Pre-flop raises are critical

IrishDave

IrishDave

A Member
Haven't really been playing much hold'em the last 2 weeks but I decided to play a single table SNG on Stars last night. Within the first 5 hands the 2 crazies at the table were gone and the game got exceedingly tight. Almost every hand there would be nothing but limp ins. Two hands I want to talk about and they both happened while I was in the BB.

First hand I'm in BB with 8-4 offsuit. Middle position calls, button calls, I check to see the cheap flop. Flop comes 9-4-4 rainbow - I have trip 4s. I bet 150 (blinds are 25-50), first limper goes allin, button calls, I call. first limper has pocket 10s, second limper has A-9 suited so they both have 2 pair and are serious dogs to my trips. An 8 falls on the turn which seals the hand for me - both are gone and both had me dominated pre-flop - but neither pushed me out.

Next orbit I'm in big blind with 6-7 offsuit. Middle position lims in, button raises to 3xBB, I debate for a second (low cards had been flopping) but I fold. Flop comes 3-4-5 rainbow - would have flopped nut str8 had it not been raised pre-flop to push me out. What would have been even worse is the 2 people in the hand had A-5 offsuit and A-2 suited respectively. Both ended up allin, A-2 won - but I would have beaten both.

I'm not the most aggressive pre-flop raiser in the world, but these 2 hands certainly illustrate what it's so critical to push the junk hands out. BTW, I went on to win this one...
 
Grumbledook

Grumbledook

Guest
The extra bonus with raising preflop is that you usually get heads up on the flop and a bet here regardless of what you have will result in a fold.
 
beardyian

beardyian

Scary Clown
Awards
2
It never fails to amuse me either that when the BB does raise before the flop in a smallish stake game that every one who has just limped in will usually call this raise as well :confused:

This i think also links with your previous post on "its only a quarter" etc.

BB - .25c - 4 or 5 limp in - BB raises to .50c :eek: the same 4 or 5 all call in a follow the leader style :)

Makes me laugh each time

As is often said "if its not good enough to raise with its not good enough to call either"

IanT
 
Xandit

Xandit

Guest
Regarding pre flop raise. A situation comes up for me frequently it seems. I'm early utg or in the bb and have say aj or 10's. Now conventional wisdom states that I should raise to drive out other players. but it seems that I always get a caller or 2. now the flop comes out that misses me completly. all low cards or a k or such. Now I fire a contuniation bet and get 1 fold and one caller. turn comes no help. now what? if i bet he'll call or raise and i'm out those chips can't call a reraise. You don't know where your at. If i check and they bet it's a fold. So I'm out those chips.
Now let's look at if I limp from early positon and get other limpers or possibly a small raise. If the flop misses me completly I can just fold. If the flop hits I've desquised my hand so i can check raise or just bet out.
sometimes i belive that limping and calling from early position can be the best play.
That being said, i'f i'm late in the hand. cutoff or button i will bring it for a raise. I think the power of positon has a lot to do with the preflop raise than the raise it's self.
 
IrishDave

IrishDave

A Member
Agree with you Xandit but even a 3xBB raise will generally clear out the junk hands and it would have gotten me out in the hand I mentioned. If you have anything resembling a good hand, like the A-T or TT you mention then a moderate raise will at least get the junk limpers out - sometimes...
 
lightning36

lightning36

Visionary
I was in a ring game a few days ago with A-rag in the BB. No one raises, and the flop pairs my A and the rag. One guy suddenly makes a huge raise. Sensing his despiration, I call him. End result: He was slow playing Cowboys and got pissed when he saw the Ace on the flop, which was what I guessed. I won a substantial pot, and his response was, "I guess that is why you're supposed to raise pre-flop." Yup - great example.
 
t1riel

t1riel

Legend
If you have a decent hand, you should always raise (at least 3x the big blind) if everyone just calls the big blind. You need to get players out to increase your odds of winning and it prevents players with crap hands to get a great hand on the flop. If I was the player who had pocket 10s, I would have most definitely raised. Chances are, IrishDave would have folded and I would have the best hand.
 
roundcat

roundcat

Creature of leisure
Great post, IrishDave. I learned this the hard way and have even made notes in my tracking spreadsheet to the effect of "This is why you need to raise preflop!"

