Razz Poker Intermediate Strategy Guide
Once you have finished the beginners strategy guide to razz poker, then read this article for some intermediate strategy tips. I am going to assume that you already know the basic rules of the game quite well and how the card rank up. After you have finished this guide, I would advice heading over the advanced and expert strategy guide to get even more winning tips and advice. The novice guide pretty much explained how to select your hand and act on it as well as watching the other players. We will now start getting into the complexities of the game and introduction to bluffing. Note that we dedicated another entire page to bluffing so you might want to read that as well.
If you have been practicing with free chips, I would advise moving into the money because people play differently with real money. First start off in the $0.01/$0.02 rooms, which are micro-limit stakes. If you are playing with fake money, people are just going to bet on every single hand for the fun of it. But if you are playing on the penny tables, things get serious and people are less inclined to mess around. Once you get into $1/$2 or $5/$10 high stakes razz tables, then players get far more serious. So start moving into the money table to get into real gaming experience.
After you are on some ring table games with real money, then you can start doing some intermediate strategies such as bluffing and semi-bluffing. The higher the stakes are, the more effective bluffing will be since it will cost more to see what you are holding. A key word of advice is to not bluff all the time or else people will become use to it and the deception will not be as effective.
Intermediate players should know the difference between straight bluffing and semi-bluffing. Straight bluffing is when you hold a terrible hand and would never win if someone called your bluff. This is the most risky variety and it doesn't always work and should not be done very often. Semi-bluffing is when you already have a decent hand or if you are chasing a good hand. So if someone called you, there is still a chance that you could out-beat the player with a fair hand.
Razz poker is a high variance game, which means there are a lot of cards being dealt and there is a high chance that many people will catch good hands throughout the game. The intermediate style strategy is to try getting as many people out of the hand early because once they stay in late, they will be committed to all of the money put into the pot and will not likely fold if you are bluffing them. Try to bluff on 3rd street right after the initial deal, only if you have one of the wheel cards (A-2-3-4-5) showing face up.
This is obviously a straight bluff because you only have 3 cards and you need 5. The goal is to make people think you also have great cards that are not exposed for your hole cards. If you are successful, you might steal the pot, take the ante and bring-in. You can do the same thing if you have two wheel cards facing up after 4th street as well. Look at what cards the other players have facing up. If they are really high, you should be betting more but watch out if they also have cards lower than 8 or 9. Once 5th street comes, make sure the other player has at least 2 cards or more that are higher than 7 or 8 and all three of your face up cards are lower than 6, then start raising
Intermediates should realize that 6th and 7th street involves semi-bluffing more than the earlier rounds because people are going to be more inclined not to fall for bluffs at this point since they have so much money invested in the pot already. So you should have at least a decent hand or nearly a great hand. One way to really scare people out is if you get one of the wheel cards on 6th street, then start raising. First make sure that the open cards facing up are lower than those of your opponents. 7th street works differently since the last card is facing down so no one can see. One way someone might use strategy is to wait until 7th street before doing the semi-bluff only when you have 3 or more nice wheel or low cards showing and make sure that this three card hand is lower and beats the other player\s three card hand.
The key is not to bluff too often, steal the pots early and get other players out early to increase your chances of winning. The less people are there on the table means that you have a better chance of winning. Ideally, intermediate players should recognize that going heads up is preferable unless you can win the whole thing beforehand. This intermediate strategy for razz poker will certainly take more time to learn so you should take it slow on the table and think about what is going on with every hand you are doing. Once you are comfortable with your abilities, then move on to the advanced and experts guide for razz.