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Aaron Todd

Aaron  Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

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The "R" in H.O.R.S.E. with Linda Johnson

26 Jun 2007

By Aaron Todd

While the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament at the World Series of Poker has increased the visibility of mixed games, there are plenty of poker fans who only know about poker because of televised coverage, which has focused almost exclusively on No Limit Texas Hold'em.

As part of our coverage of the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament at the WSOP, we're examining each game played in H.O.R.S.E., starting with Limit Hold'em on the first day of the five-day tournament and ending with Seven Card Stud Eight or Better on the tournament's final day.

We talked to five players, each with a WSOP bracelet in a different poker variation included in H.O.R.S.E., and they shared some wisdom on how to play the game and how it fits into the overall structure of a H.O.R.S.E. tournament.

Day three: Razz
Linda Johnson is perhaps best known as "The First Lady of Poker," the genial woman who announces the final table of World Poker Tour events.

But the woman has credentials beyond her involvement with the WPT. She is also the co-owner of Card Player Cruises, which runs poker cash games and tournaments on several cruises each year. Johnson even teaches a beginner's level course during the cruise, and she is also an instructor at WPT Boot Camps.

Oh yeah, and Linda won a WSOP bracelet in Razz in 1997.

CCT: Other than the basic rules and structure of the game, what is the first lesson a player should learn about Razz?

Linda Johnson: Have the best hand or the best draw.

CCT: What is the most common mistake that players, even experienced players, make in Razz?

Linda Johnson: Calling with a face card in the hole.

CCT: Do you need to catch cards to play well in Razz? Or can you chase people out of pots with well-timed bluffs?

Linda Johnson: Razz and topless dancers have something in's what's up top that counts! A good board equals representing a good hand.

CCT: Are people generally better or worse at playing Razz than they are at the other games in H.O.R.S.E.? Why?

Linda Johnson: People are generally worse at razz because it requires a lot of patience and discipline.

CCT: How important is Razz in the overall structure of a H.O.R.S.E. tournament? Can you be a good H.O.R.S.E. player and be really bad at Razz?

Linda Johnson: I think you must play all the games well, but Razz is probably the least important because it is easy to fold hands and doesn't cost a lot per round.

CCT: Conversely, if you are an excellent Razz player, how does that impact your chances in a H.O.R.S.E. tournament?

Linda Johnson: I think Stud and Hold'em are more important in terms of what you can win or lose. For example when you start with aces in either of these games, you are often there until the river. In Razz, you will often fold on fourth or fifth street. In split games, you can often win a portion of the pot so they aren't going to make or break you as much as Hold'em or Stud.

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