Re-Raise Early Position Opens

When was the last time you 3 bet an early position raise with junk? How many times in your last session? This move is really underused these days and barely discussed but there is a lot to be said for putting in a re-raise again an early position open from an active player. I find this play to be one of the most profitable pre flop moves available at the moment.

Most good thinking players have opened their game up enough that they are quite liberal opening from anywhere on the table these days, even early position. A good player will be opening suited connectors and suited aces from early position. They will open these because they are hands with great play-ability and equity, even multi-way, and they are representing something stronger too so it fits in line with stories told post flop.
They won’t hesitate to fold pre flop when facing a re raise as they no longer have the lead in the hand and want to play in position. The best way to counter this strategy is to simply re raise and pick it up before the flop. This works very well against the good players, and when you are in position in the hand. 
The weak players will often open raise wide pre flop too. They will occasionally call the re-raise pre flop but then fold unless they flop well so a continuation bet is usually all that is needed to win the pot.
Either way, the strategy is effective against both types of player. The key component is that your opponent has shown a willingness to open wide from early position.

You can do this at any point in a tournament but please make sure you and your opponents have sufficient stack size and that you are not committed for lots of chips. It’s usually a good idea to do this with hands that have poor equity or showdown value as you know you are not losing anything if you get 4 bet and you are unlikely to get stubborn post flop. You know you are playing this as a bluff. It’s ok to do it with Ace rag too as this has some blocker value. 
I don’t recommend doing this with hands that play well post flop as much as you should be more inclined to play post flop with these hands, particularly in position.

I demonstrated this strategy recently in a low stakes MTT on PokerStars.  I made a point of trying to find as many opportunities to re-raise pre flop, in position. It’s quite fun to employ this strategy and very effective! Check it out below in our training video page.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please email info@texasholdemquestions with feedback and questions.

Texas Holdem Questions

Battle of the Blinds

People don’t talk about blind battles much and I don’t know why? Every round you have a decision to play from these positions and a reasonable amount of the time it’s just the two of you.

How many times does it fold to the small blind and you pray he will give you a walk or you’re in the small blind and dreading raising but do it anyway?

Let’s start with some facts and reasonable assumptions about how our opponents will be playing in the blinds.

  1. People always assume you are stealing in blind battles
  2. People try to bluff more in the blinds both pre and post flop
  3. People don’t like to fold a pair heads up in blind battles

Now we have some basic facts and assumptions, we can adjust our strategy accordingly.

Playing from the Small Blind
As people often think we will be stealing; we need to be more straightforward. Our strategy for playing in the small blind will be to win the pot, what is the best way to accomplish this? I suggest playing the strong hands for value and raising and betting for value and trying to show down our weak showdown hands like Ace or King high by checking and bluff catching.
As weak as it sounds, with our weak hands, to win these pots, we should consider completing and making probe bets after flop hoping the opponent has missed. This is a realistic way of winning the pot as the big blind will respect the fact we have not just tried to steal pre flop and often just fold post flop.
It is not in our interest to raise and inflate the pot from the small blind pre flop with junk hands unless the opponent is very tight or disinterested and likely to fold. The majority of players will defend wide from the big blind so we need to be more careful particularly as they suspect we are stealing. 

Playing from the Big Blind
We will be in position throughout the hand so we should defend wide either by calling pre-flop raises or re raising pre-flop ourselves. Both strategies work very well as we have 2 main ingredients on our side before the flop is even deal. We are the pre-flop aggressor and we have position. When we have strong hands, we also have the mathematical ingredient on our side too.
If you are in the big blind, you should intend on playing as many hands against the small blind as possible as they will often be raising pre-flop just to steal with no consideration on how they will play post flop. In fact, many of these pre-flop raisers will give up on the flop and an even greater give up when called with a continuation bet. This is an effective strategy to countering both strong and weak players.

I hope you found this post useful. If you are interested or have any questions about our services, please contact us today.

Texas Holdem Questions

How to Play Poker for Beginners

How to Play Poker

The basic rules of poker are quite easy to understand. Mastering it, is an ongoing challenge. This article will look at the basic rules of how to play Texas Holdem, the most popular form of poker played today, online and in casinos.

Basic Betting Options

Bet – You can invest as much as you want
Check – Do nothing and see how the action develops (clock wise)
If someone bets then you have the options below when it the action is on you:
Call – Match the bet
Fold – Get out the pot and pass your cards to the dealer
Raise – Invest more than the initial bet e.g.  Player A raises to £20 and you decide to re raise to £50.

