the preflop raise. a theory. or two.
in poker, a game of deception, we are looking always to maximize our gains and minimize our losses. to do so we envoke several tools to help us with this; adaptation, mathematics, and deception amongst other things. something i want to take a look at is preflop play, and the importance of deception in it. as slansky says, "any time an opponent does something different than he would do if he knew your cards, we gain". the problem is, if we play too soft or vague, it is difficult for us to define our opponents hand. if we play too straight forward, we lose value and are flagged as an ABC player and will never get paid off. therefore, before raising preflop there are several things you need to think about aside from your holecards.
first off, position.
from the early positions we are acting with little or zero information from the other positions, other than what we have deciphered from earlier hands. like betting patterns, styles, etc. so when raising from the early positions we need to take this into accord and tighten our ranges accordingly. this is also because we will mostly be playing out of position postflop, and against a wide range of opponents it will cause our money to leak away if we play marginal hands. as our position betters, we can open our ranges and raise with more hands.
when you look down at a hand like aa in early position, the first thing you should do is not click click click away raising it up. one of the first things you should do is examine your previous reads on your opponents left to act. if, for instance, you have a note that the button is hyper aggressive and raises every orbit on his button/co and will fire all the way to the river, the correct thing might be to just limp. on the other end of the spectrum, if you have an lpp fool or two left to act, then raising might be the better option. taking away the rope of someone who wants to hang themself, or giving a fish too much slack to draw to are two mistakes you do not want to make. so before you act, take into account what the tendencies of the people behind you are.
third, dead money.
dead money is a topic that many people overlook. if you are one of these people, this could be a huge leak in your game. if your table is very loose weak, you should be punishing the limpers like crazy. abusing position on weak players should be something that brings a gleam of joy to your face.
fourth, your image (in the eyes of the table).
if you're on a sick card rush, it might not seem like anything out of the ordinary for you to raise AJs from the c/o into the normally passive blinds. but to them, it looks like you've raised 6 out of the last 10 hands and are a LAG maniac.
what it boils down to is that after looking down at your holecards, what you should do is not base the possibility and size of your bet on your cards alone, but on a plethorea of variables attached to the current session