Stop minraising

Dorkus Malorkus

Dorkus Malorkus

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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.
Blinds 10/20

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!
 
twizzybop

twizzybop

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I fully agree, the mini raise establishes nothing. You gain 0 information by it. I have seen people UTG mini-raise with AA's in hopes of what? This what I normally hear. I raised with the AA's or we can even say KK's, QQ's because they "Hope" someone will re-raise them so they can re-re-raise the re-raise? Yet this opens the fact that if everyone at the table calls the mini-raise there is no info about any of your opponents hole cards.

Then I see the mini-raise used when a bunch of people limp, someone makes a mini-bet on the flop, yet while there are 3-4 others to act after them. They will gain 0 information when everyone just calls cause they have the pot odds to do so.

Another one of my favorites, mini raise for fear of a flush or a straight draw. Why give the flush and straight draw chases very correct odds to call.

The mini raise is almost as useless as watching someone limp with a top ten hand vs 3-4 limpers.

Again you don't gain any info by mini raising or limping with a top ten pre flop hand.

Great post by the way
 
Jack Daniels

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Both of you make excellent points in your posts. Excellent post Chris. And yes, for the record, I am stating that I basically agree with everything Chris said.:)
 
ChuckTs

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I agree - mostly. Online, at a full table, with everyone, or most people with healthy stacks, minraises don't achieve nearly what a normal 3-5BB raise does. I actually hate them, and laugh at anyone who does them. I hate seeing some players here that I know to be playing for a while post a hand with say AJ for a minraise from EP with the blinds at 30/60. One thing I found strange and actually shocked me was seeing how Harrington had little to no problem with minraises. He actually suggested them, stating that you raise with AA for 2-4 BBs in EP with AA (quote me if I'm wrong, but it's something like that). Of course his strategy is meant for big buyin (ie 10K) tourneys, but even so the raise doesn't accomplish what a normal 3BB raise would. Your thoughts on Harrington's opinion? Mine are genuinely confused; I don't see how he can see a minraise as a good play, with the exception of mixing your play up.

One situation in which minraises are fine is heads up. The suggested raise from action Dan is 2-2.5BBs, but I mostly stick to 2.5 to 3 online since players will call with most cards for a minraise.
 
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scifell

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Just to play the devil's advocate:


Doesn't my minraise (only raise possible) give me information and help push others out of the pot when I play limit holdem? How is this different?

Lets say I make a minimum bet on the flop that is way less than the pot. Shouldn't someone with a decent made hand raise here, and only the draws and weak hands call? You have either gained information or you are gaining from thier mistake of not betting bigger when they should have- and with a draw, wouldnt either result benefit me?
 
F

Freakakanus

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Excellent post, and one lesson that I think I have actually finally learned. I know that I call with any two cards to min raises especially if I'm in one of the blinds. Those usually end up being the big winners especially when you catch 2 pr with some junk hand and crack someones Aces!
 
ChuckTs

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Just to play the devil's advocate:


Doesn't my minraise (only raise possible) give me information and help push others out of the pot when I play limit holdem? How is this different?

The difference is that in limit you don't have a choice. The optimum play for a holding of AA isn't minraising, it's raising more; enough to get good value from the hand, and enough to isolate the hand to 1 or 2 players. You have that choice in NLHE, but in LHE, you don't. In limit, it is also coincidentally much harder to isolate a hand to 1 or 2 people than it is in NL - and I'm sure you can guess why...

Lets say I make a minimum bet on the flop that is way less than the pot. Shouldn't someone with a decent made hand raise here, and only the draws and weak hands call? You have either gained information or you are gaining from thier mistake of not betting bigger when they should have- and with a draw, wouldnt either result benefit me?

DM's thread is more about minraising, and not minbetting - they are different. I think what you're describing is more like a probe bet (a highly useful tool). Say you're in a limped pot with 10/20 blinds. 5 people and 100 chips total in the pot. You've got 66 and the board comes T72. Everybody checks to you, and you throw out a 25-50 chip bet (aka a probe bet; usually 1/4 to 1/2 the pot) to gain some information, and hopefully take down the pot. If you get a call that you feel is week, then maybe another bigger turn bet will win you the pot. If you get check-raised, then you can dump your hand. But with a 20 chip (minbet) bet, people will probably even call with overcards, or a gutshot. Maybe someone with A2 calls, and where do you stand now? Maybe he called with a 7, maybe a weak ten, maybe a draw.....who knows. With a bigger bet, you can tell that he probably won't be drawing to overcards, nor will he have called with a deuce. You won't really know where you stand in the hand with that tiny of a bet.

The way I see it, the point is that minraises (especially online) don't do any of the 3 objectives that DM mentioned, and raising at least 3BBs is definitely a better option.

