Raising in No Limit Hold’em Poker

Raising in deep stacked no limit cash games needs to be done with care when you are multi-tabling. For example let us look at a hand that could so easily be played online. You have just made a flush on the river and a tight solid opponent bets more than pot. The action went like this, it was folded around to them in the cut-off and they make it 3.5bb to go with a 150bb stack. You call with the 6d-5d on the button and the small blind also calls making the pot 11.5bb. The effective stack size is 150bb and the flop comes Qd-9d-4s.

The small blind checks and the original raiser bets 7bb and you call with the small blind also calling. The pot is now 32.5bb and the turn card is the Ah and the small blind checks and so does the opening raiser. You decide to use the ace and your equity as a sign to make a play at the pot and you make it 18bb to go and the small blind calls making the pot 68.5bb. The other player folds and we see the river card which is the 3d making your flush. The small blind now bets 70bb and you both have around 120bb left.

Pushing the rest of your stack in here would be a mistake even though you have a flush. It would be even more of a mistake if your opponent was a multi-tabling regular. Your opponent is clearly looking to play for stacks and there is no feasible straight possible given the action to date. In fact, this river bet is so scary that I would even consider folding the flush in this situation. That statement may horrify many players but I would have to not know my opponent to make this call.

If they were a multi-tabling regular then I would probably fold here and only call if I didn’t know my opponent. Players that you don’t know and are more apt to make weak plays and stack off more lightly need to be called more often. In this situation then your opponent’s line looks like a made flush and so raising is certainly out of the question as there is no value in it. At the lower stake levels then you will have to keep some players honest but I also see many weaker players simply make sloppy calls like this with little thought to what their opponent could be holding.

You need to be very careful when it comes to raising in a way that is going to commit your stack. Only the other day I saw a friend of mine get all in with 9c-9h on a Ks-Js-9d-8s board. As soon as he over shoved all in and was called then I knew he had the worst hand. If his opponent held a flush then he was drawing to ten outs and so was around 20% to make his hand on the river. If his opponent held a bigger set like with K-K or J-J (villain had raised from early position) then our hero was drawing to only one out.

This is actually weak poker play because the fundamental basis for the play was that our hero simply hit his hand on the flop and then blew a gasket. This belies one of the basic truths of poker in that hitting your hand isn’t necessarily enough. Poker hand strength is based not just on what you hold but what your opponent also holds. If you have 9c-9d on a Jh-9s-4c board then you are crushed if your opponent holds J-J.


Carl Sampson is an online poker player and poker ambassador for 888poker

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