Raising vs. Calling in Holdem Poker
When playing poker we are constantly required to make decisions. Every time we have to make a decision, we've got a opportunity to make a mistake. Continuing, the majority of the money we win at the poker table is the result of our opponent's mistakes and our ability to take advantage of them. This is why it's important to understand in which situations it's best to raise as opposed to calling.
First, let us take a look at the positive things a raise can achieve. Your opponents may fold, giving you the pot immediately. In case you've got the best hand, any competitor who calls is making you gain. In case you have a mean hand and are re-raised, this is a sign that your hand may not be the best hand. This, of course, only provides you advice, but poker is a game of information. Now let us look at each of them instead of calling. When you call, you don't have any chance of winning the pot uncontested, when you've got the best hand you're not maximizing your profit, and when your hand is dominated by someone else you've got no method of knowing. If you call and the pot is raised from you, is this a sign of a dominant hand, a great hand or a bluff? If you raise and are re-raised, this is a clear show of strength.
This is an example of a situation where it's correct to raise. You're in middle position with Ac 6c and two other players, the large blind and the button, see a flop of Ah 8c 4c. The large blind bets into you. This is obviously a raise situation because you might have the best hand and have a great redraw to the best hand if you're behind. Many players will bet into the field from the blinds if they strike any part of the flop. Moreover, your raise may make the pot odds incorrect for the button to stay in the hand if he/she has a draw, and if they fold you've got position on the rest of the player. If you're re-raised, you'll be getting the right pot odds to draw to your Ace high flush or two pair.
Of course there are also situations when the right play would be to call. By way of instance, you're on the button with Jh Th and see a flop of Ah 9c 8d with four other players. The first person to act bets and two players call. In this circumstance, a raise will most likely not knock anyone out of the pot unless the first player to act re-raises supporting you. Moreover, you're on a draw to a straight with a backdoor flush potential, meaning that you don't have the best hand however. Bear in mind that the three things which are positive which could occur with a raise? If no one will fold to your raise, and you do not have the best hand, you've eliminated two of the three advantages. In this circumstance, there aren't any other players to act behind you so by simply calling you're not just receiving the proper pot odds, you're placing the least amount of money in the pot when preserving your chance to win.
As soon as you start to understand when it's beneficial to increase, and combine this competitive play tight, quality starting hand requirements, you're well on your way to becoming a consistent winning player.