Saturday, December 16, 2006

Hot Hand #11 -- Blogger Razz (Part IV)

Today is the conclusion to the stunning razz hand from a couple of weeks ago's Mookie 2nd Chance Tournament on Wednesday night at 11:30pm ET.

When we last left our hero, I had made an 8-5 low with 25J8 on my board, and was heads-up against the Love Elf on 6th street, with her board of (xx)4987. Tina led out for 80 chips with what seemed to be a made hand of some kind (with 986 chips in the pot before this round), and I asked yesterday whether you would smooth call or raise here.

The comments showed that mostly everyone can now see the important concept of "board lock". Looking at the cards in play, I obviously know my own cards so I know I have a made 8-5 low. From Tina's board, even assuming she is perfect underneath (let's say she has A2 for her first two facedown cards), even then that still gives her just an A2478 low. So I am already ahead of what Tina's best possible hand could be at this point, and in razz with just one card to come, that is a very powerful position to be in. Tina of course does not know that I have her board-locked, but I can see my own cards so I know it to be the case. I'm ahead here no matter what Tina has underneath, so she will have just a slim draw to a better hand than mine on 7th street, and even then I will have at least as much chance to redraw out on Tina with my own final facedown card on 7th street.

Thus, I think only one play makes any sense here -- the raise. Keep in mind how little there is to be gained from slowplaying by the time you're on 6th street in razz. The bets are already as big as they're gonna get, and if you and your opponent know how to play, little to no action should be created by a 6th street slowplay. Typically by that time you're either going to stay on until the end, or at least until you see your own 7th street card and then you will decide based on that card if you want to stay. Your opponent's actions on 6th street should have little to no influence on your decision on 7th street in all but the rarest of circumstances, so given that, right now my motto should be bet and raise!

I think it probably sunk in here to Tina that she was likely beat at this point. Tina just smooth called my raise -- probably the right move given the size of the pot and given the one card left to draw to for her to make a strong 7-low hand.

7th street brought me a useless 9, but I did not feel I needed any more help unless Tina was in fact perfect with all three cards underneath. So when Tina checked it to me on 7th:

I knew I had the hand. I bet out with my 8-5 low, and Tina made the crying call at the river in a large pot, and I took own a nearly 1500-chip pot, pretty large for a 40-80 limit game in the pretty early stages of the turbo tournament:

Hopefully, to everyone but my boy Tommy, this series of posts gives a nice introduction to some of the kinds of things I think about when I play a hand of razz. I'm always looking for players who will raise with abandon on 5th street because I have one brick showing that is higher than any of their five cards, even when my hand is in fact the favorite due to the significant draw I've got running with two cards to come. I'm also always thinking in the early rounds -- really just 3rd and sometimes 4th street where the betting is half of that on 5th street and later -- about whether a particular call or raise is likely to make me or cost me money in future betting rounds later in the hand. In all, razz can be a very frustrating game, but I find that these aspects of the game help to keep it one of the most interesting for me to play on a regular basis, both in tournaments and in cash games online.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was actually expecting to read that while the raise was the right play, you'd end up losing the hand to Tina's three perfect down cards. You know, the Aesop's Fables of poker.

Very nice pot to have won.

5:04 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

i think that was the 2nd time Tina played razz.


5:51 AM  
Blogger Mike Maloney said...

smokkee's comment are awfully suspect...are we sure it wasn't actually him playing this hand under her name?

6:21 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Ha Mike I bet you're right.
Seriously though, to be clear I am not attacking in any way the way that Tina played this hand. This post is not at all about me showing how someone else played bad razz, but rather just to illustrate how I play certain razz hands and the thinking that goes into my decisions. Who the opponents are or what they did are not in the least bit the subject of the post, nor do I think Tina played badly in this hand in any way.

Still, it was fun taking the chips though, don't get me wrong.

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was Tina's final hand?

2:58 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Tina actually bricked out by pairing her board on 7th street, and thus made just a 9-8 low in the end. Turns out I was way ahead all along.

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What was Tina's final hand?

5:24 AM  
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8:15 PM  
Blogger Askinstoo said...

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8:16 PM  

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