playing poker

Tip 8 Player has raised or folded

Following this advice will keep you out of trouble.  Many hold’em hands seem like they should be worth seeing the flop, but when you look at the situation objectively, you see that these hands just get you into trouble.

  For example, suppose a player has raised from early position, and you have A-J.  At first glance, this seems like a good hand.  After all, you have two high cards including an ace. However, when you consider the range of hands the raiser is likely to hold, your A-J doesn’t seem so mighty.  (The assumption here is that the raiser only raises with decent hands.) It is very important to think about what sorts of hands your various opponents are capable of raising with, and from what positions.

  When you think this way, you see that getting involved in a raised pot (when the raiser is a typical player from early position) with A0J is not a profitable strategy.  In all likelihood, the raiser is holding one of two hands: a medium or high pair, or two high cards including an ace.  If it’s the first possibility, his pair is probably in the range of aces down to eights.  So, if you have A-J, you are in decent shape against eights, nines, or tens.  However, you are a sizable underdog against jacks, queens, or kings, and a monster underdog should you be unlucky enough to run into two aces.  That is, more than half the pair hands he is likely to have put you at a severe disadvantage.  Against two big cards with an ace, you are approximately a 5-to-2 underdog if they are A-K or A-Q.  You are a favorite against A-T, but many opponents won’t raise with this hand.  If your opponent is almost certain to have either a pair or ace-something here – and that “something” is almost sure to be a high card – he’ll have a hand with an ace in it more than half the time.  Thus, overall, you’re likely to be severely behind something over three-fourths of the time.  So, although your A-J looks like a good enough hand (particularly if you’ve spent the better part of the last hour looking at 9-2 and 8-4), if you play it here you’re asking for trouble.  So, fold your hand and wait for a better situation.
  With a hand that figures to be the best, it is good to reraise and make things tough on the players yet to act.  Against one early position raiser, if you stick to a general philosophy of reraising with J-J or better or with A-K, and folding all other hands, you will tend to get involved mostly in situations in which you are holding the better hand.  And, if you consistently start with the best hand, you should do just fine in the game.

  However, when the pot is opened by a raise from a late position player, the situation chances considerably.  It is helpful to possess some knowledge of your opponents’ playing styles here.  Some players feel that “any two will do” when the hand has been folded around to them in late position.  So they raise, attempting either to steal the blinds or play against them with position.  When confronted with a player like this, you must expand the range of hands with which you are willing to go to battle.  Otherwise, you will be folding the best hand too often.
  Although you don’t want to loosen up too much, when confronted with a late-position raise, it is frequently correct to reraise with hands such as A-T offsuit or 77.  The reason for this is that your opponent may be holding an even weaker hand, such as K-T, a-x*, or 4-4.  By reraising, you accomplish two things.  First, you knock out the other players (unless they either have very good hands or are extremely stubborn), enabling you to play the probable best hand in position against one opponent.  Second, a reraise allows you to take the lead in the pot.  Frequently, the flop will be of no benefit to either of you, and your follow-up bet on the flop will convince your opponent to fold (partially due to the strength you represent by reraising before the flop).