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Best of Elliot Frome

Gaming Guru

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What the Heck is a Razgu?

22 April 2004

What the heck is a 'Razgu'? Is it a good hand? Is it a bad hand? Is it the name of a baseball team?

The term Razgu was coined by one of my Dad's Poker playing friends to refer to a really bad hand. Most often, it means a Video Poker hand, which is so bad, that there is nothing worth keeping. You are better off drawing 5 new cards than attempting to draw to anything in the hand. For example:

2C
5D
6D
7S
10D

When you get a hand like this, you have a tendency to stare at it for a few seconds and try and figure what you have a shot at making. You start thinking about maybe holding the 3-Card Straight or perhaps the 3-Card Flush. Maybe even the 2-Card Straight Flush is your best play. By now, you probably know my response. Let's check the Expected Values (assuming a 9/6 Jacks or Better game):

 

Hand
EV
3-Card Straight
.2747
3-Card Flush
.3302
2-Card Straight Flush
.3018
Razgu
.3598

From the table above, we know that the Razgu (draw 5) is our best option. Of course, if you look in a strategy table you won't see ANY of the other hands. If the Expected Value of a hand is BELOW that of a Razgu, then it simply won't appear on the table. You'll notice that the lowest playable hand above a Razgu is a 3-Card Double Inside Straight Flush with no High Cards. We NEVER (in JOB 9/6) play 3-Card Flushes, 3-Card Straights or 2-Card Straight Flushes.

In Jacks or Better, you can expect a Razgu about once every 31 hands, on average. As we've shown in past columns, this doesn't mean you won't get 2 in a row, or go 50 or even 100 hands without having one.

What can you expect from one when you do get one? Unfortunately, not much. While you're better off choosing the Razgu over the other hands shown above, the Razgu is still a very weak hand. It will prove to be a paying hand only about 23% of the time, and more than 2/3 of these will be a High Pair. Once in a great while you'll hit a Four of a Kind or a Full House, which contributes greatly to what makes the Razgu more valuable than the 3-Card Straights and Flushes. With the hand shown above, you can expect the following final hands:

Hand
Frequency
Percent of
Total
Pays
Payback Percent
Royal Flush
3
0.000196%
800
0.4349%
Straight Flush
20
0.001304%
50
0.1812%
Four of a Kind
344
0.022426%
25
1.5583%
Full House
2124
0.138467%
9
3.4638%
Flush
3100
0.202094%
6
3.3703%
Straight
5593
0.364617%
4
4.0538%
Three of a Kind
31502
2.053667%
3
17.1244%
Two Pair
71802
4.680890%
2
26.0210%
High Pair
241680
15.755516%
1
43.7923%
Non-Winners
1177771
76.780824%
0
0.00%
Total
1533939
100.0%
 
100.0%

Earlier, I said that 'most often' a Razgu is a bad hand. When is it a good hand? Unfortunately, not while playing Video Poker. Several years ago, my Dad and a friend invented a game that was called Action Poker. It had a trial run at a few different casinos, but never quite caught on. In this game, a Razgu was actually one of the top paying hands. Of course, the game was played with a Blackjack style shoe using six decks, so the combination of cards within a hand was quite intriguing.

Last but not least, Razgu IS the name of a baseball team. It just so happens to be the name of my son's little league baseball team. Nowadays, it's the only time I root for a RAZGU!

Elliot Frome

Elliot Frome is a 2nd generation gaming author and analyst. His father, Lenny Frome was considered one of the premier authors of Video Poker books. Titles include, Expert Video Poker for Las Vegas and Winning Strategies for Video Poker, which includes the strategy tables for 61 of the country’s most popular versions of Video Poker. Check out Compu-Flyers website at www.vpheaven.com, or drop Elliot an e-mail at compuflyers@prodigy.net.

Elliot Frome Websites:

www.vpheaven.com

Books by Elliot Frome:

> More Books By Elliot Frome

Elliot Frome
Elliot Frome is a 2nd generation gaming author and analyst. His father, Lenny Frome was considered one of the premier authors of Video Poker books. Titles include, Expert Video Poker for Las Vegas and Winning Strategies for Video Poker, which includes the strategy tables for 61 of the country’s most popular versions of Video Poker. Check out Compu-Flyers website at www.vpheaven.com, or drop Elliot an e-mail at compuflyers@prodigy.net.

Elliot Frome Websites:

www.vpheaven.com

Books by Elliot Frome:

> More Books By Elliot Frome