Most poker people seem to think that if you are good at Stud HL, you are automatically good at Razz poker. These two games certainly have some things in common but specific strategies are not among them. There are plenty of general tactics that work with both Stud poker variants and that is what this article is about.
Strategies You Can Use In Stud HL & Razz
This lesson will start off with the "before you sit" factors. Due to the complexity of Stud HL and Razz poker, the novice to skilled player ratio is much higher than in Texas Hold'em. This will become apparent when you look at the "Plrs/4th" percentages. This number indicates the average number of players that stay in until they receive their second upcard. You can view this information right from the lobby at most poker rooms. The tables with higher Plrs/4th percentages will fall into one of two categories:
- Short-handed Tables - If a table only has 3-4 players the Plrs/4th percentage should be higher than a table with 7-8 players, this is true for any card game. The number of players at the table has a direct impact on hand selection.
- Soft Competition - If a table with 7-8 players has a Plrs/4th percentage of 50%+ this is a reliable indicator that the players at the table are either inexperienced, experienced players that suck or are having a very good run in regards to starting hands. It is not safe to assume that every player at the table is a fish though. Three players could be playing 3 out of 4 hands and the fourth player could be playing 1 out of 4 hands. It is safe to assume that the last player is doing most of the winning.
Another thing you should keep in mind is bankroll management. In both 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo and Razz you shouldn't play at a table unless you have a bankroll of 40-50X the small bet. For instance, if you have a $50 bankroll, you should stick to $1/2 or less.
Remembering dead cards is another important tactic in both games. What is a "dead card"? A dead card is a card that was dealt to another player. If a player gets dealt (X-X) - 7 and folds, the 7 is a dead card. The same is true if the player stays in the hand. Any card that you can see that isn't part of your hand is a dead card. Remembering cards is a more important part of a winning 7 Card Stud HL strategy but still comes into play in Razz poker.
The final lesson in this article is using the notes feature. The Stud HL or Razz poker community is relatively small, regardless of which poker room you play at. Over time you will be bumping into the same players over and over again. Every major poker room offers a "player notes" feature. If you notice a player likes to bluff a lot you should make a note of it for later sessions.