Calling or
Reraising Before the Flop

Before getting into heads-up or short-handed play on the flop, let us get back to other before the flop questions.

One is whether to call or reraise out of the big blind when you have decided to play.

To answer this you must understand why you reraise in short-handed hold’em. That is, you do it for future hands, not necessarily for that current hand.

For example, suppose you are in the big blind, you hold and the player on the button raises, and it is just the two of you.

If this was the only hand that you were concerned with, you might be better off calling and trapping your opponent.


But poker is a game of many hands, and you need to prevent your adversary from raising with almost anything in this spot. He needs to know that he’s in jeopardy of a reraise.

Thus you frequently reraise for the sake of future poker hands, not the hand that you are holding.

If you never were to play another hand in your whole life, you sholdn’t raise as much.

But against an aggressive player who is going to constantly take advantage of his position to hopefully steal, yet maybe flop something, you must reraise him more than might seem logical.

For example, suppose you are playing $20-$40 and your opponent knows that when you play you frequently charge him an extra bet.

Now he can’t say to himself “I’m going to put in $40 to try to win $30.” Now he will say, “I’m risking $60 to win that $30,” because he often reraises.

Of course, he’s going to win some of those pots, but still if he knows he’s up agiansta reraiser he’s going to be less likely to get too tricky.

So in a short-handed reraise about one out of four times that you play. (In the small blind you would play less hands but reraise a much higher percentage of the time to get out the big blind. See “Part One: The First Two Cards”“The First Two Cards:” Live Blind” on page 40.)

Assuming you reraised, be prepared to do a lot of poker betting on the flop. You should bet most every time except for your weakest hands, and perhaps your best hands.

Good advice might be to check the weakest 20 percent of your hands. And, with your best 20 percent, you should usually check-raise on the flop.

Here’s an example. If you reraise with and the flop is you go ahead and bet. Only check those hands that have almost no chance to win.



Bet anything that has a chance.When trying to decide which hands to just call with and which hands to reraise with in the big blind before the flop, you shouldn’t think it terms of precise categories.

You should reraise with the very best hands almost every time, and virtually never with the very marginal playing hands online poker.

As for the in between hands, you should sometimes reraise and sometimes just call.

The J♥T♥ mentioned above would fall in this “sometimes” category.

However, if you hold an AK or a big pair, then you should charge your opponent an extra bet almost every time.