Never Fear The Big Raise
Here's my second article that I'm attemtping. You all remember my first one "Beyond the Top Ten Starting Hands." Enjoy:
Never Fear The Big Raise
When you sit at a poker table, there will be some raises that make you fold your hand instantly if you don't have good hand. Basically, it scares some players away. It's a good move to fold in some cases. However, you need to examine the amount of the raise to determine whether the raiser has a good hand of not. A big raise is designed to "scare players away." If the raiser had a great hand, why would he/she want to scare players away? Usually, players with a great hand don't want to raise it too much because they want some action and more chips added to the pot. They also want some players to fold to increase their chance or winning. Let's look at some examples to explain what I mean.
a) There are eight players and you are dealt Kh, 10c in middle position with average amount of chips. Two players call the Big Blind (which is $200). You call. Two players fold after you. The player on the button raises it to 2,000. That's 10x the big blind! Immediately, everyone folds.
Now, the raiser made a huge raise and is about average in chips. Not knowing much about the player, the raiser did this for two reasons. One, he/she is in great position. Two, he wants to steal the blinds. Why? There are many explanations. The raiser was dealt a garbage hand but since the big blind wasn't raised, he/she figured to take advantage of the position. You could call the raise and hope the flop goes in your favor. Most players don't want to take that chance. This is how some players start building up their stack. I guess it's up to you if you want to call or not. You know the saying, "No guts, no glory."
b) There are eight players with the blinds (100/200). You are the button with average chip stack. You are dealt 9c, 9s. You raise it to 800 total which is 4x the big blind. Small blind calls. The big bling re-raises it to 3,200 total which is 4x what you raised. Everyone folds until it comes to you. What do you do now? Now, pocket nines are a good hand but is it good enough to call the raise? Hell, if you're going to call that you might as well push all in!
The Big Blind is in good position and raised it to a fairly large amount. Besides the fact that this player could be very loose, there are other explanations. The Big Blind already has 200 committed and only has to call 400 more. Now, if the Big Blind wanted to steal the blinds with a garbage hand, it won't be wise to do it now considering the raise made by you. However, the big blind might want to raise it to a high amount that would hopefully get you to fold. That being said, the Big Blind probably has a decent hand but probably not as good as yours. This would be a logical reason. The Big BLind is putting you in a difficult position. Do you want to put most, if not all, your chips on the line with pocket nines. Some players would, others wouldn't.
a) You are the button with Ac, Kc. The blinds are 50/100 with egiht players on the table. Early position players fold and one mid-position player calls. One Late position player calls. You raise it to 600. Small blind folds. The Big Blind calls. Everyone else folds except for the late position player. The flop comes:
Qh, 10c, Qc.
The late position player checks. You bet 400. The big blind raises it to 2800. Big Re-raise here. You could call or maybe all in with straight and flsuh draws. You and the Big Blind have average amount of chips. What could the Big Blind be holding? You can rule out Q, 10 because he/she wouldn't have raised that much, if at all, with the nut full house. The big blind could have a queen or even a ten which could be a possibility. The big blind probably suspects there are some flush and straight draws out there since he/she is up against two players. As most players would tell you, three of a kind diminishes in value when two or more suits are on the flop. Would you chase the straight or flush? The big blind is forcing you to make the decision. At best, one out of the two will fold.
The big blind could have nothing or be in the same situation as you with flush or straight draws. The raise does make you think about the Big Blind's hand. He/she could have missed the flop completely but doesn't want you to think that. It's possible he/she wants you to think that he/she got a good hit on the flop. It's decision time and everyone's waiting. Call, All In, of Fold? Come on! We haven't got all day!
b) You are the button and dealt Qs, Jc. Eight players on the table and the blinds are 50/100. Early position players fold. One mid-position player and one late position player calls. You raise it to 400. The small blind folds. The big blind raises it to 800. Everyone folds except for one mid-position player and you who calls. You figure you already have 400 committed and it's a minimum reraise. Let's see the flop:
Qh, Jc, As.
Mid-position player checks and you bet 500. The big blind calls as well as the mid-position player. The turn:
Mid-position player checks. You bet 800. The blgi blind raises it to 3000. Whoa! Where did that come from? You are already in a dilemma. You have two pair. But there is an Ace on the board and a straight draw. The big blind could have hit the straight with K, 10 or 10, 8 (well, he/she was in the blig blind). There is also a flush possiblity. Or maybe he has pocket nines and wants to scare away anyone who's chasing the straight or flush. He/she put you in a position to make a tough decision (hey, that rhymes!). The big blind obviously has a good hand with the calls until the turn. What do you do then?
My point of this article is if a player makes a BIG rai, don't automatically think they have the nut hand or a great hand. Sure, you have tough decisions to make but if you make the right choice, the rewards will be excellent.
By: Timothy Riel
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