There goes another ramble......kinda lost track there; hope it makes sense :)
 
Dorkus Malorkus

Dorkus Malorkus

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Just to play the devil's advocate:


Doesn't my minraise (only raise possible) give me information and help push others out of the pot when I play limit holdem? How is this different?

The fact that you don't have a choice in limit, and the fact that you have more and better options available in no limit. In limit, it's a given that the ranges of hands you can assign players with is larger than in equivalent no limit hands, given optimal play.

In limit, you have TPTK on a ragged two-flush board, and you bet. You are correct in betting, as you have the best hand and obviously want to get money in while ahead. However, the guy with the flush draw is justified in calling in most cases because of pot odds. You have no real opportunity to allow villain to make a mistake here.

No limit gives you more opportunities to make your opponents make errors, and more opportunities to extract information from our opponents than limit, which is a more mechanical game. Why not take these opportunities when they are presented? Limit and NL are two completely different games, and your statement is kinda like someone saying "You should always play A2xx in Omaha because it's a good O8 hand". ;)

Implied odds are also a huge factor. 74s is more likely to call a preflop minraise when he stands to double up an already large stack than if he expects to win at most 5 or 6 BBs if he hits a flop.
 
t1riel

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I think some players miniraise online becuase it's easy to click on the raise button instead of typing or adjusting the amount you want to raise. I do it every once in a great while. Miniraising on gives the other opponents pot odds to call. Then again, most players online don't understand the concept of pot odds so anyway...
 
mrsnake3695

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Someone mention Harrington talking about mini-raises. I believe he was talking about it in the context of mixing up your game so other players can't put you on a hand. This is more important in live games than internet games since on the net you move more frequently and most people don't pay attention anyway. I agree with the original post that most of the time mini raises are useless, I don't think harrington suggested that it is the right play to mini-raise AA or any other hand, just a range of bets/raises to mix up your game.
 
stretch833

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See, now this is the reason I enjoy this forum so much! I never thought about this until reading DM's post. I am very guilty of doing this, but now I see why it is not the right play in most cases. Thanks DM!!
 
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Threesixes

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Good post. One more time I will do it is late in a tourney when I have a monster. AA or KK usually.A big raise is going to scare people out and no raise leaves too many in. When I do this I'm actually trying to represent a poor attempt at a blind raise and looking to get re-raised. Many times I'll get re-raised by say KJ or KQ type hands. Even ace rag. Then I set them all in and they usually dont fold. You have to have a feel for the table of course.
 
buckster436

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Excellent post, and one lesson that I think I have actually finally learned. I know that I call with any two cards to min raises especially if I'm in one of the blinds. Those usually end up being the big winners especially when you catch 2 pr with some junk hand and crack someones Aces!
I agree with Freak here, if im in one of the blinds a Mini_Raise does nothing and ill call it 90% of the time with any 2 cards, >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.. buck:joyman:
 
I

Irongirl01

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really good post. I know Ive been guilty of it. I think people do it because if you bet 4x bb you get no callers. You are more likely to get callers by going 5x to 6x then 4x.

Now my question? If someone has miniraised and there is say two callers, what kind of hands do you reraise with and how much should the reraise be. Say bb is $20 the miniraiser has bumped it to $40. Two limpers and the blinds yet to act too. say you are 5th position. there is $150 in the pot (3x $40 plus the BB at $20 and the sb at $10).
 
wsorbust

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I agree. I've seen the increase in min. raisers on every hand grow in the past months. To me, its a sure sign of being a noob. Doing ANYTHING every single time renders a person predictable and the move useless.
 
chipslap u

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All a min raise does is tell an observant player that you have a decent starting hand and encourages them to call and see a flop.

If I'm in the big blind and it is min raised to me I have been known to call with 27os.

I have busted so many big hands seeing min raised flops and catching with extreme marginal hands like 79.

The min raise never looks for the beat. That is why it so often is.

If you have a big starting hand like say KK and you want action isn't it better to limit the number of players calling into the hand by at least raising 3 or 4 times the bb.

A min raise almost always gives good pot odds to see a flop.
 
B

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I have to agree with the lack of information and achieving nothing with the min raise when blinds are small but I have also seen the threesixes scenario when someone has a monster and they will min raise to get people in and raise the pot. The problem with the min raise to draw people in is also inviting for someone to outdraw you, I've tried this move a few times and have gotten outdrawn with rags so I've stuck with raising 3-4x the blind or not raising at all.

The only situation where a min raise might be acceptable is when blinds are really high late in a tournament...
 
chipslap u

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I have seen the min raise used effectively once. The guy that won the UB million freeroll a few months ago used it to finish of the last 4 players.

He min raised every pot he played which were most of the hands dealt. The players either dumped the blinds and folded or called with marginal hands and folded to his next bet all in. The one that called was buried to a pair of flopped 6s. The guy frustrated the others to make bad decisions, the last 2 went all in after his min raise and he turned over monsters both times.

