Third Street

Reraising the Possible Bigger Pair

It is sometimes correct to reraise on third poker street with a big pair when a higher upcard has raised. This is especially true against a player over whom you have good control, or against someone whose upcard is duplicated elsewhere. It is also the correct play against an aggressive player who is apt to have little.

For example, suppose an ace comes in for a raise and you have:


If no other queen is out and one of the three conditions mentioned above is favorable, make it two bets. If one of your queens is out, you still can make it two bets if your opponent is smart enough to originally raise with an ace high only, but not tricky enough to reraise without having two aces.

(This is party what we mean by having good control over an opponent.) If it does go to three bets, you then can assume you are against two aces (or two kings in the hole).

But there are problems with reraising the ace:
1. There is a good chance that if you don’t raise, the ace will bet into you the whole pot, which will give you a great edge if he doesn’t have aces.
2. your opponent can always pair later on, even if he doesn’t have them to start with.
Consequently, this is close decision.

The deciding factor: Is your raise required to get the pot heads-up? If you are in late position and there is no one between you and the ace, then the raise may not be necessary since there is a good chance that you will be heads-up anyway. On the other poker hand, if there are several players still to act behind you, a reraese is now mandatory stratagey if you play the hand at all. (If your opponent now reraises indicating two aces, you don’t fold the pair of queens. The pot is now large enough that you should call and be prepared to go to the river.)

It is important to realize that a player who raises with an ace, without necessarily having aces, yet who does require a decent hand to make this raise, is someone you need to be concerned with. Put another way, your oppoents has a pretty good chance of either already having a pair of aces or improving to a good hand, which could be a pair of aces or better. So it is very dangerous to reraise someone who has an ace up if he is playing well.

On the other hand, the play of reraising a possibly higher pair other than aces is frequently clearly correct. In fact, when your kicker is higher than the pair your opponents is representing , to not reraise is usually a terrible play as long as only the two of you (plus the bring-in) are in the pot to that point. Even if you are sure he isn’t bluffing it is usually better to reraise (to get it heads-up and to take control of the hand ) as long as your cards are live and your kicker is high. (See “Part One: Third poker street” – “More Discussion on Calling Versus Raising “)