The first thing to recognize is that the player who is supposed to bring in the action will win all of the antes if everyone folds. So imagine if that guy had a really high card, which is an indicator of a poor hand, and everyone folds. That player would win unless you just did a simple raise to have that guy fold so that you would win a free pot right on the spot.
Part of the strategy is to not pay attention to how your hole cards rank, they are irrelevant at this moment in the game and no one can see them. If your hole card is an ace and everyone else at the table has mid-level cards, it is wise to raise since many people won\t care to keep playing. This is somewhat like bluffing in a sense if your hole cards are disappointingly high but no one else can see this except the ace up card.
Razz is a game of high variance and everyone gets a lot of cards. The goal is to knock out as many people as possible because chasers are likely to win after being dealt 7 cards. Get rid of these people early by raising if you have a high card. Players will quickly find that aggressiveness is a good strategy in razz, especially during the bring in period early in the hand. You should try stealing the pot only when you have the lowest door card and everyone else has higher and weaker cards. If other players have stronger door cards, then stealing would not be the correct choice. Also, do not steal on every single hand or be aggressive on every hand since this is weak strategy.
There is another bring in strategy that players can take advantage of. Many inexperienced players assume that since their door card is high, they should always call the raise after the bring in bet. This is known as defending the bring in and it can be costly. Just because you have a small amount invested during this time does not mean you should defend and call all of the raises. In many cases, it is wise to fold. There are certain times when you should also check your exposed cards to see how well you would do if you would call. One thing you do not want to do is "chase the cards" since you have to bet on every round and there is no guarantee that you will hit the cards you are chasing after.
If you are the person who has to bring in the action, aggressive players will assume immediately that you might be one of those players that feel they are committed after paying the bring in fee and will likely be chasing the cards. If you are that aggressive player, you should start raising a lot, with some caution of course, and hope that they fold or lose at the end. If you are the one doing the bring in, watch what cards everyone is showing and never assume that you have to be committed to the bet because you invested the bring in.