Today’s blog is a Q&A from a fellow poker player who has been reading my book, The No B.S. Guide to Winning Online No Limit Texas Hold’em. “1. You are in good position, button or cutoff, with a pair 99 or less. An UTG or UTG+1 player, who you do not know much about, raises to 3 BBs. It is late but not very late into the tournament. The raise represents about 20% of your stack. What is your recommendation on how to proceed ? 2. Same question, but you have JJ or TT. 3. How do you define mid pairs ? 99, 88, 77 ? 4. What do you think about a BB minraising preflop against 3 or more limpers ? Thanks again for your excellent book, well worth the price.”
1. With a pocket pair, 9’s or less, I call a 3x BB raise in that situation. In my opinion, that is very dependent upon how late in the tournament it is. A 3x raise could mean anything, but it is likely to indicate a pair of Paint, maybe Big Slick. If it was early on, you could assume it is a knuckle-head and make a different play. But, the fact that this guy has stuck around matters, even if you dont know much about him.
You didnt mention the size of his stack there. If he is short stacked, I may consider putting him all in. But, generally, I just want to see the flop because of my good position and pocket pair. If Paint comes on the flop, I am probably out and I didnt have to commit to the hand. He is probably going to bet the flop no matter what here, so you really have to read the texture in this instance.
Also, late in the tournament I am raising all-in here generally no matter what. I will put my pocket pair up in this case most of the time and it may just steal the pot without seeing the flop, especially if he has a large chip stack. If it was late, a 3x raise is not enough for me to respect, so if he is slow-playing A-A or something, then so be it, but generally in this type of situation you are going to be up against A-something or Paint and at worse in a race post flop.
2. J-J I am probably re-raising all-in in this case, unless there is a compelling reason not to. For example, the tournament is right about on the bubble and I can see that I only have to stick around a few more hands to make the money. Then I may just call, but J’s are strong enough to warrant and all-in here pretty much all the time. T-T I would play more like 9-9
Most of the time in these cases an all-in will result in picking up the pot without seeing the flop. However, I don’t like to plan on that. If I am all-in I want to know that I very likely have the best hand. But, what it really depends on is the chip stack of the person making the 3x raise. If it is med-large, they probably arent going to risk it. (unless it is very large!) If it is small, well then, they are probably all-in anyway, you might as well take that decision away from them right now.
3. I would consider 6-6-9-9 mid pairs.T-T is pretty close and in some instances I may consider that more mid than high as well. 4. I like the BB mini-raise play against limpers, but you need to know that these guys are true limpers and not just disguising their hand. Make sure you have watched them closely.
This is a pretty standard play and one that you will see online players make alot. I will sometimes limp with a monster hoping for just such a play. If I identify someone to be a smart player who may make this raise, AND I am at a table of limpers, I will limp with a big hand with the intention of re-raisings big or all-in if someone makes this play on me. It requires the right situation and doesnt always work, but it can net you a big pot sometimes.
Back to the question, I REALLY like to make that min-raise against 3 or more limpers when I have A-K, A-A, K-K, or Q-Q. In other words, something that SEEMS like you are just trying to push the limpers out of the hand, but in reality, you have a monster and want a call or a re-raise here. This can be a seriously big play against some limpers. Limpers are many times action junkies who want to see every flop.
They get irritated if they feel someone with more skill is trying to push them off a pot, and you can get ego involved here, forcing them to make a mistake. That is why this mini-raise is so potent if you actually have a big hand. If you have 3 or more limpers, you just might get a call from 1 one them. If you do, you can end up with all that player’s chips if you have a hand yourself.
I do not like this play much if you have nothing. Even if you notice limpers, if you just have junk, fold. You need to have at least a mid pocket pair to make this play or a real strong sense that these limpers will fold (ie, you have seen them fold to this pre-flop raise before) Otherwise, you can end up building a big pot that for someone else, and ending up in a hand that you have no business in with a bunch of chips committed
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