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Fifth Street : Razz poker

The important mathematical fact that should be known about fifth street in razz poker is that a four-card bicycle or six low is a definite favorite over a rough nine made.

is more than a 6-to-5 favorite over

Depending on the cards that are out, a smooth draw may even be favored over a rough eight which is normally a slight favorite against one smooth draw is a money underdog against two smooth draws.

This is the paradox mentioned.  For instance, if I have a hand that will  be outdrawn by my opponent 49 percent of the time, I theoretically do not mind betting strategy as much as I can against him since I am 51-to-49 favorite.

However, if I am against two opponents both of whom have a 49 percent chance to outdraw me, I will beat them both only about 28 percent of the time. This is because I need a parlay to happen. I need them both to miss which will happen 51% x 51%.

Thus, I am 5-to-2 underdog against two opponents who are almost even money against me individually, and if I put in my money against both of them I am only getting 2-to-1. This sort of strange poker situation you face most often in razz and lowball draw games, although it can occasionally happen in high games.

Let us now look at the specific way to play fifth street in razz.  Obviously, if you find yourself with two bad ones showing against a man with three good cards, it is virtually never correct to go any further.  In other words, if you had

and he has

only quintuple bets on third street and fourth street could conceivably justify you going any further with the hand. Likewise, if you have three good cards showing and he has two bad cards showing it is an automatic bet even if you have a hidden two pair.

As was mentioned previously, if one person has a three-card hand and the other has what appears to be a four-card hand it is normally a fold for the three-card hand.

Only a very high suspicion that the apparent four-card hand has paired, or a lot of money in the pot coupled with very live cards, would justify chasing from this point. The betting would be fairly automatic. 

The four-card hand would bet whether it was you or your opponent and the three-card hand should almost always fold. Three-card hands against three-card hands on fifth street are not particularly common or relevant. The better three-card hand should usually bet.  Notice that

is a clear favorite over

So if everybody has really bad cards on fifth street the highest card you have assumes a lot more importance.

A four-card hand against another apparent four-card hand should almost always be bet if there is any chance your opponent has paired up; so if you have a K-7-5, showing and in fact have a four-card seven, you should certainly bet into another K-7-5 unless you are absolutely positive that he has not paired up, in which case you might want to check.

If he bets, however, there is not usually any good reason to raise unless your four-card hand ( because of the smallness of it or the cards that are out) is clearly better than his.

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