General concepts

Points of Play

Tournament Play

Third Street Play

There are many important concepts associated with third street play in razz poker. One of these is ante-stealing.

While it is true that in general you need a good hand to start with even in the high ante $ 30-$ 60 game, you only need this good hand if you know or are fairly sure you will be up against one or more opponents. 

It, however, there is some chance that by raising you will steal the antes, you might very well be correct to raise with a weaker hand. This would be the classic example of a semi-bluff.

The situation might arise when the high card has bet, you have a low card showing and no other low card has yet called. 

If you raise, you not only may ante stealing but you will usually have a second chance to win the pot if you get called and proceed to catch a good card on board on the next round.

This play may also be correct if there is one or sometimes even two low cards showing behind you who have yet to act. 

For instance, suppose you have and after a king brings it in for $ 5 in the $ 15 – $ 30 game, you raise one or two remaining low cards behind you who have not yet acted (for the time being I assume that all the high cards automatically fold), you will win the $ 13 in antes including the $ 5 bring-in when both low cards fold.

If you are not reraised on third poker street, you have another chance of winning even if you are called by one of the other low cards.

This will happen if, for instance, you catch another baby on fourth street and he catches a bad one and he now throws his hand away. 

In fact, even if he doesn’t throw his hand away you have now caught up with him and you will have the better hand since you have the better board. 

Thus, if you are in a game where few players reraise on third street, and you have a chance to steal the antes since no other hand has yet called, you are in a situation in the $ 15 – $ 30 game (when the game is eight-handed) of risking $ 15 to win $ 13 plus you have the extra chance of poker winning even if you are called. 

In the $ 30- $ 60 game when it is 8 handed you are risking $ 30 to win $ 40.  obviously, therefore as long as you think you have around a 50-50 chance of stealing in ante in the $ 15- $ 30 game you should try to do so. 

You should try somewhat more often in poker games where people rarely reraise on third street.  In the $ 30-$ 60 game you only have to be about 40 percent sure that you can steal the ante in order to make it correct to try to do so. 

And, once again, you can reduce this requirement if there is little chance you will be raraised. This brings us to the counter-strategy in theory of poker calls “Defense Against the Semi-Bluff.” 

When you are in a situation where somebody else is raising and may be trying to steal the ante and you find yourself with any kind of playable poker hand, such as a three-card eight, it is imperative that you reraise him so that he does not have these two different ways of winning the pot; namely by stealing or by out-flopping you on fourth street. 

Also, by playing this way it will make him less likely to try to steal through you.

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