Tuesday, March 06, 2007

More on preflop raising

Bob Tewksbury: What you are talking about here is what scouts and executives call “makeup.” High-achieving players play with confidence, have a short-term memory regarding past failures, keep their focus on the process of their actions rather than on the result, and minimize their achievements. Those players have the ideal baseball personality.
--Baseball Prospectus interview

I wanted to add a few notes to my previous post about preflop raising after Hoyazo linked me up. In general, I suggested re-raising a wide range of hands from late position with suited connectors, suited one-gappers, suited Aces, Broadway cards and some suited Kings.

But like any strategy in poker, this one is simply a general set of guidelines. There are exceptions to every rule, and if you do the same thing every time, your opponents will start to catch on.

Against tight calling stations, re-raising with some of those Axs, Kxs and lower offsuit broadway hands can turn into a mistake. You'll often be dominated, which can cost you a medium-size pot when you can't bet for value or successfully bluff.

Another situation when re-raising with marginal hands can be obviously wrong is against a short stack. By their nature, short stacks generally don't give good implied odds, meaning that your suited connectors and more marginal high card hands (those that contain a T or 9) can get you in trouble.

One idea I failed to make clear previously is what I meant when I wrote "3 betting." The terminology makes more sense in limit poker, where a limp/call is the first bet, a raise is the 2 bet, and a re-raise is the 3 bet. The same goes for no limit, although it takes a little more thought. Just remember that the first raise is the 2 bet and the second raise is the 3 bet. I wasn't advocating re-re-raising with suited connectors or low pocket pairs -- that's just crazy (much of the time).

The main point I want to make is that your reads on your opponents should dictate whether you re-raise or not. More often than not, raising or folding preflop is solid poker. But calling has its place, and it's important to look for those situations so that you don't trap yourself into playing a large pot with poor chances of winning.

Folding is also perfectly OK preflop, even sometimes when you think you have a playable hand. It costs very little to fold, and no one will ever know what you let go.


Mark - An Englishman Abroad said...

NIce posts on re-raising and something I will experiment with over the coming weeks!

Did a quick write up on your article over at Plan3t Gong and added you to my 'Blogs of distinction' list - be great to have a link back when you have a spare moment.

Cheers, Mark

Ignatious said...

i just want to say that is an outstanding opening quote.