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Razz has always been a staple of mixed games, and is often a part of HORSE courses. This version of Razz was usually a form of Stud Lowball where the ace is low and straight lines and dents don’t work against you. So the best hand is A-2-3-4-5 and we will refer to this more traditional game as A-5 Razz.
Deuce to Seven (2-7) Razz has been around for a while in mixed games where the game options are more exotic, but recently it has become more mainstream across all games.
At 2-7, the aces of Razz are high and straight lines and flows can’t be part of your best five-card. Therefore, the stability in the game is 2-3-4-5-7 without flow.
For example, if you get confrontation with (7 3) 4 6 10 y (5Your best five-card hand will be 3 . 4 5 6 10. You have a low ten, not a seven because that would make a straight.
Why play 2-7 Razz vs. A-5 Razz? I think the easiest answer to this question is, why not? After all, this is really what the Seven Card Stud Lowball is supposed to be if the goal is to make the worst high hand possible.
Another reason is that mixed game players always try to keep their opponents on the alert by constantly creating new games. The new game is always fun, and experienced players always adapt faster than their competitors, so their edges get a little bigger.
The 2-7 Razz is not much different from the A-5 Razz. But there are some nuances that require some adjustments in hand selection and subsequent street play that skilled players are more willing to do.
Differences between A-5 Razz and 2-7 Razz
The biggest difference is that he sends a big aces at 2-7 Razz. It sounds comical but you will find players playing their hand with more sounds than one would think. In live play, they may not be completely interested in the boards or if it is an online game, they may be distracted by many things.
Tie, sevens, and eights are the main cards in the game. When you’re holding a max “elongated” type hand like 2-3-7, 2-5-7, or 2-4-8, you can’t make a straight line that pulls your last hand back and makes you hold a lot weaker.
The times when you start with a more “intense” possession like 4-5-7 you’re in danger of getting a direct draw when you collect three, six or eight. For example, if you hold a (4-5) 7-6-QJ, only one demon will make you low by an eight or better, and depending on what you’re chasing, you may have very few naysayers.
In the A-5 Razz, since straight lines don’t affect you, arrows tend to get close. For example, with no knowledge of board cards, A-2-6 is only 53% preferred over 4-5-6. Thus, in the A-5 Razz, it is essential to be aware of whether or not the cards on the outside are helping or hindering your carry.
This is also certainly true in a 2-7 Razz but another consideration is that if your initial hand is protected from picking up a straight drag, it will be a lot stronger. There are no stock calculators available for the 2-7 Razz that I’m aware of, however, and I’m pretty confident that 2-3-7 is a lot bigger than the 53% of preferred stocks on a contract like 5-6-7.
Flushes count against you at 2-7 Razz but this particular aspect of the game is not that important as it only takes one card or a pair to eliminate the possibility of a flush and allow you a full range of Razz to make up your hand. In other words, you’ll never think about folding (2 3) 7 Because it is suitable. This booking is still going forward (5 6) 7. The presence of the draw will likely influence your decision to play only when the situation is already under discussion.
To look at an extreme example, suppose you make (2 3) 7 4 5 In the first five cards. Any of the remaining 15 cards will make you a wheel, and with two cards you’ll end up with, you’re a little favored to do so. Then of course you also have the okay sixes and eights that would also make for very strong hands.
In all variants of Razz’s hand values are highly dependent on the cards that appear on the board. However, in a vacuum in an A-5 Razz, any three to eight are generally considered a reasonable starting hand and this is handled about 16.2% of the time. Definitely (8-7) 6 isn’t a strength, but when you open that possession with just a few low cards left to dispose, it doesn’t really count as stealing.
In a 2-7 Razz, the following hands are dealt at the following frequencies:
|three to 7||5.50%|
|three to 8||4.34%|
|three to 9||6.08%|
Collectibles such as 2-3-4, 2-5-6, and 3-4-5 are included under “three through 7” although any contract with at least one card of a seven or less has the ability to make a seven. As we can see playing 3 to 9 hands is essential otherwise we would be playing very few hands. Sure, if you take in the mindset that you’re only playing hands that you would in a 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball (27TD), you’ll outsmart yourself like Broomcorn’s uncle!
However, for those with Triple Draw experience, the premium collectibles in 2-7 Razz are the hands you’ll unlock from the first two positions on the 27TD. These include hands like 2-3-7, 2-4-5, 2-6-7, and 2-5-8.
When such collectibles are dealt with, you have to do a lot of actions on 3rd especially if the cards on the plane are useful to you. By going up a third, you insure yourself against bumping into bricks on 4th Street because you made the pot big enough to keep going. The larger 3rd street equity spreads are certainly worth paying even if they make your opponent right to chase them down the later streets.
Hands like 3-4-7, 3-5-7, 3-4-8, and 4-5-8 are also highly playable even when you are the second player to enter the pot; Any early position collector might be preferred to the Demon’s decade, but he’ll keep one lower than he did on the 27TD. With some of these collectibles, you may get direct withdrawals, however, it’s way too good to fold, even for a legitimate raise.
Intense collectibles like 4-5-6, 5-6-7, and 5-7-8 are much less valuable because you’ll lose more often due to straight-draw pickup, make their hands rougher, and lack the down key cards, draws, and triples. I would consider 9-7-2 to be a better starting hand than any of those collectibles even if I was somewhat handicapped by having a nine.
When you have (7-2) 9 and the board cards are generally useful for holding, it is relatively usual to complete the bet even with a few low cards behind. Getting up isn’t a huge development but you’re not a huge underdog for many hands should it happen. But as we can see in the above chart of starting hands, it’s not often that our opponents receive bonuses, and with no potential straight draws to worry about, we trade well enough against many of the more intense holdings anyway. If you were the last time you acted before the high card, you should raise that hold for someone likely to steal.
Getting nine players is slightly less dangerous in a 2-7 Razz than getting eight in the A-5 version. In 2-7 Razz, there are eighteen potential hands or better while in A-5 there are 21 potential low or better hands. On the later streets we may have to make looser calls in 2-7 Razz than we would in somewhat similar situations in A-5. For example, we may need to make looser calls against boards showing average cards such as 3-5-6 and 4-5-6 due to the fact that your opponents may be leeching or drawing straight.
These extra nuances make for a slightly better game and I wouldn’t be surprised if the 2-7 Razz continues to make headway, potentially even supplanting the A-5 version wherever Razz is currently in both cash and tournament games. ♠
Kevin Haney is a former MetLife actuary but left the company job to focus on his passion for poker and fitness. He is co-owner of Elite Fitness Club in Oceanport, NJ and is a certified personal trainer. In terms of poker, he started his way back in 2003 and particularly enjoys taking new players interested in mixed games under his wing and quickly making them proficient in all variants. If you are interested in learning more, playing mixed games online, or just saying hello, he can be reached at [email protected].