Friday, October 30, 2009

Analyzing NLHE:TAP Concept 24

From No Limit Hold 'em: Theory and Practice by David Sklansky and Ed Miller.

Concept No. 24: If you have a hand that you would limp with in a passive game, consider making a small raise (two to three times the big blind) in an aggressive game instead of limping.

The idea here is that by raising, you reduce the chances an aggressive player will put in a big raise because he will be afraid of you. As long as your raise is rather small, this should allow you to see a flop more cheaply than if you just limp.

In my experience, this doesn't really work. After I first read this concept, I tried this strategy a few times with no success. I found that if I was in a game that was so aggressive that I felt like trying this strategy, I very often found myself facing a large reraise. Players who are hyper-aggressive preflop tend to be interested in gambling, and they will not be satisfied with your 2-3x raise. They will reraise you. Some players will even (correctly) see your abnormally small raise as a sign of weakness and raise with hands with which they may otherwise have limped or folded. In fact, in such situations you might want to consider making these small raises when you have strong preflop hand in order to trap your aggressive opponents when they reraise you.

If you are in a game where the aggressive players are not maniacs, this "blocking raise" strategy could conceivably work, but this is rarely the case. As I said, I personally have never utilized the strategy successfully, but I've only tried it a few times. If you do find yourself in this situation and want to try this "blocking raise" strategy, it's probably a good idea to also make small raises with big hands like JJ+ in order to balance your range, as S+M suggest in the discussion of this concept. Without at least some balance, a strong, aggressive opponent won't take long to figure out that your small raises indicate weakness.

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