"The best players win the money and the worst players lose the money."
Razz is the game that not only survives most intact from live play to online, but also teaches the essential elements of all poker games. (Razz is also completely frustrating and will make you want to smash your fist into the screen until it disintegrates into glittering sand embedded in your bloody knuckles. Or just weep.) This is not the game where you learn to 8+ table and act based almost solely on probability. This is the game where you learn to play poker: read an opponent, be subtle and aggressive, manipulative and disingenuous. Razz requires you to shape-shift and know your odds.
Razz is poker distilled to it's essence, where all players at the table are essentially vying for the same cards. Unlike Stud Hi or Holdem, where each player often hopes for different cards to achieve a win: a pair looking to become a set, suited cards to hit a flush, connectors to fill a straight. Thus, the importance of elements of play like starting cards, opponent reads, position, equity, bet timing and sizing, all the factors that make up a poker game, are magnified. This means if you master Razz and become a winning player, you will be so firmly grounded in good poker skills, theory and practice, you'll be well-prepared to take on other games see immediate success.
Play "ABC" Razz most of the time. Put a lot of energy into reading
opponents and boards. In this book, you'll find a great deal of semi-normal,
unorthodox and heretical Razz plays and strategies. If you want to incorporate them into your game, take your time, don't abandon your good ABC base; it's the foundation of any winning Razz game. If you are new to Razz, you are probably playing too loosely
and passively or too aggressively and bluffing too much. Stop it. Just
TAG up until you get some experience. If you are an experienced Razzer
who's kind of stuck at a level, it may be because you are playing a learned
game instead of an individually developed style that works for you.
Razz is a small community and the further up you go the more they know
you. Become someone new. Shake yourself. Start limping every single
hand for a couple sessions. Reraise some loose player when you have the
worst doorcard. Fold more 5ths and steal more rivers. Find something
in this book you think is stupid, and then go do it. Instead of your Razz or ABC
Razz, play AspinachC`F Razz.
My Razzbook Dilemma
Organization. I wanted to write everything I knew and learned for everyone: newbie to summacumRazzer. After experimenting with a lot of ways to divide it all up, I just decided y'all can figure it out yourselves and wrote it all together. If you are experienced and think I'm talking down to you, I'm actually talking to that guy over there who never played Razz before. Not sure he plays a lot of any kind of poker. Take what you like, leave the rest.
Jargon and Getting Around
If you don't know what something means, like AS or (8-8-)B, see the Glossary. This book was written for internet players and a lot of what's here presumes the reader is familiar with that version of poker culture. The rest no one knows because I just made it up to give myself a way to organize my thoughts about Razz. This is especially true of table positions because the ones we use for Holdem just don't translate to Razz or Stud games generally, when the positions shift with every deal and often with every card.
You don't need to go to the Table of Contents to get around, just use the "Forum Jump" feature at top right for Sections where the Chapters (aka "threads" ) will be listed.
You are going to find errors and typos. You can ignore them or put a link to them in Errata. I'd offer a bounty on finding them, but I'd probably go broke paying out.