At any table, there are players who routinely call the blinds even with poor cards, hoping for a miracle. These players contribute to the size of the pot before they drop out. A strategy of frequently raising significantly pre-flop scares them off. They will not call the raise and therefore not contribute to the pot, but more importantly, they will now reconsider even calling the blind in future hands with nothing hands as they fear that big pre-flop raise coming behind them. Really, the only person calling that large pre-flop bet is a person with a good hand, maybe better than yours and you scared off all the feeders. You want to earn the most money with that good potential hand (after all, you only have 2 cards), keep as many people in until the time is right to show your power.
On the contrary. If you raise after they’ve limped, you’ll get them to fold, and now you don’t have to worry about them hitting their miracle.
Opening from early position, you’re right, you scare off chips you could have otherwise gotten thrown into the pot, and maybe you’ll get called, but then you have to be worried about what the caller had and can it beat you. But… you’d have had to worry about that in any case, because you weren’t getting that caller to fold by limping, were you?
You have to make a hand and outplay your opponent one way or another, and it’s much easier to do that against 1 than against 7.
This doesn’t make sense if you’re trying to protect a strong hand. If you have aces UTG, you want to go 2-4 ways to the flop. Any more, and you have too high a risk of weak hands getting lucky. Also, if you size your bets well, you’ll make up for the fact that fewer people called, since each person who is in will be putting more in. This also lets you take control of the pot, and may induce more checks that let you decide the action, since you showed strength preflop. Therefore, if you have a strong hand, it makes sense to raise pre. If you’re just set mining with a low pocket pair or similar, then it may make sense not to.
Main reason I’ve got 0 chips I think…
“Pre-flop ranges ?! What the hell are pre-flop ranges ??!?”
I’ll take a small pot every day and twice on Sunday if it means no one calls. That is a win. No suck outs. Once you’ve established a reputation for such play, variations on said become much easier and more like to pay dividends, particularly if the amount of calls are diminished.
I was considering just responding to the initial post with “lolwut” and leaving it at that, but considering there might be readers of this thread who aren’t obvious trolls and could use some more insightful commentary, I decided to be a bit more helpful.
What does it mean when an action is “counter-productive?” In the context of a zero-sum strategy game like poker, it means that action has a more-negative or less-positive Expected Value (EV). Does raising preflop fit the bill? The answer depends strongly on the strength of your hand and the likely strengths of competitors still in the hand.
There are two ways in poker to increase EV: either convince your competitors to fold off their equity, or commit more chips to the pot than their equity is worth. All raises, preflop and postflop, have the potential to get competitors to fold. Preflop, the second part is very tricky - how do you figure out your opponents’ equity, particularly when they haven’t even acted?
This is where preflop ranges come in. When you’re the first player to act and there are a bunch of players behind you, you need to be folding most of your hands, and raising only your very strongest hands. Even some of your lower pocket pairs and broadway hands might go into the muck. Think of it this way - if you’re the first of 9 players to play, what’s the likelihood of your hand being stronger than all 8 other hands? When that likelihood is low, don’t commit ANY chips to the pot - just get rid of your hand. Similarly, if you’re facing a number of callers in front of you, you’ll want to play an even tighter range, and bet fairly large to get fold equity from players who have already expressed interest in their hand.
Calling preflop when you don’t close the action is almost always the worst possible play. It caps your range (clearly you don’t have a super-strong hand, or else you’d bet/raise it!) while leaving your competitors’ ranges uncapped. Your moderately-strong hand becomes vulnerable to players behind you raising and recognizing fold equity from you. Not to mention that usually players are flatting far too wide, playing as much as 50% of their range as a call instead of folding those weak holdings.
Finally, if you think I’m off-base, consider how the pros play. When you watch a high-roller tournament or cash game, do you see a lot of players limping, or are there frequent preflop raises? How many multi-way pots do you see? Are players folding hands like Q4s and K9o from early positions?
I’m thankful for Google!
well, one reason to raise preflop is to get the blinds out
Yeah… I was thinking the same thing, @WannabeCoder. I’d like to know what tables this person is playing on where the ubiquitous limp bingo crowd would actually fold to a pre-flop raise. I have no doubt that things should work like OP has suggested, but here at Replay, this is not the case (at least at lower stakes). I’ve raised pre-flop at certain tables, but still consistently get 5 or 6 callers and declared a bingo player for breaking up their limp bingo.
So yeah, anyway… lolwut.