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Know When to Re-Raise to Steal

In recent years poker is no longer about waiting for good hands and maximizing them when you get them. Today’s online poker players are now much more aggressive and will raise with a wide variety of hands. So to be able to play online poker profitable you need to learn to evolve with the game. No Limit Texas hold’em is the prime example of how aggressive players are these days, especially in tournament play. Today top poker players know when to pick their spots and can sense weakness. This means they can re-raise a pot to steal it from their opponent. So hopefully I will be able to help, and give you the tools to make a re-raise pre-flop to force your opponent to fold.

Recognize the Power of the Re-Raise

So firstly you need to recognize the power of the re-raise over the long term, and the situations where the re-raise will be most effective and profitable. You also have to remember, there will be situations when you re-raise and you opponent has a monster like Aces or Kings. But to be able to win poker tournaments you have to take chances, but if you can realize when to re-raise in the right situations you should be able to maximize your poker profits and minimize risk.

So things to take into consideration before trying a re-raise to steal is amount of chips in the pot, what hands will your opponent will fold if you re-raise, the position of your opponent and type of player that made the raise. For example, if it’s early on in the poker tournament where the blinds are 10/20, and they raise in late position to 60, there is little value in trying to re-raise to steal. This is because it’s unlikely he will fold to a re-raise at this level. Whereas, if it’s later in a tournament and the blinds are 200/400 and he raises in late position, you have more chance of re-raising and your opponent folding. You also have to take into consideration type of player and chip stacks.

The best time to try and re-raise to steal is when you are near the bubble. This is because players are less likely to take risks that can knock them out the tournament. This could be just before people make the money, a big jump in prize money or just before the final table.

But it’s also important to look at your own situation in reference to chip stacks. It’s not worth trying to steal near the bubble if you are low chip stacked and you’re putting your own tournament life at risk. Whereas if you are deep stacked and the player does actually call, you can continue your aggression by betting out which will put pressure on your opponent making it hard to call. If you try re-raising short stacked you can end up pot committed or having to move all your chips in after the flop, thereby risking your tournament.

The Importance of Table Image

Image is a vital factor to consider. Has your opponent been stealing a lot, is he likely to fold, are they a bad poker player who overvalues their hands? You have to ask yourself all these questions. This is because re-stealing is most effective against loose aggressive players, who might be raising to steal and will fold to a re-raise.

You also have to take your own image into consideration. You have to know what hands your opponent thinks you can re-raise with. For example if you’ve been stealing a lot of blinds and re-raising fairly often then your opponent will have a wider range of hands he can put you on and is more likely to call. However, if you’ve been super tight and make a re-raise your opponent has to put you on a monster and will like fold most raising hands.

Position, Position, and Position

Lastly, let’s discuss position. This is probably the most important factors to take into consideration. If a player raises in early position, he is much more likely to have a big hand as opposed to when a player raises in a late position. For example, on the button it is much more likely that he is trying to steal the blinds. If you’re on the blinds this is a good opportunity to re-raise to steal.

Hopefully after reading this you will have a better understanding on re-raising to steal, but remember players might use this against you and you’ll need to be able to also defend against this. But that’s a different topic.