The game of poker can be played with complete strangers or with good friends. Though you may be good friends with the people you play, you still are at war with them whenever in a poker
atmosphere. Specifically against strangers this war becomes more intense and the basis of this war is summed up into one word at the poker table…….betting!
Now there are other forms of war at the poker table, for example the psychological warfare going on almost every second. But in this example we are talking about the all out aggressive betting
that can occur and if used properly, can make you a profitable player.
You will never be a winning player by just calling in a poker game. First of all by not betting and only calling, it allows your opponents to bluff or draw, and see cheap cards or catch
their draws easier. Obviously we do not want our opponents drawing out on us, this would result in losing, but we want to be winning.
Raising or re-raising is a very valuable weapon in your poker arsenal if used properly. When I say properly, I am talking about having the right reads and the right hands in certain situations.
Also do not forget about position, it is very important when using a raise as an attack. For Example:
In this hand the player has position. This is a key point in the hand; it allows us to see the other player’s actions, which in return gives us enough information to be able to make a bet
or a raise. Being in position also gives us the image of having a good hand. There’s a good reason (and you see now) why many pros say, “Play the person not the cards.” This
pretty much means even though you may not have a premium hand, if you use position and the right bets you can be viewed as having a good hand and can have a lot of control in the hand. Ah 10h is
technically not a premium hand, but being on the button and seeing multiple limpers in front of you, this hand and situation is basically an open invitation to make a raise. The flop came all
blanks, but once again we have position and can see what the caller is going to do. The player proceeds to bet less than half the pot, which at first makes our non hitting hand want to fold and
run. But if we take more time and look at this closer we can see that this is a classic C-bet (continuation bet). He bet less than half the pot which in itself is weak, but is also protecting
himself so that if re-raised he does not lose so much on his bluff. So we dig in our poker arsenal and pull out the raise, and it works! We made a good read and did not just call or fold. We may
have not won a huge pot, but we did not lose, and raising got us there.
Remember, if you are not betting you are not extracting the proper value for your big hands. There’s the temptation for novice players to always slowplay their monsters (flushes, full
houses, etc) because they have a hand where they do bet out (the proper play) and everyone folds and they get frustrated because they got nothing. In the end those players had nothing to
begin with, and later on with the same hand against someone that does have something, the novice player is losing a tremendous amount of profit by not betting or raising.
Now don’t go overboard with betting and raising every hand. Even when you have a good hand make sure to make the right bet and do not bet too much. For Example:
In this hand let’s first look at our position. We are in EP (early position) with the best hand possible, pocket aces! Since we are in such early of a position making a large raise like
shown here at 4 times the BB (big blind), it looks dangerous and unless you get lucky and run into KK or QQ the majority will fold. You have to remember what the table thinks (assuming they are
thinking, and at 5nl chances are they are not) of you and what your raise represent. If this is the first time you’ve ever raised 4x the BB and also the first time you’ve raised
in this position, of course they are going to fold. It doesn’t mean you limp – but ideally that you make the raise consistent with whatever you’ve been raising with during
the session (either 3x or 4x).
If you played a tournament without ever betting or raising and only called every time the action was to you, eventually you would be blinded out. This point is paramount when it gets deeper into
the tournament, as raising becomes key in maintaining a large stack. Everything from stealing, continuation betting, and even bluffing or semi-bluffing, the raise is the muscle in all of these
valuable moves commonly used in tournaments. If you watched any professional or winning player while on a hot winning streak in a tournament you will almost always see an aggressive display of
betting and raising. I can’t stress enough that betting and raising is your most powerful weapon in the war that is poker.
If you are familiar with a HUD or have already read through the article, what we are going to do in this article is run a quiz for you by providing a hand up until a certain point and then
offer you the stats of the villain.