Looking through a few of the hands that have been posted recently, the minraising phenomenon seems to be getting more and more pronounced. In this thread, I hope to detail exactly why the majority of the time it's a bad play, and to note the couple of exceptions.
In analyzing why it's a bad play, we need to first ask ourselves why do we raise at all? There are three main reasons, which will apply in varying degrees according to the situation.
1) For value, that is to get more money in the pot while we believe we are ahead.
2) To push others out of the pot.
3) For information.
In most circumstances, minraising only acheives objective 1) above, and it does it generally less successfully than a more standard sized raise. Minraises have little to no chance of pushing anyone out of the pot
, for the obvious reason that they only have to call a small amount more in relation to the pot size, and hence are getting good pot odds
. We make money from our opponents mistakes in poker, and by minraising we are simply not giving our opponent the opportunity to make a mistake, as we are giving him odds to call with a huge range of hands.
You gain no information from minraises
. Simply for the reason stated above - that minraises can be called by a huge range of hands because they're getting odds to call. Thus you're not acheiving objective 3) of raising.
Let's look at an example hand:
Hero is in MP with AA (1000 chips)
Villain is in BB with ?? (1000 chips). Very standard, by-the-book player.
Folds to Hero, who minraises to 40. BB calls.
Our raise has achieved very little
. We have succeded in getting more money in the pot while we are ahead, however we have no information on BB's holding as he is justified in calling with two cards here. Ever hear the old saying about how Aces will either win you a small pot or lose you a huge one? Minraising here only emphasizes this problem. If BB doesn't hit a flop hard, it's easy for him to fold as he only has 40 chips invested and is out of position. If he does hit, however, because you've gained no information about his holding preflop, you aren't going to know much about it until you've invested a lot more money into the pot.
Flop comes KhTh3c. Villain bets 60. Hero raises to 120.
Again, our raise is useless. If villain calls here (which most of the time he will) he could be calling with a huge hand, a big draw, or Ace high. Because Hero only minraised preflop, villain could be holding anything, KT, K3, T3, 33, 22, A8, and so on - take your pick. If villain reraises here he could have a huge hand, or could have interpreted your minraise as a weak steal. You have no information to act on further into the hand, and will be either investing chips without a clue where you stand, or will be making a ridiculously weak fold.
If we'd raised more preflop, we could rule out the ragged two-pair hands, random drawing hands like J9, Qh6h etc, and possibly 33, reducing Villain's range hugely and making our future decisions in tha hand far easier. By playing a hand badly in the early stages, you will often end up leaving yourself with a choice between the proverbial devil and the deep blue sea later in the hand. This is why preflop and flop play are the most crucial parts of Hold 'em, because good play early in a hand generally leads to easier decisions later.
I could go further into the hand, but you get the point, I'm sure.
As far as I'm concerned, there are only two reasonable circumstances in which minraises are appropriate. The first being in late tournament stages at a very weak table where a minraise is all it generally takes to steal the blinds. If players are as likely to fold to a minraise as a 3BB raise, why invest the extra BB? Secondly, it's reasonable as a kind of pseudo-slowplay with a huge hand that is very unlikely to be drawn out on, something like KK on a K73r flop. If you feel people are likely to hang around, then it's worth trying to leech a little more money from them and swell the pot early on.
But the above situations are rare - so stop minraising!