The blinds were huge at that point and do to noone challenging his min raises early they all found themselves as 5-10 times underdogs to him.

The only time I ever use the min raise is if in a middle to late position where there is less than 4 -5 players to act. I only do this with AA or KK as I want a reraise with full intent to put them all in. Usually only one or maube 2 of the remaining players will call or reraise which allows my hand to remain in a dominant position preflop.

As many of you know the more hands in before the flop the lower the winning percentage all hands receive. Even aces can dip several percentage points below 50% as a strong hand.

Usually I limp or min raise late hoping to get a raise to me so that I may force bigger action or hold a better position after the flop and set the pace.
 
Tammy

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Prime Example

Here's an example of why minimum raises are bad, mmmm-kay? :p (Because donks like me will call! :D)

pokerstars No-Limit Hold'em Tourney, Big Blind is t20 (10 handed)
Button (t1500)
SB (t1500)
BB (t1500)
UTG (t1500)
UTG+1 (t1500)
UTG+2 (t1500)
MP1 (t1500)
MP2 (t1500)
MP3 (t1500)
Hero (t1500)
Preflop: Hero is CO with A
spade.gif
, 6
spade.gif
.
UTG raises to t40, 2 folds, MP1 calls t40, 1 fold, MP3 calls t40, Hero calls t40, 2 folds, BB calls t20.
Flop: (t210) 6
heart.gif
, 2
club.gif
, A
diamond.gif
(5 players)
BB checks, UTG bets t20, MP1 calls t20, MP3 calls t20, Hero raises to t80, BB folds, UTG calls t60, MP1 folds, MP3 folds.
Turn: (t410) A
heart.gif
(2 players)
UTG bets t100, Hero calls t100.
River: (t610) J
heart.gif
(2 players)
UTG checks, Hero bets t200, UTG calls t200.
Final Pot: t1010
Results in white below:
UTG has 3d Kd (one pair, aces).
Hero has As 6s (full house, aces full of sixes).
Outcome: Hero wins t1010.

You're probably wondering why I didn't bet more on the river...I was just trying to figure out an amount that I knew villain would call. This was the first hand of the game, but after watching this guy play further on in the game, he probably would have called an all-in. :(
 
Tammy

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Yeah, donk. Right. Donk, donk, donk. :eek: NOT!!


WTF???
shocked.gif
Why would he have called anything?
confused.gif

I know right? And he raised! Can't figure out if he thought he was "sweetening the pot" with that stellar hand, or if he really thought it would scare people off. :p For the record his name was odaddyo (on Poker Stars). I encourage you all to look him up! :D
 
Marklar

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I'm suing the online poker sites for having the minraise button available (okay not really) I always call a min raise if i have a hand I want to play. Somtimes it ends up costing me and sometimes i win a small pot (but thankfully for his useless and complete waste of time while clicking on the min-raise button, i was able to get a little more chips) Sometimes if I connect to something on the flop i start firing away then end up losing to AA. Then get laughed at by everyone else and I say "well what am I supposed to do?"

When someone min raises I'm putting them on a hand like JT or KJ, KQ unsuited, etc.

But I do think it is a complete waste of time and it frustrates the *(&# out of me when someone in late position does it because we gotta wait as we have everyone else call the min raise, because who's going to fold? :p
 
Stefanicov

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Mni raises suck ive been caught many times recently with mini raise from sb and like a donk reraise with medieum hand only to be put in.
 
Bombjack

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I'm coming to the end of Sklansky & Miller's No Limit Hold'em Theory and Practice (NLHTP). I gather that Sklansky's known for his ultra-tight approach in Limit, but all that seems to go out of the window in this book. I was surprised by some of the things they write, for example Sklansky now seems to love min-raising and limping in on the button.
Sklansky & Miller (p.267) said:
Say you have A♥10♥ in early position in a nine-handed $5-$10 game. You've been playing mostly with an $800 stack, but you just won a big pot and now you have $1500 in front of you. With the smaller, $800 stack, you would usually limp in with the hand. But now your stack has doubled, you might be better off min-raising: making it $20 to go.
Mostly your opponents will react to your min-raise exactly as if you had limped. They're not likely to fold their "limping" hands just because you raised. Some players may get scared and just call with a hand they would have raised if you had limped. Others might raise a little more often to challenge your "weak" raise. But usually you'll simply have doubled the stakes. If that's what you want, don't let any know-it-all tell you that it's a bad play. Min-raise away.

Also, a bit off-topic, but on the subject of limping on the button:
Sklansky & Miller (p.128) said:
[Re: being first to enter a pot in late position] Limping can definitely be ok. Some macho types will tell you never to limp first in from LP. But that advice belongs to limit games or tournaments. In deep stack cash games, limping, even on the button, will frequently be a fine play.

Not saying this must all be correct because it's in a book, but it's another point for discussion.
 
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