Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The New Trend in Poker: The Pre-Flop Re-Raise Without A Premium Hand

The Countdown continues...

A New Trend: The Re-Raise

There is a new trend in online poker: to re-raise preflop without a big hand.

If a player raises before the flop, he can have a range of hands. But, if a player re-raises before the flop, you would expect the re-raiser to have a hand like pocket Q's, K's, Aces, or A-K. The result is that the original raiser will usually fold unless he has a top premium pair.

The new trend among some players in online poker is to make that re-raise without a top starting hand since they can take down a big pot by either forcing an opponent to fold or winning the hand with a bet on the flop.

Let's review this play.

Let's say a player who has been making small pre-flop raises way too often does it again. You are on the button with nothing. Put in a big re-raise and you will probably force a fold and win a bigger sized pot.

But, let's say a player who is incredibly tight makes a three times raise pre-flop in front of you. In this case the re-raise is more likely to run into a top starting hand, however, the aggressive tournament players still may force a bad decision with a re-raise.

The best thing about this re-raise is that it allows you to win more chips pre-flop without having to see the flop. And, you can use it against players who are too timid to risk their chips since they always fear an opponent has the nuts.

What if you are up against this re-raising player?

You have to take a stand and play back at him.

For example, last night I was making frequent min raises since my opponents were playing so tight. If I got a call and the texture of the flop looked good, I would make a continuation bet and take down the pot almost every time. If I got re-raised pre-flop I would fold.

This new aggressive player was added to my table and had a big chip stack. It was evident that he was using the re-raise pre-flop to win and build his stack. I mean you don't get those premium hands that often to justify his continued re-raising. In fact, his re-raises worked so well that he built a bigger chip stack and also it made his re-raises more threatening as he could knock players out.

I figured that I was either going to double up against him or get knocked out by him. On this one hand, I put in a min raise with A-10 suited. Sure enough he re-raised me. I moved all-in. He insta-called with A-J. I got no help and I was out. Doh!

That is another advantage of this playing style. Sometimes the re-raiser will get a hand and take out his opponent--especially since he has built his stack to where he won't get hurt that much and/or feels invincible.

Give this play a try as well, and see how comfortable you are in using it. Think about how you feel when you get re-raised pre-flop. Because when you re-raise an opponent, that is likely how he is going to feel. It's a feeling that often leads to a fold.

UPDATE: Here is a great article on how to defend against this new trend on Poker Listings.


Anonymous said...

Interesting look into players' psyche. Definitely intimidating to novices, but I feel a pro would squash someone playing this way. Good read as always, keep it up!

JustPlayPoker said...

I have to disagree with the above comment. It might be true if the re-raiser was a LAG, but a TAG player that uses a re-raise when out of position against possible steal attempts or when holding a mid-pocket pair vs. another TAG player would be very hard to read IMO.

I'm not sure a pro would take the chance if the move was infrequent or the blinds were high. The price of finding out what the TAG really had would be steep.

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