May, 2013 - Playing and winning Razz Poker is one thing, but routing a large field in tournament play requires a whole new approach to the game. When playing at Razz Poker cash tables, you need only defeat a limited number of players, and you can walk away with your profits at any given time. Tournaments are a whole ballpark of Razz strategy, patience and timing. In this article, we’ll provide you with a few important Razz Poker tournament strategies to extend your survival in MTTs, outlasting the field to cash in the tournament, preferably in the top position.
Winning Razz Poker Tournaments requires a list of priorities, each to be met in order. When you shoot to reach each goal, one at a time, you are putting less stress on yourself and working your way closer to the ultimate goal without becoming overwhelmed by the time factor and sometimes massive field of competition.
Your first priority is to survive the first hour of play. This is when the field is generally cut by about half of its participants. Many poker players will choose to push all-in within the first hour, if not the first few hands, deciding they are either going to move on with a large stack, or save the time and effort by falling out early. Do not let yourself fall to these loose competitors. Plays tight, stay focused and build your stack on any great starting hands you are dealt.
Second, you need to make the Bubble. This guarantees you will cash in the tournament. If the top 100 finishers get paid, your goal is to finish 100th. Once you hit the 100-players-left mark, then you may adjust your goals again. The third goal is to make the final table, followed by the ultimate goal – to win the Razz Poker tournament.
Be very careful about your Razz starting hand selection. You need to begin with 3 low cards – no Pairs of course – to both moving on. Never play a starting hand with any card higher than 8. In general, the Door Cards of your opponents can tell you whether to move on. For example, if your highest card is 8, and your opponents are showing no higher than 6, Fold. On the contrary, if your lowest is 6 and opponents are showing 8 or better, make your move.
As we mentioned above, the early stages will be riddled with loose players who simply want to double up or get out early, spending their day elsewhere. Loose players will go all-in on the Door Card with a decent hand, or on 4th to 5th Street with a good Draw. While loose players are generally easy to beat, if they get lucky, you’ll be going home instead. Luck can only hold up for so long, but you don’t want to grab the wrong end of that stick. Only play great starting hands, or cheap Flops with high potential, during the first hour of play to ensure your survival to the middle stages.
This goes for any Razz Poker game, not just tournaments, but is an extremely important factor in winning a Razz Poker Tournament. You have to be able to remember the cards that are dealt, including those that have been Folded. If you don’t pay attention to the open cards on the board, and remember those that were shown and later Folded, you will not be able to determine if you (or an opponent) is drawing dead. No matter how good your hand looks, if you’re drawing dead, you’ll be leaking chips into a losing pot.
If you make it to the final table, take a deep breath and a moment to calm yourself. This is a very exciting place to be, but anxiety causes mistakes. It is time to become aggressive, claiming all chips from the felt when possible. You need to mix up your game play or your competitors will figure you out. Instead of playing a strictly tight game, take a few opportunities to bluff in late position. As the blind levels increase, stealing blinds become much more profitable. Take advantage of this and get as close to the 1st place victory as possible. With a little luck and lot of tactical strategy, you can come put on top in a Razz Poker Tournament.
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