playing poker

Tip 16 Occasionally

Although it is generally advisable to just call a raise on the big blind (since reraising is unlikely to eliminate any opponent, and just calling provides some deception about the strength of your hand), that the small and large blinds are different animals altogether.  When you are in the small blind, one of the major reasons to reraise a late-position raiser is to knock out the big blind.  Without this possibility, you want to reraise less frequently from the big blind than from the small.

  Reraising from the big blind allows you to take control of the pot.  As shown in Tip 13, the player with the lead after the flop often wins the pot when the flop is of no help to either player.  Typically, whichever player gets the final bet in prior to the flop bets regardless of what comes, putting the burden on the other player to either call the bet or fold.

  For example, suppose you hold K-Q offsuit in the big blind, and the button (a loose-aggressive player) raises.  Obviously, you are at least going to call here, as the button could have a wide range of hands (most of which you can beat).  Suppose you call and the flop comes 9-6-6.  No help to you.  It seems natural to just check ad fold to your opponent’s inevitable bet here, or perhaps call one time hoping to spike a king or a queen.  However, what if you had reraised before the flop?  This flop is unlikely to have helped your opponent either, and perhaps your reraise, coupled with  a follow up bet on the flop, could have won you this pot.  Your opponent could have Q-T just as easily as A-T.  Either way, he is going to bet the flop if you just call preflop, but he would likely fold on the flop if you had reraised.  So, your aggressive play has earned you the chips.

  How low can you stoop in your reraising standards?  This depends largely on the play of your opponent, as well as his position.  For the most part, we recommend making this play (unless you have a monster hand) only against a loose player on or next to the button.  This way, you are more likely to be up against an inferior hand.  That said, you can make this play with hands as weak as A-8 offsuit, K-Q, or small pairs.
  One final reason to reraise here is the intimidation factor.  You are better off if the players in late position think twice before raising your blinds.  It is sometimes helpful to make this reraise play once or twice early on in a session, as it helps set the tone for the session. If you are successful, your opponents will be more likely to wait for real premium hands before raising your blinds in the future, as they realize you are not afraid to challenge them.  Poker is part psychological warfare, and making a few well-timed reraises on the big blind is an effective pre-emptive strike against the enemies to your right