Razz: 4th Street Heads-up Play

4th Street Heads-up Play

There are more mistakes on 4th street than any other street in Razz. This is because Razz players hate to fold a hand when they get to 4th street. These players are so happy to have a playable hand, they are willing to go to 5th street regardless of the cards dealt out on 4th street. It's important to try to read your opponent's hand, and to evaluate the relative strength of your hand compared to his hand. The following scenarios in heads-up 4th street play will help guide you to make the right decisions.

A. You are in the lead going into 4th street:

Scenario #1-Both hit good cards:
Both you and your opponent are heads-up on 4th street, after he called your raise on 3rd street. You both hit good cards on 4th street. If you are still in the lead, you should bet. Even though you are in the lead going into 4th street, it is never a big lead.
So, when you hit another low card, and still lead on 4th street, you need to make your opponent pay if he wants to try and catch up. A bet here also gives your opponent the opportunity to fold. Clearly, the same situation exists when you hit good, and he hits a bad card on 4th street—bet out as you have the lead.


Scenario #2-Both hit good cards:
Both you and your opponent are heads-up on 4th street, after he called your raise on 3rd street. Both of you hit good cards on 4th street, but he is in the lead. In most cases, you should call.
In Razz, the pot odds on 4th street are usually good enough in close situations where you should make the call. In a $5-$10 game, you will be getting around 5-1. Plus, there is the chance that you can take the lead on 5th street.
However, the game doesn't end on 5th street, and you need to look at your hole cards compared to his  exposed cards, plus try to read his hand.

  • Example 1:




    If you have (A-2) 5 8 and your opponent has (x-x) 7 4—it looks like your opponent is working on a 7 low, a strong hand.
    But, with the right card on 5th street, and given the strength of your hole cards, you should call.
  • Example 2:




    If you have (7-6) 2 8 and your opponent has (x-x) 5 A—your opponent may be working on a bike and you are hoping to catch an 8 low. Here is where you need to have a good read on his hand. If you think he is weaker than it appears, of course, you should call. If you think it is strong, you can fold here, because even if you catch up on 5th street, your opponent will decide that his draw is worth going to 7th street.

Scenario #3-He hits good, you hit a hidden pair:
Both you and your opponent are heads-up on 4th street, after he called your raise on 3rd street. He hits good, but you pair one of your hole cards. You should bet out as you are in the "visible" lead.

  • Example 3:




    You have (A-2) 5 and raised on 3rd street. Your opponent called your raise with a 6 showing. On 4th street, you are dealt an A and he is dealt a 7. You don't like the pair, but he doesn't know you have a pair. Don't take your foot off the pedal when you are in the "visible" lead. Give your opponent an opportunity to fold.
    If you check your pair, your opponent will bet out to see if you are setting a trap. If he does bet, you will need to decide the strength of your hand relative to your opponents. If your hand is a long shot to catch up, you should fold. But, if you have perfect hole cards to a bike, for example, you should call. This will be explained more on the chapter on 5th street play.
    Even with an exposed pair, you will probably be getting the right pot odds to call, in hopes of hitting a perfect card for a drawing hand on 5th street.

  • Example 4:




    You have (A-2) 5 5 and your opponent has (x-x) 6 7. Your opponent maybe a 3-1 favorite, but the pot odds may be more than 5-1 on your call. If you hit your card on 5th street, and your opponent hits a bad card like a 10, you will be the favorite to win the pot.

Scenario #4-He hits good, you hit bad:
Both you and your opponent are heads-up on 4th street, after he called your raise on 3rd street. Your opponent hits a good card and you hit a bad card. In most cases you should fold, but a call may be right depending on your hole cards relative to his exposed cards, along with your read on his hand.

  • Example 5:




    You have (A-2) 5 and raised on 3rd street. Your opponent called your raise with a 6 showing. On 4th street, you are dealt a Q and he is dealt a 8. Your opponent bets. You have (A-2) 5 Q and your opponent has (x-x) 6 8. He is a favorite with the 8, but you are working at a bike for a low. Call the bet.
  • Example 6:




    You have (7-8) 5 Q and your opponent has (x-x) 6 8. You are working on an 8 low, but your opponent looks to be working on a better 8 low. This hand can be costly to you, so fold.

