Publish: 2022-02-17 10:49:14
Understanding the best point at which to raise is a hugely important element of No Limit Hold’em strategy. Timing your raises is a skill that only comes with practice. But if you’re new to Texas Hold’em poker, our beginner’s guide to raising will help you get started.
Before we talk about the best time to raise, we’d better define a few basic Texas Hold’em poker terms.
Check: If there is no bet in front of you, it is possible to check and play for free. In other words, you don’t want to fold, but you don’t want to bet either.
Bet: If you like your hand or are trying out a bluff, you can bet. Whatever you put into the pot, the players behind you must match in order to continue.
Call: When a bet is placed in front of you, it is no longer free to play. You must either raise, or match the bet by placing an equal amount into the pot. This is known as a call.
Raise: If there is a bet ahead of you and you wish to increase the size even further, this is a raise. It is effectively a call with an additional bet on top. But all of the chips are placed at the same time.
So now that we understand what it means to raise, as opposed to betting or calling. But at what point should we raise? In short, there are three reasons why you might wish to throw out a raise. Let’s take a look at them.
Imagine a No Limit Hold’em cash game and you are holding a pocket pair of aces on the button. You obviously want to raise in this dream scenario, where you have the best possible hand. Why? Because you need to build a pot. The aim is to maximise your possible earnings.
Let’s say you find one caller and the flop comes A-T-6. Your monster hand improved even further. Your opponent bets out. Again, there’s only one play here. It’s time to raise and get as many chips into the middle as possible.
Finding yourself in the complete opposite situation can also be a good time to raise. Let’s say that you have missed a draw entirely and have no hand at all. Your opponent makes a small bet to find out where they stand.
The only way to win this pot now is with a raise. A hefty one, perhaps even all-in, will put them to the test. When bluff-raising in this manner, make sure you are not holding a card that you want your opponent to have.
Another bluffing situation where raising is appropriate involves stealing the blinds. Imagine that you’re on the button and everyone has folded to you. This seems like a good time to try and pick up those antes. However, you look down at a hand that’s complete trash. But a raise of approximately 3x the Big Blind could be enough to steal the blinds.
This time, you’re holding the J-T of diamonds on a flop of A-Q-7 with two diamonds. You don’t yet have a made hand. But you’re drawing to both a straight and a flush. If your opponent bets out on the flop, this is an excellent point at which to raise.
Doing so is known as a semi-bluff. You may not have a strong hand yet, but if you make your draw, you’ll likely win a sizable pot. But ideally, your raise will be enough to simply take the pot down there and then.
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