The Blinds

The blinds are forced bets, to the left of the dealer button before a hand is played. They are known as the small blind and big blind with the big blind typically double the small blind. These forced bets create a pot and entice action. This is especially true for tournaments where blinds will increase at timed intervals. This is not the case for cash games where the blinds will remain the same.

Stage 1 – Pre-Flop

Everyone at the table is dealt two cards, face down. Do not reveal these to anyone else at the table.  You will use these cards in combination with the 5 community cards to make the best 5 card poker hand.  This round if betting is known as pre flop as it is before the first 3 community cards are dealt.

Stage 2 – Flop

After the 1st round of betting is completed pre flop, and there are at least 2 matched bets, 3 community cards are dealt face up which active players use in combination with their hole cards to make the best hand. Players can bet, check or fold.  

Stage 3 – The Turn

A 4th community card is dealt face up, and another round of betting is completed.

Stage 4 – The River

The 5th and final community card is dealt face up. If bets are called between at least 2 players – the hole cards are turned face up to reveal who has the best 5 card poker hand.

Poker Hands in Ranking Order

  • Royal Flush – Ten to Ace in sequential order and of same suit
  • Straight Flush – Any other sequential order and of same suit
  • Four of a Kind – All four cards of same rank
  • Full House – Three of a kind and a pair
  • Flush – Any five cards of the same suit but not in sequence
  • Straight –  Any fives cards in sequence but not same suit
  • Three of a kind – Three cards of the same rank
  • Two Pair – Two different pairs
  • One Pair – Two cards of the same rank
  • High Card – No pair at all so the highest card plays.
how to play poker
Photo by Clifford Photography

Basic Poker Tips

  • Ace is both high and low for straight but highest pair.
  • Two aces in the hole aka pocket aces are the best hand mathematically before the flop is dealt.
  • Position is key in Texas Holdem as you get to see how the action happens before you make a decision. For this reason, experts are keen to play their button as often as possible.
  • Play selectively, play few hands but bet them aggressively when you are starting out. The best hands are 8-8 through to A-A, Ace Jack, Ace Queen, Ace King and King Queen.

Learning how to play poker is quite easy but becoming a long term winner is very difficult. We are keen to help players improve their game and bankroll through different forms of poker training based on the individuals needs. Contact us if you are keen to learn poker.

Ethics in Poker

Poker Ethics

If you’ve been around poker enough, you’ll know that there is table etiquette to abide by and honour amongst the seasoned professionals. Whilst gambling isn’t traditionally synonymous with ethical behaviour and pride, things have changed over the past few decades. A good reputation is very important in the poker world, it can take years to build and a day to lose which is why having good poker ethics is important.

The first thing you need to do is protect yourself playing online poker for real money by playing on the best websites and the best ran casinos for live play. You can find reviews online before playing so be sure to check them out so you are in excellent environments for playing poker.

Here are some tips and reasons to build and maintain a great poker image and reputation as an ethical poker player.

poker ethics

Never Slowroll

A slow roll is where a player takes an eternity to call a bet on the river. This is designed to taunt and annoy your opponent. Whilst it will work on players, you lose respect from your peers and will be disliked. It’s not a rule that you can’t do it, its just poor table etiquette and rude.

Honour Deals

Players often trade percentages or stake each other into tournaments or cash games with an agreement on what will be exchanged. Any time you do a deal with another player, be sure to honour it and stick to your poker ethics. Word travels fast so you should 100% keep to the deals you make, even if you later think it was a poor one.

See their cards? Tell them.

We’ve all been there, you’re at the casino playing with beginners and the gentleman next to you picks up his cards poorly and doesn’t protect his hand so you can see his cards. Some players will tell you it’s ok to look, it’s his fault. But let’s face it, it’s cheating. You are gaining an unfair advantage on your table by seeing an opponent’s cards. Please tell them when you see. You’ll build an honest reputation and have a less guilty conscience too.

Donate to Charity

The icing on the cake for building a squeaky clean, amazing reputation in the poker world is donating a % of your winnings to charity. Notable players have done this in the past, with Barry Greenstein the most well-known. You will be loved by most and people don’t mind losing to you as much!

We hope you found this post interesting. Please behave ethically and respectfully in the future and please remember to gamble responsibly. If you have any ethical questions, why not use our free Texas Hold’em Question service?