Scenario #5-You both hit bad:
Both you and your opponent are heads-up on 4th street, after he called your raise on 3rd street. You both hit bad cards. Use the Two-Level Rule: If your 5th street card is twolevels lower or more than your opponent, you should bet. If not, you should check, and call if your opponent bets.

  • Example 7:
    You are in the lead on 3rd street, and you hit a Q and your opponent hits a K. Don't bet here. Most players will call your bet, and the cards on 5th street will often determine the winner.

  • Example 8:
    You are in the lead on 3rd street, and you hit a 10 and your opponent hits a Q. Bet. You have a big enough lead where you should bet.

  • Example 9:




    You are in the lead on 3rd street, and you hit a K and your opponent hits a pair. Don't bet here. While you are in the lead, you will be acting first on the later rounds putting you at a positional disadvantage. Wait till 5th street to decide the relative strength of your hand. Otherwise, if he hits good on 5th street
    and you hit bad, you have wasted a bet.


B. You are behind going into 4th street:

Scenario #6-Both hit good cards (but you are still behind):
Both you and your opponent are heads-up on 4th street, after you called his raise on 3rd street. You both hit good cards on 4th street. If he is still in the lead, when your opponent bets, you should call.

  • Example:




    Your opponent raised on 3rd street with a 6 showing, and you called with (2-4) 8. On 4th street, he is dealt a 5 and you are dealt a 6. Your opponent has the lead and bets. You should call for the following reasons:

    a) Assuming he has two low cards, the pot odds are good enough for a call. Assuming he has an (A-2) in the hole, he has almost a 2-1 lead. But, in a $5-$10 game, where the antes are a $1.00, and the bring-in bet is $1.50, the pot odds are going to be about 5-1 for you to call. ($5 to call with a $24.50 pot).

    b) He may have paired up his hand. If so, you are about a 69% favorite.

    c) If you hit good on 5th street and your opponent does not, you will have the lead. For example, if on 5th street, your opponent has (A-2) 6 5 J and you have (2-4) 8 6 3, you are now a 67% favorite.

Scenario #7-Both hit good cards (you are now in the lead):
Both you and your opponent are heads-up on 4th street, after you called his raise on 3rd street. You both hit good cards on 4th street. If you are in the lead, you should bet. This is true even if you paired your hand, as you have the "visible" lead.

Scenario #8-You hit good, he hits bad:
Both you and your opponent are heads-up on 4th street, after you called his raise on 3rd street. He is dealt a bad card, and you get a good card. You are in the lead, so bet. This is true even if you paired your hand, as you have the "visible" lead.

Scenario #9-He hits good, you hit bad:
Both you and your opponent are heads-up on 4th street, after you called his raise on 3rd street. Your opponent hits a good card and you hit a bad card. In most cases you should fold, but a call may be right depending on your hole cards relative to his exposed cards, along with your read on his hand.
(see Scenario #4 above for the explanation.)

Scenario #10-You both hit bad cards:
Both you and your opponent are heads-up on 4th street, after you called his raise on 3rd street. You both hit bad cards.

Use the Two-Level Rule: If you take the lead, and if your 4th street card is two-levels lower or more than your opponent, you should bet. If not, you should check, and call if your opponent bets. If you are still behind, and if your opponent's fourth-street card is twolevels lower or more than yours, if he bets, you should fold depending on your hole cards relative to his exposed cards, along with your read on his hand.

  • Example:
    You are behind on 3rd street, but you take the lead when you hit a Q and your opponent hits a K. Don't bet here.
    Most players will call your bet, and the cards on 5th street will often determine the winner.

  • Example:
    You are behind on 3rd street, and you hit a 10 and your opponent hits a Q. You have a big enough lead where you should bet.

  • Example:




    You are behind on 3rd street, and you hit a Q and your opponent hits a 10. If your opponent bets, you need to decide the strength of your opponent's hand. If your opponent raised pre-flop with the A showing, and he is likely to raise whenever he has an A showing, you should call.
    However, if this player is tight you may want to fold and not get into a potentially, costly showdown.

  • Example:
    You are behind on 3rd street, and your opponent hits a J and you hit a pair. Call if your opponent bets, and check if your opponent checks. You are going to have a positional advantage in this hand. Wait till 5th street to decide the relative strength of your hand.

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