I’m starting to see that while Razz might appear to be overwhelmingly a “math” or “numbers” game, it actually involves a lot more “feel” than I realized before trying it out. I haven’t played enough, obviously, to be able to explain what that means, really. But it has been interesting to see how the third-street raising tends to go (usually only two or three players see fourth), how you really can bluff folks out of pots (and/or be bluffed out of pots), how one can go from being the favorite to a dog and back several times before a hand is complete, among other aspects of the game.
When I finished I tripped over to the 2+2 Forums to see if anyone ever talks about Razz over there. Didn’t find much. There is no “Razz” forum -- only an “Other Poker Games” section where Razz very occasionally comes up. (A couple of Razz-related threads actually popped up over in the “Stud” section as well.) As usually happens whenever I skim through the forums (at 2+2, RGP, the Card Clubs Network Forums, CardPlayer, THF), I ended up clicking around and getting distracted by other threads that looked interesting. I enjoy reading these and occasionally will contribute. Given that I live hundreds of miles from the nearest casino and am currently without a regular home game, it’s good to be able from time to time to have a kind of “community” of poker players with whom to discuss the game.
The poker forum is an interesting animal, really. Some of the threads on 2+2 get fairly competitive, almost as though those who are posting see themselves as participating in a hand of poker. One will “open bet” (let’s say) with a comment challenging some sort of accepted wisdom, for example, “Harrington’s Law of Bluffing” which states “the probability that your opponent is bluffing when he shoves a big bet in the pot is always at least 10 percent” (from Volume 1 of Harrington on Hold ‘em). Nonsense, says the thread-starter -- there are some players who simply never ever bluff. The first few respondents write comments that essentially agree with the original post (they “call” him). Then someone decides to put in a small “raise” by modifying the original argument, applying the principle to limit hold ’em (not NL tourneys). Then another “reraises” by challenging that assumption. And so forth.
That particular thread has thus far remained fairly amicable, although sometimes you’ll see posters aggressively battling each other as if vying for a huge pot. Another similarity with playing online is the fact that irony/sarcasm generally doesn’t go over terribly well -- oftentimes you’ll see threads taken completely off-track by someone having mistaken a tongue-in-cheek comment for sincerity, follow-up “I-was-half-joking-when-I-said-that”-type posts, or the like.
These phenomena aren’t specific to poker forums, of course, but the fact that poker players are usually trying not to “communicate” with complete transparency when at the table -- instead deliberately deceiving others with false cues -- makes it doubly interesting to witness these genuine attempts to communicate in the forums.
Or via blogs, for that matter.