Stealing - An Essential Ingredient for Winning
Stealing is a key part of Razz poker. You can't sit back and wait forever, since the antes and bring-in bets will slowly erode your money. Don't bleed-out at the poker table. If you want to win, you must steal the antes.
- Look for opportunities to steal the antes and bring-in bets. Online Razz players hit their fold button too fast. Wait for your turn before you decide your action, as a stealing opportunity may present itself.
It is agonizing when the bring-in bettor shows a King, and everyone folds. The player to his right had a 10 showing, but hit his fold button without waiting to see the action. Wait.
Don't put yourself on autopilot, there's money to be won!
- Look to steal when you are to the right of the bring-in bettor. If everyone folds to you, raise with your lower exposed card.
If you have a 9 showing and everyone folds to you, you must raise the bring-in bettor who shows a Q, even if you have pocket 9's as your hole cards.
- Look to steal when your exposed card is lower than all other player's exposed cards.
If your exposed card is an 8, and all the players have higher cards showing, you should raise to steal.
Of course, if you are first to act, your exposed card is a 3, and all the other players show 4's and 5's, it is not smart to steal without very strong hole cards.
- Look to steal when everyone folds to you, you have an exposed low card, and you only have to get past one other player.
You have (J-5) 4 and your opponent has a (10-7) 2.
Everyone folds to you, so you raise as a steal with one low card in the hole. Your opponent calls your raise. Even though your steal hasn't been successful, your opponent only has a 57% edge. You can still win on 4th street if you hit a low card, and bet as a semi-bluff.
You have (K-Q) 4 and your opponent has a (10-7) 8.
Everyone folds to you, so you raise as a steal with two high cards in the hole. This is a riskier play. If your opponent calls, he is an 82% favorite, and if he re-raises, you should fold.
You may want to randomize this play to the times where you have one low card in the hole. In addition, note that your opponent's exposed card can be higher or lower than your exposed card.
- Look to steal when you show an Ace
Since you have the best low card showing, your opponents can't determine the true strength of your hand. Again, you may want to try this play only when you have one low card in the hole.
- Look for a limp-steal, especially from an early position.
You have a playable hand in early position but there are two or more lower exposed cards behind you. When you limp, it looks to your opponents that you have a good but not great hand (like three cards to an 8-low), and you are concerned about the players who have those lower exposed cards. Often, you'll be heads-up with the bring-in bettor and you'll win the pot with almost any card on 4th street.
- If you believe a player is stealing, and you are in position, re-raise the stealer to get heads-up or get him to fold.
If you think a player is stealing, always look to raise and reraise.
The bring-in bettor is to your left, and everyone folds to the player on your right who shows an A, and raises. If
you have (2-J) 4, and believe your opponent is stealing, re-raise.
The stealer may fold to your raise, or you will win the pot when you hit good and he hits bad on 4th street.
- If you notice a player who raises too often on 3rd street, re-raise him since he can't always have a big hand.
Some players are very aggressive, especially when the table is short-handed. Against these players you need to re-raise and get heads-up. If the stealer calls your bet, you should even consider using his aggressive play against him, and slow-play your hand if you hit good cards.
- If you notice a player re-raises too often on 3rd street, you should try to get heads-up against him.
A few players almost always re-raise a player who raises on 3rd street. Try to get heads-up with this player. You can often steal the pot on 4th street. Or, if you get good cards, you can even slow-play to win a bigger hand. The bully at a Razz poker table wins a lot of pots, especially when the table is short-handed.
- If you notice a player is so tight that he never defends his bring-in bet, look to raise him.
If your exposed card is a 9, and the bring-in bettor has a 10, he will fold even if you are last to act and are stealing.