The last think you want is for your unraised pocket aces to be cracked by the big blind with 53 offsuit when he gets lucky enough to flop something good.
 
Jesus Lederer

Jesus Lederer

Rock Star
Xandit said:
Regarding pre flop raise. A situation comes up for me frequently it seems. I'm early utg or in the bb and have say aj or 10's. Now conventional wisdom states that I should raise to drive out other players. but it seems that I always get a caller or 2. now the flop comes out that misses me completly. all low cards or a k or such. Now I fire a contuniation bet and get 1 fold and one caller. turn comes no help. now what? if i bet he'll call or raise and i'm out those chips can't call a reraise. You don't know where your at. If i check and they bet it's a fold. So I'm out those chips.
You said that you get a caller or 2, and that´s perfect. That´s one of the reasons of why are you raising. You can get some information based on the position where your opponents called and how much did they call (of course this depends if they play a different range of hands depending on the position, because if we talk about low limits most players won´t take the position as a factor in their games). So up to moment you cleared the field and you may have gotten some information. Now when you make the continuation bet you do it for basically 2 reasons: a) To represent the high card in the board or a high pocket pair. b) To get information.
You achieved the goal to make a player to fold, but unfortunately you still have one caller. Now you have to analyze why did your opponent called. By betting in the flop you got extra information about what your opponent may be holding. Would he raise instead of calling if he had the nuts? Did his call mean a medium strength hand? Is he chasing something?... you must analyze the situation and put him on a range of hands. The preflop raise helped to put him on a wide range of hands and now the continuation bet made that range smaller. You must combine all the information with your previous reads on the player. So at this point you have to get an idea of where are you standing.
If turn comes no help then you must trust your reads on him and the situation to make your next move.

Xandit said:
Now let's look at if I limp from early positon and get other limpers or possibly a small raise. If the flop misses me completly I can just fold. If the flop hits I've desquised my hand so i can check raise or just bet out.
sometimes i belive that limping and calling from early position can be the best play.
There biggest problem with limping from early position is the same that Dave said: you are allowing the other players to limp and the BB to check, so your hand value decreases. You may get in big trouble if you hold a high pocket pair, the board seems useless but really your opponent hit a better hand than yours, which is your fault because with your limp you made your chance of winning decrease.
Yes you may fold if the flop misses, but if you´re going to play like that you´ll lose lot of BB because most time the flop will miss you. Also you´re letting away the chance of winning the pot by limping instead of betting.
In my opinion limping from early position almost never is the best move.

Xandit said:
That being said, i'f i'm late in the hand. cutoff or button i will bring it for a raise. I think the power of positon has a lot to do with the preflop raise than the raise it's self.

Agree with you. That´s another reason of why a raise is better than a call preflop. For example if you raise in middle/late position you may make the players up to the button to fold, so you´re "stealing" the button. That´s a consecuence of the principal objective of the raise preflop: to get the limpers with junk hands to fold. In that way you obtain better position and the limpers or players with junk hands to fold, so your odds of winning increases.

IrishDave said:
If you have anything resembling a good hand, like the A-T or TT you mention then a moderate raise will at least get the junk limpers out - sometimes...

Agree. I know that that "sometimes" means that there are situations where it doesn´t matter how much you raise you´ll get callers with junk hands (i remember well a thread you made long time ago where you thought exactly the opposite of now. There you said that preflop raises at least at $5 or $10 SNG were useless, because you had experiences where you raised preflop and got called by junk that hit in the flop). You really don´t want to avoid those situations, because you´re putting more money in the pot with the best hand. The only way to avoid that calling stations is to move up from limits, but if you can´t win money by taking advantage of those calling stations when you raise with monsters, then you shouldn´t try to play at higher levels.
Don´t be afraid of raising because you may miss the flop or some junk hands may put a bad beat on you. Raise to prevent them. Raise to obtain position. Raise to be aggresor. Raise to obtain information...
 
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